An aspirant for a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly at the Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 2, Oluwafemi Emmanuel Olotu has donated research materials to the Ijaiye-Ojokoro Community Library, Lagos.
Mr Olotu, who is the Councillor representing Ward G at the Ojokoro Local Council Development Area (LCDA) said he was inspired to donate the books to the library in a bid to contribute his own quota to societal development. He added that he was emulating the works of the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who he said takes literacy seriously.
“What we need the most is to improve access to books. When people read, they would inspire others and determine what would be better for the society. Mine is a contribution to alleviate poverty through reading,” he said.
EduCeleb.com reports that the Pyramid Educational Advancement (PEA) Foundation which donated and operates the Ijaiye Ojokoro Community Library started in 2009. It started with organising quiz competitions, career counselling and seminars. With the expansion of its services to establishing libraries, the Foundation had been able to institute book reading clubs among categories of users.
PEA Foundation’s monthly book reading club attracts about 90 participants and is divided into four categories – students, teenagers, women and young adults.
The Executive Director of the PEA Foundation, Adedapo Conde highlighted efforts of the body.
“We observed that young children do not have access to books to read and places to get them.
“We try to reduce the barrier by making our platform free. We encourage users to abide by the rules set. You just sign in and use,” he said.
Mr Conde said that the donation would be helpful in expanding the scope of access to new books and improve their reading culture.
Speaking earlier, the Director of Libraries at PEA Foundation, Toyin Omotayo stated the importance of libraries. She said that great personalities who succeeded in history were known users of libraries.
“A library is education without wall. It is a school that doesn’t have a name.
“Abraham Lincoln could not afford to go to school. He went to a library and was president of a nation. Legal luminary, Afe Babalola also learnt outside the formal school system and did not go through conventional schools.
“John Rockerfeller was one of the richest in the world and a product of the library. If people like these didn’t have access to libraries, what would have become of them?
Mrs Omotayo made a case for the existence of community libraries as well.
“Our public and private schools cannot fully handle the population that we have. If Nigeria is going to progress, we need community libraries across communities,” she added.
She said that the Ojokoro Community Library was open for all. Other services include, counselling, adult literacy, improvement of the reading culture irrespective level of literacy, among other things.
The Education Secretary of the Ifako Ijaiye Local Government/Ojokoro LCDA, Adeyemi Olamilekan noted that the library initiative would curb social vices.
“This is a wonderful idea. One of the ways in which one could combat crimes is through moral upbringing. When children are engaged with books, it would bring a very positive impact on them,” Mr Olamilekan said.
He hinted that the LCDA was building more community schools to increase access to education and reduce endangering pupils’ lives which occurs when their schools are far from home.
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chair in Ojokoro LCDA, Adewale Bello while commending Olotu said that the party was also involved in promoting adult literacy so that “everyone would be learned because we know the importance of education”.
Other dignitaries at the event commended Mr Olotu for donating the research materials to the library and enjoined other philantropists and politicians to join in the education promotion efforts.