The 2012 edition of ‘Read Africa’ initiative by the UBA Foundation; the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, kick started on Monday with encomiums from the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, and world renowned writer and activist, Professor Ngugi wa’ Thiong’o.
The 2012 ‘Read Africa’ initiative which was launched by Education Minister at the Corporate Headquarters of UBA Plc is aimed fostering the reading culture among Africa youths, particularly secondary school children. Prof. Rufai, who was represented by the Principal, Federal Government College , Ijanikin, Lagos , Mrs. Ibikunle Oyewale lauded UBA Foundation for this initiative saying that it serves as a complement to ‘Bring Back the Book’ project of President Goodluck administration.
“At school, good reading skills, lead students to become successful learners. Often, students learn from written materials, such as textbooks, handouts, posters and online publications. The skill to comprehend written language is very important in academic life,” she added.
Similarly, Professor Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a lecturer in Comparative Literature and English Language at the University of California, Irvine, USA, and whose book, ‘Weep not Child’ would be distributed to secondary school students by the Foundation, commended UBA for its pan-African outlook and efforts in facilitating economic integration and development in the continent. “ Africa must secure its economic, political, psychological and cultural base. We must be strongly rooted our base,”
He charged students to inculcate the habit of reading. According to the 74 years old, novelist, essayist and social activist “reading feeds and nourishes our imagination. The more we read, the more we nourish our imagination and the ability to be creative” he said to the parked gathering of students, UBA executives and friends of the Foundation at the Amphitheatre.
In his remarks, The GMD/ CEO UBA Plc, Mr. Philips Oduoza commended Prof. Ngugi wa Thiong’o for honoring UBA’s invitation to flag off the 2012 edition and enjoined school children to complement the efforts of the Foundation by reading and developing themselves. “All of us here where once like you and the modest achievements we have recorded in life have come through proper education, learning and exposure. Reading is central to learning and knowledge acquisition. You must develop the discipline and channel your time appropriately, to reading” he stated.
After the launch ceremony, UBA Foundation and executive management staff of the bank in company of Ngugi wa Thiong’o visited Baptist Academy Obanikoro, Lagos , to hold reading and mentoring sessions with the students of the school. The students and authorities of the school were delighted to have the great novelist in their midst and watched with delight as he read to them and told them part of his life story. From Baptist Academy , Lagos , the Read Africa train will be moving to other schools in Nigeria and other parts of Africa . “UBA is in 19 African Countries. Read Africa, as with the previous edition will be carried out in other parts of Africa.” said Ijeoma Aso , MD /CEO UBA Foundation.
The ‘Read Africa’ programme was launched in February 2011 with the cardinal objective of helping to rekindle the reading culture amongst African youths. Last year, UBA Foundation went to secondary schools across Nigeria and other parts of Africa with top executives of UBA to distribute literature books, mentor and hold reading sessions with students.
The Foundation through several initiatives in its focus areas; Education, Environment, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects have positively impacted on the society and people of Nigeria and Africa.