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Nigeria plans national reorientation

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By Usman Oladimeji

Belief in national identity and patriotism among Nigerians has eroded.

The Nigerian federal government is worried that its citizens no longer trust the politicians they elect, calling for a revival of national dialogue on reorienting the country. Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation made this statement to the media, following his meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House in Abuja. He claims that belief in national identity and patriotism has eroded, and that the president has given him orders to begin a programme to restore it.

He stated that in order for Nigerians to have belief in their country, a national discourse on orientation or reorientation is being developed. “A lot of people don’t even trust the leaders they voted into office. The flags have been taken down. If you visit a foreign government, you won’t even see the flag that has become a symbol of our nation flying outside of public buildings. That’s what we’re doing; we’re reintroducing the idea of discipline and patriotism to Nigeria. Belief in the nationhood that our founding fathers have told us.”

Tinubu administration values the importance of free press.

To elaborate, he said, “So it is going to be a new ministry of information and national orientation, and national orientation is going to be at the center of it.” Idris also said that preparations were being made to staff the newly established information offices in all 774 of the country’s local government districts. He explained that the national orientation agency has offices in the 774 local government areas (LGA). However, due to attrition, not all of the people who would eventually staff these LGAs are present.

In addition, he mentioned that officers of the delegation will be stationed in all 774 local government areas, and that the ministry is developing a plan to rejuvenate that sector, instilling a renewed sense of belief in Nigeria among its citizens. The Minister also emphasized that the Tinubu administration values the importance of a free press and does not intend to restrict it. However, he also cautioned that the media should exercise their freedom responsibly.

Current administration is dedicated to protecting press freedom.

Moreover, he said the government was considering the Nigerian Press Council’s recommendation to register journalists in order to clean up the industry. It’s no secret that the President values an unfettered media. “He is a firm supporter of free speech and will not attempt to silence the media. He’s going to work assiduously to ensure that the Nigerian press that has been free is even freer. However, as I have repeatedly stated this freedom is coupled with a heavy burden of duty because you have journalistic freedom does not mean you can say anything you want.”

Idris further said that while certain social media posts may be unpatriotic, the issue is delicate and must be addressed with caution so as not to give the impression that the government is stifling press freedom. While the administration, the President, and those of us working in the media are dedicated to protecting press freedom, there are still some who would like to see it compromised. “Like I said before, this freedom comes with accountability.”

Government is not trying to silence the media.

According to him, many of the actions of these social media users are not exactly patriotic, either. “You report false information as “news” on occasion. “However, I do not support any actions that give the impression that the government is attempting to silence the media. I want this to be emphasized: The government is not trying to silence the media. “We will take all necessary responsible and accountable action. Responsible journalism is the way to go,” the minister added.

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