Illiteracy in Nigeria: the Facebook solution

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has hit upon an innovative idea for tackling illiteracy in Africa: publish a book of Facebook chats. His Facebook chats. With the thousands of people who read and comment on his surprisingly frequent Facebook updates (recent posts tell us what a great job he is doing on attracting foreign investment, reopening textile mills, strengthening the aviation sector, containing the crisis in the Ivory Coast (one of his less robust claims), easing tensions in the North (another premature boast) and, perhaps his most astonishing feat if it’s true, eradicating fuel scarcity).

Such a book, Mr Jonathan believes, will ‘revive a reading culture in Nigeria.’ With over a quarter of adult Nigerians unable to read and write, and with the country’s education system recently described by the IMF as ‘dysfunctional,’ efforts to promote literacy are sorely needed. Many of the president’s Facebook friends are in raptures over this visionary move (you will no doubt find some of their comments in the book). ‘Thank you sir for this new development may God bless you and multiply you wisdom to lead 9ger,’ wrote one. ‘Reading maketh a man,’ mused another. ‘In reviving the reading culture, you will make a nation. Keep it up my President.’ Another fan, seemingly oblivious to the misdeeds of Mr Jonathan’s predecessors, wrote, ‘My President this is a wonderful innovation cos without it it means our leaders are going extinct.’ Continue reading