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National Orientation Agency Not Doing Enough Due to Neglect, Poor Funding- Former DG

A former Director General of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr Mike Omeri OFR, has blamed the lack of adequate national orientation programs in the country to government neglect and poor funding of the Agency.

Omeri stated this during an interview session on the popular Channels Television program, Sunrise Daily on Monday in Abuja. He said the National Orientation Agency is a vital organ of government with potential to help address behavioural deficits in society but has been neglected for too long.

Omeri said he has been in touch with the agency since he left office and could understand the factors limiting it’s operations.

“I have had reason to look back, I have also had reason to discuss with my successor in office and staff of the agency and we found out that the challenge of sustained effort of national orientation is basically a great problem, a great challenge to not just the institution, but even the recipients of the messages. Because once there is discontinuity in communicating messages goals or targets would not be met. Therefore, to achieve behavioural change or behaviour modification you will need sustained communication.

“And it takes the interest of Government, it takes the interest of officials who are charged with that responsibility to ensure that they deliver on it. Now, the National Orientation Agency, fitted as it were, with all the trained staff with all the capacities and spread, needed to be sustained continually, in terms of budget provision since the mandate of the agency is very robust, one of the largest agencies in terms of government response and governance responsibility in this country.

“But it is faced with the challenge of resources to do the work, I mean financial resources to do the work. They are constrained within a box to deliver only very limited on the mandate of the agency. That cannot lead us to achieving the desired goals.” He said.

Speaking further, the former NOA DG said national guidance which is an important tool for national unity has been lacking due to non focus on the provisions of the constitution in relation what constitute our nations shared values.

“National guidance should be a priority of government. A number of developed countries have these agencies, whether it is China or America and so forth, they are called by different names, but are charged to ensure the acculturation of citizens to behaving towards supporting government to deliver and as citizens, invariably supporting themselves and so you build strong institutions, so government become responsible by also implementing certain key programmes that takes off the burden of responsibility from citizens.

“Because of what we have now, we now know that there are certain basic duties of government and also basic responsibilities of citizens. Now, when citizens begin to perform the role of government, it negates the principle of constitutionalality. The National Orientation Agency, as it is, is not to be tucked within a ministry in one corner, not relevant, not given the chance to deliver, not given the chance to participate, not even having access to the bodily desires to do the work it was created to do.” He said.

Speaking also on the importance of fortifying the unity of Nigeria, Omeri said morals and values are necessary tools to foster national unity.

“Any other thing that should help us to fortify the unity of Nigeria, of course, you would agree with me that it is morals, Africans are very strong when it comes to morals and all of that. So I’m just wondering if there are ways in which our sentiments supercede the unity of purpose that the NOA is supposed to be championing because there are those who look at, you know, ethnic sentiments, geographical sentiments, religious sentiments, and all of those things which seem to supercede the efforts to unify Nigeria.” he said.

Omeri who is an aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP for Nasarawa South Senatorial seat said his aspiration to go to the Senate was born out of passion and patriotism to make legislation that would organise society.

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