The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has tasked the youth to leverage on the transformational power of books in their quest to succeed in their chosen endeavour.
Obaseki made the call on the occasion of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’ World Book and Copyright Day, celebrated on April 23, each year.
According to UNESCO, the day is set aside “to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors and encourage everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those, who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity.”
The governor said: “The printing era disrupted the cultures that preceded it by increasing access to knowledge and wisdom on an unprecedented scale. Ever since, the pace of human advancement has been supersonic, thanks to the deluge of information contained in books.”
He urged the youth to “appreciate the wealth of knowledge contained in books, apply same and join the growing army of global youth in the knowledge economy, who are responsible for modern inventions.”
He assured that his administration “is set to commence the reconstruction of public schools across the state in the coming days, and on completion, the schools will have rich libraries where students can read and carry out research.”
Obaseki pledged to work with the relevant federal government agencies to protect intellectual property.
“All our books for our new libraries will be sourced directly from the publishers. We appreciate the enormous intellectual rigour and creativity that go into book making and writing, and as a government we are committed to rewarding such efforts. We place high premium on the Rule of Law and are ever ready to join forces with other agencies of the federal government to protect the works of authors and other creative people.”
He saluted authors for sustaining the tempo of documenting events, happening and occurrences, preserving and transferring knowledge across generations, mirroring society and advancing ideas that foster development.
“Young people must make the best of the knowledge economy and enrich themselves with the avalanche of ideas at their disposal and become global citizens, who ‘know something about everything,’” Obaseki advised.
According to UNESCO, “April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is on this date in 1616 that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. It was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date.
Each year, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a one-year period, effective 23 April each year.
The city of Athens was chosen for the quality of its activities, supported by the entire book industry this year. The aim is to make books accessible to the city’s entire population, including migrants and refugees.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State