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Port Harcourt
Monday, May 27, 2024


by Blessing Bliss Chukwuma

The August Meeting held its 2nd edition on the 18th of November 2023 at the Unity Hall of Port Harcourt Club 1928. The convener of Unity House Foundation (UHF) , a good governance advocacy group, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, hosted the 2nd edition of the August Meeting which involved a book reading, analysis and signing event.

The August Meeting is a quarterly meeting geared towards reviving and restoring the priceless reading culture in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Nigeria at large.

The 2nd edition of the August Meeting featured the book “ ARC OF THE POSSIBLE” by Waziri Adio, during which some chapters of the book were read, analyzed and the memoir thoughtfully critiqued by insightful secondary school students, educationists, lovers of books, avid readers and respected individual.

The 2nd gathering of the August Meeting saw students of Army Day Secondary School, Aladumo International School, Air-force Secondary School, Seacrest Preparatory school, and the Gold spring Junior High School.

This event had distinguished Senator Magnus Ngei Abe as the Chairman; Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs as the chief witness; Prof. Prince Chinedu Mmom JP, the Honorable Commissioner Ministry of Education Rivers State; Senator Ben Birabi; Chukwujekwu Ozoemena; Celestine Akpobaro; Onene Osila Oblele-Oshkosh and others as guest speakers and analysts.

The Chairman of the event, Senator Magnus Abe in his welcome address, thanked the management of August Meeting for organizing such a unique program, stating the he understands what they are trying to achieve, and what the event is all about which is gathering those who love books, and reading together under one roof to share ideas as pertaining to the books.

He also encouraged the students present and those listening to read vastly because when you read vastly, you will have a large reservoir of references to draw from when speaking. He enjoined everyone to seek and know the importance of reading and understand that there are opportunities and possibilities that can come out of reading.

Whilst sharing his own perspective as to what books has contributed to his life and that of those he knows, he said that in itself is a unique privilege. He shared a quote: “Literacy is not just knowing how to read, because if you know how to read and never read, there is no difference between you who can read but does not read and the man that cannot read. Both of them are actually illiterates “ he said.

He talked about how his love for books started when he was about 7 years of age and his father gifted him a book called “ ISLAND IN THE MIDST “. He said that when he realized that he has become addicted to reading, the first thing he did was to find other addicts. And encouraged everyone to do same.

The Commissioner for Education Prince Chinedu Mmom represented by the acting permanent secretary Dr Austin Ezekiel Hart during his speech presentation talked on the importance of imbibing a reading culture in our children. He said that children do not just start to read, they read if they see their parents reading. He encouraged parents to inculcate the habit of getting books for their children into their daily activities as most often a child grows into just what he has been trained to be.

He also stressed that parents are the ones to provide books for their kids, either by buying the books for them or taking them to places where they will find books to read. Reiterating that if parents do not get or provide their children with books, then how will they get them.

The permanent secretary echoed that the reading culture is a culture you imbibe not a culture you impose. He called on parents to do the right thing, which is to provide their children with books and enjoined the children present to also read the books that are available to them or have been made available for them. Telling them it’s not just about reading the text but reading with understanding, and to always ask questions where and when they do not understand.

Onene Osila Obelle-Oshoko spoke about the importance of reading. She shared that the importance of reading goes beyond reading but rather, what and how we read is very important. She said it’s not just about reading but what is more important is understanding what we read, and that it is very imperative to always draw lessons from what we read, document what we read and note down key points from the books that we read.

The chief witness of the event, who is also a patron of the August Meeting and principal sponsor of the proposed education champions league quiz competition, High Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs during his presentation thanked the author of the book Mr Waziri Adio for giving the book “ARC OF THE POSSIBLE” his all, stating that it will birth the renaissance of an original Port Harcourt Culture.

Using his father as a reference, he explained that his father didn’t have the formal four walls education. He was a truck pusher in Port Harcourt and an agricultural laborer, before moving to Lagos to join the police force as a recruit, and later left the force to join the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) as a clerk. There he rose through the ranks courtesy of doing correspondent courses and reading books. And evidently that in itself was a result/reward for reading.

The convener of Unity House Foundation Mr. Kingsley Wenenda Wali whilst giving his speech and vote of thanks appreciated everyone present, the schools, special guests, speakers etc for honoring the August Meeting Invitation and coming out to support what the August Meeting stands for.

During his speech he hinted that starting next year, there will be an education champions league quiz competition that will institutionalize the whole idea of getting our children to love books by giving them an incentive for reading.

The winner of the proposed quiz competition for secondary schools will be going home with a whooping sum of Ten Million Naira ( 10,000,000) and other prizes and gifts for runner ups.

Mr. Kingsley announced that the starting prize for the quiz competition will be the O. B. Lulu Briggs Cup which is worth Ten Million Naira. He shared that the whole idea of the quiz competition is not just to give money but so the younger ones/generations will get to know about their history. He also announced that the quiz competition will be structured in a way that it will make our children know about our history, our people and our culture. He said the competition will be based on books written by Nigerians and books about Nigeria irrespective of where the author is from.

He also brought to light that 25% of the winner’s prize money will be dedicated towards equipping the Libraries of the winning schools.

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