OPINION

NOA And The Challenges Of National Reorientation By Mukhtar Jarmajo

President Buhari returned to power on 29th May, 2015 through the ballot box on the promise that he would restore the nation`s territorial integrity, fight corruption and resuscitate Nigeria`s economy by adopting better ways than those used by the previous Jonathan led regime. In plain terms, the president promised us change; he promised to not only restore the nation`s lost glory but also set it yet on a new track that would eventually see it get to the land of promise.

This meant that the president promised to shutdown, reset and restart the nation. And this doubtlessly cannot be done without resultant repercussions on the citizenry entirely. As it has come to happen, the policies adopted by the Buhari-led administration have subjected the people in untold hardship in an atmosphere that looks both helpless and hopeless. Therefore, since we are in a democracy, Nigerians should be engaged by government to let the citizenry be aware of its policy directions so as not to have us loose hope for a greater Nigeria and therefore keep faith in the incumbent leadership.

In this regard, the importance of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to the success of the Buhari administration cannot be overemphasized. The NOA was established in 2005 as an agency under the Federal Ministry of Information to facilitate in communicating government policies to the people, get acquainted with their opinion, encourage patriotism and promote the unity and development of Nigeria.

Given its set objectives, the NOA is challenged to provide the needed platform on which government can talk to us as well as hear from us and rally our support for national development. This is to say that the NOA is a vehicle, which if effectively and efficiently steered can facilitate President Buhari`s efforts at repositioning Nigeria to greater heights. It may thus be in place to say that the desire for NOA to meet its objectives has never been as high as it is today.

Now, the aforementioned only highlights the much that is highly expected from the NOA DG, Dr. Garba Abari. The task before him is enormous and the earlier he understands this, the better. After having man the agency for some time now, the music and thus the dance at NOA are expected to start changing. While however, it is true that the DG has so many challenges to overcome, it is also true that no challenge is insurmountable.

One of the major challenges the NOA appears to be facing is it exists virtually only at the center. Its presence at states and local levels is relatively inconspicuous. Its states offices appear to be virtually passive for obvious reasons. They are underfunded with conspicuously non-conducive office accommodation and untrained staff. Thus without sufficient funds, trained staff and national spread, NOA cannot in any way meet its objectives mentioned earlier in this discourse.

Therefore, if the agency is to carry out its onus effectively and efficiently, its leadership must seek for increased funding. This will give it the financial wherewithal to train and retrain its staff, provide for them conducive working environment and establish more offices where they are needed in order to attain the requisite national spread. Aside this, the NOA state offices need Directors who are committed and willing to discharge their obligations.

Dr. Abari must therefore ensure that henceforth only competent hands are appointed to man NOA offices at both state and local levels. This is especially so for the reasons that only thus will the agency provide the needed platform on which government can talk to us as well as hear from us and rally our support for national development. Indubitably, without competent crop of staff who are willing to see to it that the NOA meets its set objectives, stakeholders including religious, traditional and opinion leaders cannot be adequately mobilized to facilitate in running national campaigns on reorientation.

In the coming days, the NOA  DG, Dr. Garba Abari is expected to roll out campaign programs that will gospel the message of attitudinal change in terms of corruption which is the major cause of our society`s inflictions. Like never before, gross and an all inclusive national campaign is needed in Nigeria to make us have a rethink on the manner we run our individual affairs so that we may have a just society that is politically stable and economically prosperous.

Jarmajo can be reached via dattuwamanga@gmail.com

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