I have read over 15,000 books -Prof Tony Oha

Anthony Oha

By AFAM Echi

In a society where reading culture is almost going extinct it is strange to behold people who still lay claim to a strong reading habit.
And so it may sound exciting hearing a professor of Onomastic science, Anthony Chukwuemeka Oha declare with all assurances that all his life he has read over 15,000 books. He has read over 39 books during this pandemic.
It sounded challenging and a near impossible feat when he made the declaration in a social media chat recently.
When Edge Express cornered him at the Rockview Hotel, Owerri recently to get his opinion on number issues bothering on governance, and took him on the claim and what is his secret, he had this to say.
”One is interest. Books to me are like foods. If I don’t read I am not filled. I am a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors. I attend Conferences. The last one was held in November at Enugu. I came back with more than 63 books. Some of the books were complementary.
”Some I bought. Some will offer me books for a review or to recommend to others. I read especially new writers. I read classics too. I have a degree in English, Masters in English. At the undergraduate days for each course we did books are recommended unlike these days students will go online to Google.
”Students no longer read these days unlike when we use to go to the libraries to read. Somebody would say that it is impossible. Sometime a teacher would recommend 30 books for a course. You go to the library and read similar books. Sometimes we read up to 100, 50 or 30 books.
”So what is in reading up to 15,000 books? I am 52 years of age. What is 15, 000 books? If I am reading one book per day it means it means that in forty one years I read such number of books. When did I start going to school, minus it from my age and check what I have read. Sometimes in a day I can read two to three poetry books.
”If somebody says that it is impossible that means that person does not read. We don’t have reading culture in Nigeria. If you go to Europe, or the United States, if you enter the train everybody is reading. If you go to the offices they are reading, shopping malls they are reading. We don’t read here.
”Somebody would sit at home got glued to the Television and be watching African Magic Epic for 6 hours. Check our children they speak only the language of movies. They no longer speak the language of education. In those we read James Hardley Chase, Agatha Christie etc”
It is this passion that propelled him to establish the Readers Club International with a view to encouraging reading and writing habit through the provision of numerous opportunities. Prof Oha is a native of Nekede and has taught at Idahosa University, the National Open University, and some Indian Universities.

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