Literary enthusiasts thronged to witness the maiden edition of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA Abuja Chapter’s Celebrity reading, featuring Mr Timothy Okon, a Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Fiscals.
To the thrill and awe of all, Mr Okon stressed that for Nigeria’s literary scene to be commercially viable, stronger copyright laws and enforcement along with a new mindset for writers must be put in place.
Mr Okon said that writers needed to have a secure environment where their intellectual properties are protected.
“Ideally, literature should not be allowed to develop through charity or philanthropic donations, it must have a commercial undertone for it to be viable.
“The only way to achieve that is by making sure that publishing industry receives enormous support from the government and the private sector too.
“We need stronger copyright enforcement. The laws exist but enforcement is where the problem lies
“We also need to deconstruct the notion that writing doesn’t pay. I think what is needed is for writers to feel secure whereby their intellectual properties are protected,” he stressed.
Mr Okon, who is a specialist on geophysics and petroleum economy, said he ventured into poetry because he wanted to be a recorder of history. He read from his unpublished poetry collection.
In his remark, the chairman of the occasion, a former National President of ANA, Wale Okediran, marvelled at Mr Okon’s poetry, saying that such dexterity is unbecoming of a man of a busy schedule and of a man whose discipline is far from the arts.
He, therefore, urged the Celebrity guest to put in so much into poetry, saying that he has so many yet untapped potentials.
Mr Okediran commended the organiser for thinking outside the box to shop for writers and those who have stories to tell
He said: “This reminds me of my days as the chairman of ANA Oyo chapter. When our membership was shrinking due to old age and what have you. We then decided to widen our scope by seeking Nigerians who have been writing in the secrecy of their beds.
“By doing that, we were able to uncover so many hidden talents in people. You know, to some people writing is a very private activity which they do out of their busy schedules.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chairperson of the association, Halima Usman, expressed happiness over the large turn-out of personalities to the occasion, saying that the turn-out really bit her expectation.
According to her, Celebrity Reading, which will be coming up every quarter of the year, is aimed out fishing out hidden talents in people who are not necessarily writers but who have passion and talent in writing.
She, therefore, reiterated her commitment towards making ANA Abuja support and encourage production of quality books and promotion of same to the general public.