By Uwuma Precious
Uniport Bookshop, Choba Park
The place is like an abandoned poultry house. The ceilings and shelves are competing for which will crumble faster and the entire place is so dark I had to use the light from my phone. The shop reeks of decaying books, wet, rotting wood and dust. The entire shop is in complete disarray. The few unbroken shelves are scattered with books falling off everywhere. You navigate jammed rows dodging broken shelves and heaps of long abandoned books. It’s like the forgotten attic of an old lady’s long abandoned mansion. Books, with no business hanging around a university bookshop in 2018 are everywhere begging to be removed or at least arranged in respectable shelves worth the trees, ink l, pins, and gum spent in their making. The only salesman there, an elderly fella appeared shocked when I announced my desire to buy books. It probably came out like I announced to buy beer in a police station. He waved me off in the general direction of the shops.
There are no real books, just ancient journals, collections of inaugural lectures, and old, useless texts hustler lecturers hurry out as compulsory texts for students…. In fact several days away from that traumatizing experience and more than 70km away I still smell of decaying wood and books. I am afraid I might be having PTSD just for attempting to buy books in a University Bookshop.
Meanwhile there’s a giant building germinating nearby, by the fence facing the East-West.
“Oga na Shoprite dem dey build” someone told me when I asked. I nodded and fled.
This too is a university.
Someday Chimmamanda Adichie will be asked about Bookshops and Libraries in Nigeria and she will retort with one sharp-mouth clapback.
© Uwuma Precious