As a Nigerian, I believe that part our bigger problem is that we are uninformed about issues. Even the educated ones know more about the happenings of the EPL, the celebrities on E! and the wanna be’s in BigBrother house than about the issues and policies that directly affects us as Nigerians. Our reading culture on and about our country is low and as a result, we converse little among ourselves. I realized lately that most Nigerians can not correctly point out 7 states on the map and somewhere along the lines we’ve edited our history to make the ‘founding fathers’ appear like saints.
Between 2008 and 2010, there was a new surge in awareness and I remember reading so many great articles online about Nigeria that I felt like I was in a new country. There were a lot of people coming into the blogging scene, while others just wrote inspiring and moving notes on facebook about the past, present and the future of Nigeria. These writings were so powerful, I must confess that some of it may have shaped the way I think and act today.
I started sending links to friends and family but at that point, few Nigerians had constant access to the internet so I started thinking of other ways to make those write ups available to a wider audience (not in their hundreds but in thousands and millions). From there, the idea to publish a book was born.
I got Kalu Aja, Theresa Uguanyi, Biola Badmos, Mark Amaza. Lai Labode, Salisu Suleiman, and a whole lot of others to donate their writing to put into this book: voices of our generation. Then came 2011 elections, and the book just took a back seat.
Today, a large number of people have blackberry’s, ipads, nokia and android phones with access to the internet. Life is faster, blogs, links and tweets move rapidly, and it is a lot easier to miss out on something important just by being offline for one day. Because of this fast pace, I revisited the possibility of publishing a book. The idea is to bring really powerful pieces together in a single book that could be circulated among our peers. Writings that will stimulate discussions, educate, entertain, involve and inform a generation.
We all know that suleiman’s blog, omojuwa.com, ekekeee.com, and zainabusman.wordpress.com get lots of readers but there are a lot more writers out there. I mean to get all these writers and many more like them to donate selected pieces that have moved and inspired us to a wider audience. I want us to collectively start distributing free books from secondary schools, universities, NYSC corp members and then move upwards.
Well now that you know the idea, the next stop is the problem. As widely read as I am, I know that there are like 100 other writers with great works that deserve a spot in this book. The issue I have is that I may not have heard of them, read their works, or I may have forgotten how to get back to their articles. This is where YOU come in. I need to find articles about Nigeria, articles written by Nigerians, or even those that are unconnected to us, but in a way may help Nigeria. If you are a blogger, writer, ranter or you’ve simply read a powerful piece about Nigeria that you feel Nigerians need to read, please feel free to draw my attention to it.
The plan is to publish at least 37,000 copies of the book VOICES OF OUR GENERATION (one thousand for each state) and give out every single copy for free. We will also make available different types of e-books for reading on devices like the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad, PDF, and even html for those who prefer to read on devices. We will also put download links on our facebook, twitter, blogs and websites, and encourage everyone to send same to friends and family via blackberry messenger, email, and to keep sharing until every Nigerian who can read gets a copy.
We all know most Nigerian are cheap about spending money on books so I am hoping that by making different versions available and giving them all out for free, we can reach a wider audience. The more we share, the more knowlege we pass around thus not only encouraging a better reading culture but hopefully we will get to engage and inspire not just a generation, but a nation in the process.
Feel free to send me articles or links to great articles that touched you, informed you, made you cry one you feel can make a difference in another persons life. The more the merrier…
As usual, you can can simply just drop it as a comment, tweet links to me via @xeenarh, draw my attention via facebook/google+ or you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org