The Emeritus Professor of English Language and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Ayo Banjo, has called on stakeholders to support efforts to make reading attractive and enjoyable in order to rid the country of illiteracy.
He made the call in Ibadan at the Editors’ Conference organised by the Association of African Professional Editors (AAFRPE).
“What I am taking home is encouragement that this thing is happening. If you are talking about illiteracy in the country and the need to get rid of it completely, we have got to support every effort to make reading attractive and enjoyable to everyone.
“But in the specific disciplines, we want to produce journals well edited to compete with leading journals of the world.
“As I said, if we are going to have mass literacy, we must have lots of books for general reading, for specific subject matters and these books must be professionally produced,’’ he said.
Banjo said that the broad aim of editors must be to produce readable copies devoid of errors, urging them to keep reading and be in touch with the current state of the language.
Mrs Yvonne Olatubosun, an Editor at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), stressed the need for editors to be very well read, saying skills would come with practice.
Olatubosun, who was the convener and speaker, said reading must be encouraged and literature be made compulsory in secondary schools so that people could grow to develop their knowledge of the language.
“The take home from what we have said so far is that editors should be very well read. The skills will come with practice and there is no substitute for good grammar and good English.
“We have to encourage reading obviously and we should make literature compulsory at early ages, in secondary schools to J.SS 3 level,’’ she said.
She said the essence of forming AAFRPE was to have a fully registered body of editors to protect their interests, network, educate themselves and facilitate conferences towards horning their skills.
Mrs Yinka Agbaje, a participant at the conference, described the conference as a welcome development.
“We are children without mothers. So, I think this is the time we can come back to this society if we are being mistreated outside or within the organisation.
“I think it is a good cause and I feel going forward, it will be a bigger brand in the nearest future.
“We have to go back to our roots and know what to do to become better,’’ she said.
Participants at the conference include Dr. Kolade Musoro, the Managing Director of Book Sellers and Dr. Taiwo Owoeye, Editor, College Press, Ibadan.