IT was palpable excitement on Sunday, January 16, 2022 when Engr. Anthony Akpokene opened his Flomat Books Ltd newest sales outlet at the Departure Hall of Asaba International Airport, Asaba, capital of Delta State.
An important cultural landmark, the event was chaired by Engr. Joshua Egube. It would be recalled that Mr. Akpokene, who started his Flomat Books chain in Warri years ago, opened another shop in highbrow Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, in May 2021 to much fanfare.
Dignitaries that graced the event were Bishop Mogekwu, Bishop Mighty Okonkwo, Dr. (Mrs.) Augusta Ogbene and Dr. (Mrs.) Elohor Odiase. Flomat Books dedication will be performed by the Executive Assistant on Peace Building and Conflict Resolution to Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Rev. (Dr.) Godspower Agbuduta. Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Mr. Anote Ajeluorou, Mr. Jerry Edo, Mr. Tietie, Mr. Maxwell Chiejina Ajufo were among many other dignitaries who were also present.
Chairman of the event, Mr. Egube, lauded the noble vision of Akpokene in setting up a bookshop at a vantage point like the Asaba airport. According to him, ‘’Books are central to everything in our lives. Whatever book you want, Flomat Books can make them available for you on request. He’s ready to import books and serve whoever needs them.
Akpokene helped in setting up Scripture Union in Asaba and it’s doing very well. While welcoming his guests, Mr. Akpokene stressed the importance of books and the education they bring to a people in liberating their minds from premordial instincts that easily disrupt society and cause anarchy. “I am glad to welcome you to the opening ceremony of Flomat Books Ltd stand here at Asaba International Airport at the Departure Hall.
Today, 16th January 2022 is a remarkable day and I want all of us to note this day in our diaries. It’s a remarkable day in this airport, the city of Asaba, and Delta State. Why is it remarkable?
I will always say that education is key to the development of a people; they say if you want to hide anything from the black man put it in a book. Why? Because the treasure is in the book but the black man will not read it.” Akpokene gave an anecdote to illustrate the black man’s peculiar relationship with books.
According to him, “Something happened recently in South Africa, there were protests about the way the government was treating the people. This protest was hijacked and a lot of looting went on as a result. Shops were looted, jewelry shops, car shops, grocery shops, everywhere looting. Do you know the shops that were not looted? Bookshops!
They were the only shops that were not looted, because nobody is interested in books. “But the truth is that the knowledge of 3000 to 4000 years ago is in books and there is hardly anything you do in this life that is not in books that somebody has gone through.
So why do you suffer? You want to go to any programme; you want to do any subject; you want to go to any adventure, research it: somebody has done something like that before that you can glimpse and learn from.” The CEO enumerated the kinds of books in stock, saying travellers have an array to choose from to enrich their reading experience.
“Before you are books of all kinds: Leadership, Management, Motivational, Economics, Finance, Optometry, Pharmacology, Nursing, all kinds of books both academics and religious. And we have Bibles. Talking about Bibles, I just want to talk about two bibles here that are unique to the African setting.
The first one is called the African Study Bible, which I was part of those who started the initial discussion about 10 – 11 years ago and I’m so glad that I can see the bible today. It came out recently and they sent me a few copies, because I was part of those who discussed the need for an African Bible.
“What is different in an African Bible? it is the same but the interpretation, key notes, concordance and everything relates to the African setting and describes it in such a way that the average African man will understand.
There are so many things out there in the bible that is put under the European setting but the truth is most of the (things in the) bible were written in Africa.
“Do you remember that Jesus Christ came to Africa? It was in Africa he was saved from the menacing Herod. There are many biblical characters that are from Africa. It’s just that in today’s modern world, they have translated and deceived so many people that Christianity is a white man’s religion, it’s not. We also have The End Time Bible which is also fantastic,” Akpokene said.
Poet and lawyer, Ifowodo, also lent his weight behind the new bookshop, saying books are agents of ideas that travel widely to meet those who may never leave home. He also commended Akpokene and enjoined everyone to embrace the power of knowledge that books bring, noting, “What Tony is doing is a thing that Nigerians should be emulating everywhere.
Increasingly, this is an information age, a knowledge world. If you lack knowledge, you’re lost. Almost every school motto ought to be ‘knowledge is power.’ It’s truer today than when that phrase was coined. Anywhere there are books, I’m there. Books should be our friend.
“As Soyinka has aptly coined it: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor at bay,’ so also ‘a book a day keeps the devil at bay!’ Maybe that’s too far, because you can finish reading Anote Ajeluorou’s ‘Igho Goes to Farm’, which is about 60 pages, a day, but a book like Soyinka’s ‘You Must Set Forth at Dawn’ will take longer.
So engaging with a book in a day keeps the devil at bay, and the devil meaning that which is bad in human society, in life which is always at our beck and call, if we refuse to occupy our minds with the right ideas.
And there’s no better place to find these ideas than in a bookshop like Flomat Books Ltd now at the departure lounge of the Asaba International Airport, Asaba.”
On his part, Ajeluorou praised Akpokene for his vision in opening a bookshop outlet at the Asaba airport, saying, it would enable travellers have easy access to books.