By Babatunde Dayo Titilola and Jimoh Uthman
We hold this work in high objectivity. We are for the masses but we never fail to appreciate the good deeds of people.
The day could not be any better. The signs were too much to be misinterpreted. And coupled with the sweet looks on every face, you bet there was no time to feel any less than happy. The event took quite the large gathering of people from within and outside Oyo town. Whoever told you people do not like to associate with award ceremonies or the awardees has probably not been called to experience one.
The news that Omo Iya Kunmi Foundation (OIKF) was organizing an award ceremony to celebrate excellent deeds and the extraordinariness of certain few indigenes was a big one considering how much space was consumed with well-designed attires and beautiful faces. Let’s not forget why we are here though.
There sat the man who swept everyone off their feet. If it were football, he would surely be given the Man of The Match, and the ball to take home, because he actually scored a hat-trick. The results of the voting clearly showed he was worth the awards. But more than that, he was worth the recognition. Maybe if luck could have smiled on him in the same way, he would have been part of the Ninth Assembly and maybe the Speaker of the House even. Let’s just say time and circumstance dealt a blow and fate could not but surrender.
This is where it gets even better. Earlier that day, we had set out to pay a visit to a book house we have heard exist in the town. At the moment, that library appears to be the only library the town can boast of. The town did have one for years but was demolished together with other working institutions with the promise that the place would rise into a radio station. That never happened! Anyways, at least there is this one we have heard of and what could be a stronger witness than the eye-witness? In minutes, the library stood before us, or better still, we stood before the well-spaced library with the inscription: Oyo Heritage Library.
One would wonder if it was the government that built it. Or maybe a group of Oyo indigenes was benevolent enough to build a library and tag the town’s name with it. In any of these two considerations, you are wrong. A former honorable built it. What other intentions could he have had if not the good ones. He did what anyone else never did. Not even the servinghonorables! This is a story for another time.
We met with the attendant and introduced ourselves as student journalists. With free registration, we faced the shelves where books are neatly stacked. For book lovers, you would be confused which book you want to spend time with considering how interesting and informative these books appear. After minutes of perusing, we both picked “Atiba; The Prince of Peace” by Adebayo Faleti. Settling for a story of Oyo was worth the time as we left filled with the knowledge of history.
But our intention was not only to read, as the attendant was later informed. “We are here to see this place and pull some online stunts.” The information that was gathered concerning the library pointed to one direction: whoever built this place has done a great job! We left feeling high on the realization that our town owns a library. A private library that works like a free public library. No wonder he clinched three awards few hours later.
Nonetheless the good chills this story passes, the unexpected aspect of it is seeing the library not getting much attention from those it is built for. What is the essence of having something and not using it? Seeing the log, the library does not enjoy many readers as expected. With shelves full of books and quiet spaces to have a blissful reading period, but we have deserted the only physical source of history. Technology is never made substitute for learning but to aid and improve learning. The best place to learn still remains the library. Even public libraries in European countries are continually being appreciated.
The man that spent time and money on this building and made sure books are stocked showed an intention. And that is for everyone, especially students to end up being like him or even better. He could have built a supermarket or fuel station or whatever else can bring profit. After all, he owns his money. Having the mind of encouraging young ones to read and equip themselves with knowledge is enough. The best form of appreciating him is to make use of the library. Maybe if we do that, he would be moved to install 24 hours electricity. Maybe if we do that, he would make free internet possible. Maybe if we do that, we could become aware of histories and the development we need to experience.
In every sense of it, Oyo town has a working library. And unarguably one of the very few prides anyone there can boast of. If we do not use the library, it might end up getting closed. There is no point opening a library that records no reader.
While the intention of this work is to call your attention to the fact that there is some place you can gain knowledge free of charge, you must also understand the importance of reading. This information-advanced world is looking for versatile ones. Those with sound knowledge of what they will teach you in school and what they won’t. And the truth is, you cannot gain all these in sport betting shops.
Babatunde Dayo Titilola is a campus journalist and a final year law student of Obafemi Awolowo University. He is currently the president of the Association of Campus Journalists, OAU.
Jimoh Uthman is a graduate of Biology/Chemistry. He is a patriot, activist, and is never afraid to put the pen to paper.