On Friday the 13th of November 2015, fourteen of us from Falomo Senior High School went on a trip to Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) at Freedom Park, sponsored by ZODML. Our teacher had given us two days’ notice to get prepared for the excursion. On that day, a staff of ZODML who introduced herself as Chiagozi Diala arrived with her colleague Sulaiman the cameraman at about 9:30am. She took the roll call, after which we boarded the company bus and left for the book fair. It was a short drive from school to Freedom Park. When we arrived, we came down from the vehicle in an orderly manner and marched straight to the reception area where our teacher –Mr Abdulazeez filled the attendance book on behalf of our school. We were then led to a big tent where we saw students from other schools. We waited there for a little while for other schools to arrive. The program of the day started at 11:00am with the national anthem after which we were arranged in groups. Our school was shared among three different groups with students of other schools and a facilitator. A book titled Chijike by Chinyere Obi Obasi was handed to each of us which our facilitators read and explained to us, followed by questions. One of our facilitators made us understand that there are five Ws and an H in understanding characters in literature; Who, When, Where, Why, What and How. When the group discussion was over, we assembled together under the big tent and this time I could not believe my eyes. The king of comedy ‘Ali Baba’ was right onstage. He cracked jokes and spoke to us at length on the importance of reading and self-determination. He said ‘the way to be rich is to be educated. That does not imply that we should acquire a PHD, but we should know how to read, write and speak’.
One notable thing he said is that, he reads a lot. As a comedian, he said he has to go onstage with fresh jokes and the only way he could do that was by reading. He said as he reads, whatever sounded funny to him, he would relate to Nigeria and that made his comedy really stand out.
He said he is humble, ready to learn from anyone who is ready to teach him, he is creative, hardworking, networking and visible. Finally, he said, there is no barrier to reading but there are limitations to what you should read.
After our time with the king of comedy, we were taken to the Art Gallery and we were shown around. At the entrance there was a video clip about recycling and how we should treat our environment and the earth because it is that same earth that accommodates us dead or alive. We were also shown in diagrams the hustle and bustle in Lagos state with the commercial bus drivers yelling at each other.
Another session was the writing, drama and music groups. This time around, we were not sent to any of these groups but were asked to join the group of our interest. Most of us were in the music group, others were in the writers group while others were in the drama group. All our groups were interesting. Those in the writing group were asked to write a short adventurous story; those in the music group were told some important tips in music while those in the drama group acted a short drama.
Finally, it was already time to go, although we were really enjoying ourselves, we had to go back home. We were given refreshment by ZODML. In conclusion, the excursion to Freedom Park was very educative.