Experts in communication and civil society have challenged Nigerian citizens and other stakeholders to join forces with the government in addressing the problem of misinformation, absence of values, education and violence against children affecting the growth of society.
This was the position expressed by an array of panelists who spoke during the last three editions of the ‘How to Fix Nigeria’ symposium series held in Abuja, Calabar and Bauchi. This hybrid virtual and physical event series with conversations revolving around the singular theme of Uniting for Action is funded by the MacArthur Foundation and organised by OYA Media across the six geopolitical regions in Nigeria.
Among the various panelists who deliberated on the different discourses were the director, Public Policy Initiative, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Mr Amara Nwankpa; acting director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), FCT Directorate, Mrs Comfort Ogunmola; communications specialist, Alkasim Abdul Kadir; senior special assistant on empowerment to Bauchi State governor, Mallam Khalid Barau Ningi; executive director, Rescue Initiative for Sustainable Development, Mrs Lydia Shehu; and the state director, National Orientation Agency, Alhaji Nura Yusuff Kobi.
Speaking on the theme “National Orientation – Effective Communication for True Empowerment”, the acting director, National Orientation Agency, FCT directorate, Ogunmola said everyone, without exception, had a big role to play in changing the perceived identity crisis and value deterioration confronting the country as a nation. She added that perception was at the core of Nigeria’s problem as government policies had been at receiving end as a result of this.
On his part, Abdul Kadir lamented the poor funding suffered by NOA, stating that there was little to be achieved in behavioural communication given the meagre resources allocated to the agency.
Also speaking, Nwankpa stressed that government communication on many issues had failed to influence due to the inability to capture aspirational identities or languages of the people.
At another summit themed; “Education- Empowering the Youth”, which was held in Bauchi, the state director, National Orientation Agency, Alhaji Nura Yusuff Kobi, identified, drugs, kidnapping, Boko Haram insurgents and coronavirus as some of the issues crippling educational activities in the region, and charged all stakeholders to support the government in the effort to finding a lasting solution to these hydra-headed problems.
Senior special assistant on empowerment to Bauchi State governor, Mallam Khalid Barau Ningi, said certain factors had contributed to the poor fortune of education in the region, adding that drug remained the major albatross to the pursuit of education among the youth.