I was just tidying up my files and deleting old messages in order to declutter my storage space when this article I wrote a decade ago popped up. Entitled “University textbook publishing in Nigeria,” the article seems to have foreseen the SDGs (sustainable development goals) even before the MDGs (millennium development goals) had lapsed.
It was published in a book entitled “Achieving Sustainable Development in Africa: Science, Technology and Innovation Trajectory” by an equally interesting publisher “World Association for Sustainable Development.”
In this current post, my intention is to reflect on some of the key points I had put forward at the time of writing the 2010 article.
First, I argued that “most studies on book publishing in Nigeria do not seem to have tackled its challenges head-on.”
They have more often than not ended up discussing the problems and prospects of book acquisition by libraries with very little recognition of the important role of indigenous publishing of university textbooks as a contributory factor.
Second, I pointed out that, “it is also well documented that more and more indigenous publishers have tended to exhibit a penchant for publishing primary and secondary school textbooks (which usually yield a quick return on investment) over university textbooks.” This is something I alluded to an “entrepreneurial handicap” considering the “teeming crop of academics cutting across over 100 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in 36 federal universities, plus a cache of private universities, polytechnics (both federal and state) and colleges of education…” Indeed, at some point I was privileged to review a book on Marketing in Nigeria: concepts principles and decisions, a collaborative initiative by big names in Nigerian universities.
Third, I proposed an agenda for action as follows:
In order to realign this education handicap with sustainable development in Africa …Nigerian textbook publishers must begin to leverage their entrepreneurial capacities to coincide with the knowledge base of ‘home-grown’ academics. This can be achieved by tapping into the expertise of a network of key players in the sustainable development of Africa.
Looking back on these three points, I have noticed a marginal development in this area. One notable example of this diaspora collaboration with the home-based, can be found in a recent book, or Festschrift if you like, on Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Development in Nigeria published by the Nigerian Defence Academy Press in honour of its past Academy Provost, Professor Sonny Nwankwo.