The minister of information and orientation, Mohammed Idris has regretted that the concept of nationhood and patriotism has long broken down in Nigeria and needs reorientation.
He spoke in a media chat today, October 18. Read on:
What new ideas are you bringing to national orientation?
Well, of course, you know, that the belief in the concept of nationhood and patriotism has broken down in this country. This is not in doubt. We’re trying to rebuild that, to reconstruct that, as you say.
Mr. President giving me a match in order to see that Nigerians believe in this country once again, we’re coming up with national discourse on orientation or reorientation. So that Nigerians can believe in their country. You know that people don’t believe even leaders that they themselves have elected. Flags are not flying anymore. You go to government overseas, you don’t even see the symbol of our collective existence, flying even in public buildings.
We’re bringing that about, we are bringing back this concept of discipline that Nigerians should have. Patriotism. Belief in the nationhood that our founding fathers have told us so it is going to be a new Minister of Information and national orientation and national orientation is going to be at the center of it.
*How are you getting this message to the 774 LGAs?*
Well, the national orientation agency has offices in the 774 LGAs. Of course there’s attrition now, not all the people that will man this local government offices are there, but we are rebuilding that.
We are going to put officers of the envoy around all the 774 LGAs and we are coming up with your roadmap that will revamp that sector so that Nigerians can believe in their country once again.
*The Nigerian Press Council suggested registering journalists as a way to sanitize the profession. Are you thinking of that issue?*
Well, that is been looked at, you know that Mr. President believes in press freedom. He believes in the freedom of expression, and he’s not going to gag the press in any way, shape or form. He’s going to work assiduously to ensure that the Nigerian press that has been free is even freer. Yeah.
But like I said all the time. This freedom also comes with enormous responsibility. You can’t just say what is not right, because you’re enjoying press freedom. There’ll be freedom. But is that responsible freedom.
*Welfare for press people in Nigeria. What’s the new things we are expecting?*
It is in the works. I have discussed that with Mr. President. He wants to see me come up with a roadmap for that we are going to work on that and in due course you will get to have definite answers.
*What are you doing about managing the excesses of social media?*
You know that is a very delicate line to toe. While government and Mr. President and all of us in that sector are committed to ensuring that there’s press freedom. That freedom, like I said, comes with responsibility. A lot of things that some of these people the social media are doing is also not very patriotic. Sometimes you say news that is not factual. But I don’t want a situation where it will be seen that government is trying to gag the press. I want that to be underscored. There is no attempt by government to gag the press. We’re going to do whatever it takes that is responsible and also accountable. Responsible journalism is the way to go.