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Counting the Gains of Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014

Few years ago when the Project Director, Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 and the Founder, Rainbow Book Club, Mrs. Koko Kalango started the idea of revamping and rejuvenating the reading culture in Rivers State it was like quizzing water from stone.

When it became obvious that the Governor of Rivers State Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi wants to position the state in a more competitive atmosphere, the crossbreeding and cross fertilization of ideas gave birth to the then Port Harcourt literary festival as it was then call.

This restructuring tendencies overlook the overbearing challenges of youths, as Rivers State is the hub of oil production and also the hot-spot of oil bunkering, kidnapping, unemployment and hunger facing the youths, but more to the pedestrian of educational excavation and development.

Port Harcourt was then known simply because of its Delta topography and also for her enormous contribution of it oil mineral resources and it revenue generation to the Federal Allocation. Through the great effort of the Rainbow Book Club, the once abandoned reading culture was put on display again where the state is now propel to be among other economy and literary giants of the world.

Candidly, the former literary festival has raised empirical awareness and educationally empower our youths, including children to express themselves freely like any other children or youths of the world. Other gains include: massive reading, writing, acting and poetic expression as education is the vehicle that fast-track development.

As Joseph Addison rightly put it “Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate, no disposition can enslave. At home a friend, abroad an introduction, in solitude a solace, and in society an ornament. It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives, at once, grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage”.

Since education is vital to society’s it absence will lead to ignorant, which may breed chaos and anarchy. However, the foundation of every state centered on quality of education of it youths which are future leaders. Without mincing words, popular education is anchored on freedom and justice without which the society will be blindfolded.

As the state gets set for the world to converge on 23rd April 2014, the literary Icon, Prof. Wale Soyinka will deliver the Keynote address to mark the opening of the event.

Another remarkable gain of the event is the many windows of opportunities for publishers, writers, editors, book clubs, social engagements and job creation. This anticipated event will also snowball Port Harcourt into a ‘Hall of Fame’ for literary activities which is in tandem with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In this vein, security is critical as reading will exposed more people to ample of information and the women will also benefit from the point of more awareness in the area of mortality rate. Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State as the new World Book Capital 2014 is now the epicenter of books where knowledge and developmental transformation will be discussed in few days to come.

The qualification of Port Harcourt is sequel to the role played by the state government in partnership with the Rainbow Book Club with prove of a reading culture, capacity, freedom of expression, accountability and the focus on the Youths. Presently, the state has started harvesting tremendously the gains of this project.

The festival has played host to notable men and women like, Rev. Jessy Jackson of America, Late Prof. Koofi Awooner, Prof. Wole Soyinka and many other literary giants. As more visitors troop into the Garden City, different Embassies will also be Spotlighted. In conclusion, Mrs. Koko Kalango wholeheartedly believes that this honour is based on cemented partnership with the Rivers State Government.

Today, Port Harcourt is: The first World Book Capital, a Sub-saharan  Africa, The first ever World Book Capital City in Africa to be nominated  by Public bid and the second ever World Book Capital in Africa after  Alexandria (Egypt).

In the world of Mark Twain “Its not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the day”. ###

By Pius Dukor

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