Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and former Deputy Senate Whip, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, have challenged Nigerians to improve their reading culture, describing the current attitude of many citizens to reading as not encouraging.
The two senior citizens made the call recently at the launch of a book written by a serving Director with the National Assembly Service Commission, Elder Tom Paul Etuk, profiling his grass to grace story to encourage young people in Nigeria and around the world.
In the book titled, ‘Boldness to Succeed: The Journey of Life’, the author narrates how he engaged in wheel barrow pushing, among other menial jobs, in Abuja as a university graduate to make ends meet. He also revealed how he escaped from an orphanage as a young boy to engage in manual labour to help his mother fund his education.
Speaking at the event, Mark said the inspirational book by Etuk could not have come at a better time considering the fact that people commit suicide because they don’t see what the future holds for them.
“Great men don’t run away from the vicissitudes of life”, he said, commending the author for not giving up on life when it looked like the world forsook him.
Mark, who was represented at the occasion by Mr. Abas Ejembi, encouraged Nigerians to develop a culture of reading and commended Etuk for putting his experience in a book for generations to come.
Chairman of the occasion, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, also bemoaned the poor reading culture in the country, stating that if anyone wants to hide information from most Nigerians, he or she should write it in a book.
He also commended the author for writing the book to tell the world about his experiences in life. While describing book writing as a very challenging task going by his personal experience, he stated that although he studied Engineering in school, it was his interest in reading books about people that encouraged him to join politics to serve humanity.
Essien also delivered goodwill messages from Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State and his Deputy, Akon Eyakenyi, who thanked the author for demonstrating resilience and abiding faith in God during the difficult phase of his life.
The Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, Ahmed Khadi Amshi, who was represented at the occasion by the Commissioner representing South South in the commission, Francis Atanomeyovwi, described Etuk as a great man of God who is very humble.
The Commissioner representing South West in the commission, Tunrayo Akintomide, in his goodwill message, admitted having a similar experience as the author, adding that he also overcame the vicissitudes of life to be where he is today. He stated that books like the one authored by Etuk are needed to teach children that life is never a bed of roses. Eminent statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, wrote the Foreword to the book while Pastor Gospel E. Ikpeme reviewed it at the event.