By Lawrence Audu

With the advent of the internet and social media, the culture of reading has continued to vanish from the society at a very alarming rate. This poses a very major threat for the education of the younger generation in developing nations.

Much as the internet has made information readily accessible to people, it has also killed in debt scholarly research. Instead of investing time studying from the pages of books, many students today rely heavily on search sites like Google and the rest for information that may not be authentic as not everyone cares to verify the source.

The resultant effect is the falling standards of education and the quality of end products that can hardly compete with their peers from other climes.

One man who is passionate about stemming the tides and returning Nigerians back to the reading culture is, Namse Peter Udosen.

Born in Lagos in the 80s, He attended Air force Primary school Ikeja and the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ibara, Abeokuta as well as the University of Calabar where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Education.

He developed the passion for teaching while working as a volunteer for an Orphan and vulnerable children’s children in Calabar. He has since taught in several schools in Calabar, Katsina and Kaduna. He started the “Reading is Fun” project in Federal Government Girls College, Calabar which was kicked off by the then first lady of Cross River state, Mrs Obioma Imoke.

His passion for children’s literacy and education has led him to run book clubs and children’s workshops in Kaduna. He believes that Nigerian children deserve a better education than they presently receive. He has a vision to develop literacy hubs fusing technology and deployed to rural areas. He is also a promoter of non formal education.

Namse a Masters degree holder in education from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, where he wrote on school plants (facilities) in secondary schools in Kaduna and is presently undergoing research for his PhD in Education in Ahmadu Bello University.

He bares mind on his dreams and the future of education in Nigeria in and exclusive interview with TheNigerian’s Lawrence Audu.

Excerpts:

TNN: What informed your decision to become a writer?

Namse: My dad cultivated the spirit of writing in me from a very young age. He used to make sure we write compositions about places we visited and other things we did as kids.

TNN: In an era where readership continues to drop drastically what is the future of literature in Africa?

Namse: The future of literature in Africa is great. The major problem is that we have not put structures in place to align our school and educational systems with literature

TNN: Would you like to share some of the literary pilgrimages you have gone on?

Namse: I have embarked on quite a lot of literary pilgrimages especially on a developmental front. I have facilitated several children’s writing programs across states in Nigeria. Most remarkable, is my Reading is Fun project that was piloted at Federal government girls college Calabar and had the then first lady Obioma Imoke in attendance.

TNN: What through your experiences are the major challenges of writing today?

Namse: The major challenges for writers today are a lack of well defined book policy in Nigeria and near absence of publishers.

TNN: What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Namse: Traps? I can’t really think of any except maybe trying to make plenty money from your first work

TNN: What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Namse: Authors I am friends with, hmmm. Emeka Okere, Ayi Osori, Anthony Onugba, Steve Ogah. They help by previewing and editing my writing

TNN: How many books have you got to your credit?

Namse: I have one book published but with scores of articles

TNN: What is the most unethical practice prevalent in the publishing industry?

Namse: The most unethical practice I see, is plagiarism. Lifting of people’s ideas without credit

TNN: What is your source of inspiration as a writer?

Namse: My inspiration comes from my job as a teacher and from interactions with people I meet every day

TNN: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym someday?

Namse: I haven’t considered writing under a pseudonym. It doesn’t appeal to me

TNN: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Namse: I would go for Dove

TNN: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Namse: Hmmm. Can’t think of anything now

TNN: Tell us about your latest work, Fundamental etiquettes

Namse: My book Fundamental Etiquette for Young Nigerians focuses on building right behavior among young people in Nigeria. It was inspired by my observation of social behavior in different areas. One particular annoying behavior is the sloppy and noisy chewing of gum

TNN: What have been the feedbacks you are getting?

Namse: The feed backs have excellent. Parents and students have had amazing things to say about the book. One particular comment that amazed me is a seven year old girl who told me: Uncle, my friends are always using foul language. Please send a copy of your book to them.

TNN: Would you like to share some of the challenges you encountered during and after writing?

Namse: The greatest challenge was financial. I needed money to Pay for the illustrations, editing and layout

TNN: Do you think your aims have been achieved with the fundamental etiquette?

Namse: My aims have not been fully met. I need more schools and libraries to get copies for their students

TNN: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Namse: Yes I read reviews. I believe all reviews are good as they help to improve upon the work

TNN: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Namse: Depends on the type of book. But research is continuous during the writing process. It is more for nonfiction than fiction.

TNN: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Namse: Keep writing no matter how silly it feels

TNN: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Namse: Maybe I would give up hanging out with the guys