Social media killing reading culture .


Barrister Yusuf Ali, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, is a man of many parts. Apart from immersing himself in his law practice, which is his first love, the man is passionate about reading and writing

He is also one of Nigeria’s newest authors and his book, titled Anatomy of Corruption in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Solutions, underscores the fact that corruption has wreaked much havoc on the country, its polity and every pore of the Nigerian society.

Today, Ali’s passion for literary promotion and development has found expression in his sponsorship of some of the key programmes of the Association of Nigerian Authors, which is the umbrella body for creative writers in the country. For the fourth consecutive year, for example, the author and philanthropist has provided funding for the annual ANA/Yusuf Ali Literary Awareness Campaign, ANA/Yusuf Ali Creative Writing Workshop and ANA/Yusuf Ali Short Story Writing Competition for higher institutions in Benue and Kwara States.

Explaining, in an interview with our correspondent, why he is so driven to support the activities of the Association of Nigerian Authors financially and to promote literary creativity in the country, he says, “Any perceptive person knows that the awareness for literature and its development is very low in this country nowadays. A lot of things have taken away the people’s appetite to read or write. Many Nigerians no longer pay attention to literature and the need for a robust reading culture.”

Listing the factors that are responsible for this situation, he says that any Nigerian who is willing to improve on his communication skills, particularly his ability to read and write well, should be wary of the social media.

 “I think the social media is distracting a lot of people, especially the youth, from reading and writing. Nowadays they seem to be addicted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as other social media platforms.

 “The first casualty of such obsession with the social media is the proper spelling of English words. Other casualties include the use of tenses and parts of speech. I don’t think that this is good enough for literary development,” he says.

 The SAN also describes poverty, in terms of the intellect and material things, as another factor. According to him, most people are so busy trying to earn a living and surviving the hard times that they hardly find the time for books and to attend literary activities.

He adds, “Some of the things that are taken for granted in other parts of the world are still issues here. I am referring to infrastructure, such as regular power supply, healthcare, good roads and more.

“These things are taking the people’s attention so much that we have reached a point where some university graduates cannot make a simple and correct sentence in the English language.”

An opportunity to do something about the situation eventually landed in Ali’s laps and he had felt immensely relieved. He says, “While I was interacting with the past leadership of ANA sometime ago, the idea of providing sponsorship for a literary awareness campaign in the country came up. I think we should all pay attention to any type of campaign that will promote reading and writing.”

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