A self-liberated youth is an asset to the society - Abiodun Lasile - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Sunday, December 29, 2019

A self-liberated youth is an asset to the society - Abiodun Lasile

Abiodun Lasile is a Communication Professional, author and publisher of repute . Recently, he championed the idea of encouraging reading culture among the younger generation through his concept Sixth Sense Series which promotes the Summer Children Reading Camp. The Business Package met with him to discuss about the concept and sundry other issues pertaining to reading culture and the likes . Excerpts 


TBP:  You are known to be a trained Communicator and a reputable Communication Professional, and also a Publisher, how has the journey being over the  years?

A: I started with electronics in 1980, particularly broadcasting. I built my communication skills from the studios of the Nigeria Television (NTV Abeokuta) with National Awards . I moved on to establish into publishing, by starting  my private practice after my 11years of Federal service. Assiduous journey of four decades now, though not easy but interesting and still challenging to date.
My impetus are creativity, hard work, perseverance, commitment and due diligence to a fancy. What you enjoy can't be tiring. Today, when I look back to what I've been able to  touch successfully, I feel great though I've not relent or rest on my oars. 2020-20 is great concept for next year (2020) from me to humanity.

TBP: The Sixth Sense Series and  the Summer  Reading Camp is your brain child which stood you out, what is the genesis and the ideology behind this initiative?

A: Actually, I'm the coordinator of Sixth Sense Series Publications, publishers children reading story books. We have some of our books on the Ogun State List of Recommended books for Primary and Junior Secondary Schools and some on the UBEC Recognition list for Anambra, Abia and Akwa Ibom. After we surpassed this achievements, we moved to promoting children reading culture for ages 5-15years, that's school age. I created two-prong attack to revamp and rekindle reading with our foremost concepts; Summer Children READING Camp and Children Reading Competition Programme .Quite l ok honestly, this can be enough for the genesis,  but I'll briefly lead you into it. In the year  2017, Senator Ibikunle Amosun flagged off the Children Reading Competition Programme under the chairmanship of HRM Oba Dr. Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo and HE Dr Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR was the Special Guest of Honour. We had about 100 Schools in attendance with a lot of dignitaries at the OOPL Abeokuta. I had held three editions for Public and Private schools of ages 5-15 years. The following year, 2018 we started the maiden edition of Summer Children READING Camp for ages 8-15years, a 7day full lodging and feeding reading camp to teaching methods, tips, tactics and demonstration. The Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka was the special Guest of Honour at the opening of the Camp, he acclaimed "it's  foremost and of great ingenuity towards capacity building"
Basically, identified the lowest ebb at which reading culture is in our society and the mediocrity that pervades  all stratum of our contemporary living, even at leadership. It's undisputed that readers are leaders but we are  pushing the paradigm to producing reading leaders. We are saying, "Let's jointly groom tomorrow's leaders through reading, today!"

TBP: From your experience running the project for sometimes now, what have you discovered about the younger generation, any hope?

A: The younger generation of this nation are products of the lopsided policies of our educational system. Sometimes I say why blame them if this is what they are offered, they don't really have wide choices. There are nothing spectacular except frequent change of policies, lack of instructional materials, infrastructural facilities, parenthood, and unprotected rights. All they can do is to barely survive under the hardship of poor system and helpless situations.Hitherto, they are scored, marked, rated and passed; their ability are underrated. For instance, a graduate of Mass Communication who cannot speak or write English only scored marks and passed out with certificate. At one of our Summer camps, we had a 13 year old girl in primary three according to her who can hear, read, write and speak English but she was with us throughout, we paid some personal within the seven days. What can that do in such a situation? The subjects and homework are too many to allow for personal studies like reading, though nothing is a pointer to it as tool for mental and personal development in schools. The focus is teach subjects, they must score high marks and pass to next class, not what they know and can express. There is hope, according to your question, our own option is an opportunity to make an impact through reading competition and camping. We are postulating that "Reading culture is a tool for successful learning and self actualisation within a new generation"
and passionately pursuing it within our ability because there are  limitations.

TBP : People talk about dwindling reading culture, but we have the internet generation who Perhaps do not read physical books but still reads, can you strike a balance between these two extremes?

A: ICT is a development, it has come to stay and would continue to grow into discoveries to help mankind. Nothing developmental is driven without computerisation, hence we must live with technological option of internet. Analogue is not the best option to grow!
It's a good and noble option to embrace technology, the issue is what are the children open to, if not guided and guarded in the use of internet. My arguements are; Children must read, not only from books they are opened to various media today, gone are those days where knowledge can only be found in books. We read virtually everywhere now.
The computer and internet facilities are providing more opportunities to them which they too are taking positive advantage of and regularly abusing it.
There is no striking balance between books and ebooks, or reading on phones. Most assignments and findings are from google on internet. It is just development, greater opportunity, faster access, and varied options. All are complimentary and an integral part of another. Today, on your bed you can access one million books or publications all over the world from your room through devices unlike those shuttles you make to libraries in the good old days. But, alas, our children are not better of in terms of being readers or having improved faculties.
Let's mention the media today; computers, phones, billboards,  optical displays, books, inscriptions, fliers, and many more. We read all around us; identifying a building is reading or identifying a painting as red colour is it. Books can't go into extinction, and internet can't offer it all.

