NOA And The New Nigeria

Nearly after three years that I wrote a wake-up a call piece published in one of Nigeria's reputable Newspapers, the National Orientation Agency have finally awoken from its slumber with the slating aside of September 16th of every year as the National Commemoration Day for Nigerians. But unfortunately, they will have the crass cynicism of an average Nigerian to contend with.

I have decried in my article the mournful state of the National Orientation Agency and how effective and important such agency would have and should have been to the transformation of Nigeria. NOA is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Information, headed by a Director General. As their name clearly state – National Orientation Agency – one of the agency's paramount functions is to orientate and re-orientate Nigerians as a whole on issues that boils down to both Nation building and beyond; Be it Economical, Social, Political, Environmental, Psychological etc. The agency before now was astoundingly more popular than Nigeria's president at that time owing to their consistent jingles and (re)orientation messages which flooded the Nigerian media at that time: Orienting Nigerians on what to and what not to do. But how they slide into oblivion remains a kernel for benevolent spirits to crack. Prior to the surreptitious slide to slumber land, many of us have come to know NOA as a key factor to rescuing Nigeria from her current preposterous state while serving as a vehicle for social engineering between the government of the day and its people. Information they say is power.

As a proud Nigerian and an optimistic stakeholder in the Nigerian project, it was gratifying to see the Director General of NOA, Dr. Mike Omeri – live on an NTA interview – reel out some of his administrations resolves to re-establish itself as a major player in the transformation of the Nigerian system. Some of the programmes include, Do the right thing campaign, National Commemoration Day etc. though belated, it is better late than never.

Without equivocation, even if we solve every other problems confronting Nigeria, there are but two major opium poppies that Nigeria has to contend with; they are cynicism and ignorance. Cynicism is presently the major psychological problem masturbating the psyche of an average Nigerian. There is this belief that the country is bad and not working and is ruled by bad people. There is also this erroneous delusion that every efforts of the government are with ulterior selfish motives; even when the facts speak for themselves. There is another spirit of unbelief that something good can never come from Nazareth (Nigeria). Nigeria, a peculiar people and 'great' nation where everyone highlight distinct problems and no one is proffering any solution. Some people wants government to do something but they also fault everything government does. What a paradoxical oxymoron!

One of such cynical attitude is the reaction of some Nigerians to the slating of September 16th of every year as our National commemoration day. According to the Director General, Dr. Mike Omeri during an interview on NTA sometimes in January 2013, the National Orientation Agency has set aside September 16th of every year as the day to quintessentially flaunt our National (Flag and Colours) pride. It's not necessarily going to be a public holiday (where workers and students will stay at home or away from office or school). But just a special day – out of the 365days in a year – for Nigerians to display to the world how proud they are to be Nigerians. This is different from our Independence Day and Democracy Day.

This concept isn't new to the international community though, as countries like America and her citizenry don't toy with anything that dignifies their country. For instance, an American wouldn't mind charging you for fondling or manhandling the American flag or for making remarks he or she finds derogatory to America. They take pride in dignifying their fatherland. Now, why can't we replicate such? I understand also that the cynicism in some persons is too staunch that a momentary persuasive message can't exterminate serendipitously. These people wouldn't mind to dress in 'black' or other odd colours on such a significant day just to prove how chronic their cynicism is. But it will be sagacious to be counted among the 70% faithful who would join this nation-building campaign. In the words of Charles Darwin, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: It is those who know little – not those who know much – who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved”.

More so, I beseech that we take the 'flaunting' beyond every September 16th, our ambassadors representing us in different sporting events worldwide should endeavor to always wear hand and headbands like we often see other sportsmen from other countries do. This may appear trifling but we will appreciate the essence on a long run. So, you can like to start shopping for shirts, trousers, caps, accessories etc. with the “Green-White-Green” colours or any outfit that signifies and dignifies Nigeria in commemoration of that special day (September 16th). Be informed and please inform your immediate environment. Though Nigeria still leave so much to be desired of, we as citizens remain choice less than to make it great. Little efforts like this imprints subtle messages to the sands of time. Things will get better when we do away with our cynical approach to issues. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

Ex Editor-In-Chief
Psychology Press Organization,
University of Ibadan
[email protected]
Follow on twitter @ Xtianrooy

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Articles by Simeon Christian Chukwu