Except for the cold, harsh harmattan haze blowing across and the resulting dry wind, the brown grass and leaves on some trees, the hard soil and ubiquitous dust; nothing special shows the transition from one year to another. The clock still ticks in seconds, minutes and hours – an evergreen legacy of the Babylonians or Sumerians who divided “time” into seconds, minutes and hours.
They were really special. The sun, and the moon, though being buffeted against by extra-terrestrial elements in the larger universe of galaxies would continue their seemingly slow trajectory to turn day into night and night into day. Absolutely NOTHING humans can do about that. Nobody no matter how powerful can tip the planetary bodies off their courses.
Over the years, human beings have toxified the environment and made the air we breathe and the water we drink dirtier. Humankind has harmed themselves and their existence through practices which have affected the ozone layer resulting in climate change and diseases.
In almost every sphere of endeavour, humankind has destroyed its habitat; its ecosystem, and its socioeconomic, cultural and political systems. It seems to me that humankind is on auto-drive and humanity and its civilization is cascading on a free fall into a bang to self-destruct. This doesn’t seem real to most people and it’s normal for most people to be blind to it. However, the reality is that we are nearer the abyss now than at any other point in history.
Herein lies the vision of our Book Club initiative – to mobilize people who are interested in gaining intellectual depth to meet, read together, share ideas, gain knowledge, and spread that knowledge in a social setting. I don’t want to submit wholesale that the regular structures of socialization in our society have failed but I am witness to a yawning chasm.
The Book Club initiative is on the understanding that ‘man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence would be, and what he will become in the next moment. Every human being has the freedom to change and instigate changes positively or negatively. It is therefore up to Members of this knowledge hub to begin to ring the changes in society. We may not be able to affect the ebb and flow of the tide, we can’t stop the harmattan breeze, we can’t stop the sun or moon in their revolutionary odyssey but it lies within us to affect our “emotions, our judgements, our creativity, our attitude, our perspective, our desires, our decisions, our determination” because “that’s our playing field”.
The Book Club initiative now has homes in Uyo, Ikot Ekpene, Eket, Abak, Ibiono Ibom and Oron. Our task is therefore cut for us to renew our resolve to spread the virus of social reading as a means of refining the sensibilities of our people.
I see this as the strong leash to use to attempt to drag back our society from the precipice. It’s not an easy task. Nothing good comes easy. As we celebrate the dawn of a “new year”, let’s include in our resolutions a commitment to become more active in our engagements here.
We will continue with our monthly meetings but we would like to sail with this knowledge hub to Schools, Churches, residential Estates, Streets, Offices and wherever human beings can gather to discuss.
In 2023, we must continue to publish our Newsletter – The Brook, we have to host the World Book and Copyright Day (April), we have to attend the Lagos International Book Fair (May/June ), we are most likely to host the South-South Regional Book Fair (August) and attend the 3rd National Book Clubs Conference at Lagos in September.
We need sponsors for our monthly meetings, our outreaches and our participation in the Events outlined above. I appreciate our wonderful Patrons, our very active Members, supporters and people of goodwill. Welcome to 2023.
This Book Club initiative can midwife a new society. That’s my belief.
DR UDEME NANA
FOUNDER, Uyo Book Club and progenitor of the Book Club initiative in Akwa Ibom State.