TBP: What are the dangers inherent in paying less attention to intellectual engagements?

A:  It is a colossal waste of life time. I refer to time as life, wasting it would lead to destroying a precious substance that is irrecoverable. Engagement is as little as talking, I like talking but I value intellectual engagement. I mean, an engagement that is imparting, sharing, teaching and adding value to circumstances and opportunities.
It is important that government particularly must create an enabling, creative and knowledge sharing platforms and engagements to her citizens. Achievers, inventors and geniuses can only be identified and discovered through competition and engagement with other people. It challenges intellect. This can only be called "intellectual engagement" anything short of this is dangerous to a developing nation, or a viable State. Hence, I implore governments, charitable organisations, nonprofit, philanthropists and corporate bodies to be involved in its creation and investment for a better society, value for life, improved thinking.

TBP: Apart for Summer Camp, what other packages does  the Sixth Sense Series have in stock?

A: Oh! This is lovely.  letting the cat out of the bag, I'll be happy to unveil them here and to you.
As you know, we have Summer Children READING Camp, and all these; Children Reading Competition, Community Mobile Library Services, Publications and exhibitions.
We are promising to unveil a unique concept of library services, a special nouveau idea in keeping books, sourcing information, reader's collectives and data cafe. As the name implies, we intend to have a colloquium on the "Sixth Sense" to position another sense as in addition to the commonly referred five senses. It is actually a postulation for 2020 to the world. My vision of year 2020 is creatively tagged 2020-20, we are engaging in twenty important things and presenting twenty Publications of a four years exposure in creative writing and intellectual engagement. 
All these are in God's hands and by His Grace.

TBP:  Leadership is a big challenge in Nigeria, to what extent does your project prepare the future leases for leadership roles?

A: There is  this saying, readers are leaders. My project has shifted this to producing "reading leaders" in our polity.
Being educated is not enough to us any longer but reading leaders that can dissect with discerning robust intellect which can only be achieved through reading skills. Most letters, proposals, MOUs and agreements are not thoroughly read, we all witnesses to embarrassing judgments and government contract dealings. We just sign and pass on! Hence, our catch them young is not a lip service, it is pragmatic and demonstrative by our concepts and passion to raise human capacity development.
We have brought together over 350 Schools and about 5,000 children talking reading culture.

TBP: What is your take on border closure?

A: Border control or closure is not providing the needed lifelong developmental plans but it only focused on temporary gains, which the reopening will consume in no time.
The closure of the borders must be of a paradigm shift and leap in national policies beyond immigration, consumables, transborder trades, smuggling and self aggrandisement of a big brother punishing younger brothers.
It should be consolidation of gains inherent, policy change and development of potential of our advantages of the suffering by border town natives and business concerns. For instance, agricultural prospects; poultry farmers are laughing to banks and rice producers. We can successfully feed ourselves to reduce poverty to its barest minimum; creation of supportive programme must be put in place in order not to scuttle the gains on  ground. Rice production is another, Tomato pastes, etc.
If government can only and be majorly interested in policies than business, her role in governance will not only be meaningful but imparting on her citizenry and adequate for better living conditions and national development. Brains are to be gathered in different clusters and in not too many focuses, just developmental plans of self sufficiency, insecurity, immigration, customs and excise, transborder trades and natives on the border settlements. All we hear on the border closure is custom seizures and monetary figures without the sufferings and long term policy of such a drastic step. Though, the bold step is commendable but must be consolidated for a greater advantage.

TBP: Who is Biodun LASILE?

A: Uhmmn! Abiodun Oladimeji Lasile is an Owu breed firstly, and its paramount in my character. I had military upbringing which still dwell in me. These are senses embedded at that very tendered age through my primary schooling stayed; discipline, precision and tact which is my hallmark.
I'm highly creative; visual sense of many sides to same thing with witty presentations through critical thinking.
I have calculated patience and I must be thoroughly convinced before I make a move because I hardly shift grounds.
Also, I'm a lover of  photography, I was a cameraman with laurels, printer of quality prints, author, publisher, activist and conceptualiser.
Passionately, I promote reading in Nigerian children through competition and camping. I've been in the service for humans for decades, 80% of my interest is humanity and imparting. I am married with three boys.

TBP: Your final take and advice to the youths?

A: Nigerian youths need to do more, in terms of constructive and strategic engagement to take over the reins of leadership in this nation which its their right. Internationally, youths have taken over all spheres of life.
They are weak, timid and lack the capabilities of their strength. It is important in deprivation to think without the box and seize the great sense of their potentials; energy, opportunity, number and advantage.
Many a times, they cry wolf, oppression, lack space and admission; nobody serves freedom in trays. It is high time they wake up from their slumber with zeal and force that's capable of intellectual prowess to engage the tired legs and weak brains around power to lead and berth the nation in her place of honour and glory.
A youth obsessed to vain and material world, may not know the danger in fraudulent acts, thuggery, indolence, use of drugs and alcoholism.
Our uncreatively educated youth can't be a leader of tomorrow, a lazy youth can't lead himself or herself and their status of nonreaders will be subservient.
Nigerian youths must be ready to serve, persevere,  discipline, venture and read. A self liberated youth is a potential leader and asset to the society.

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