The Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari has said that Nigeria needs urgent moral re-engineering to save the nation from total breakdown of moral values.
Abari who stated this yesterday at a meeting with representatives of media organisations to review the performance of NOA during the just concluded 2019 general elections also called for closer partnership between the agency and the media.
He said beyond the issue of elections, Nigeria as a country is at the lowest ebb of moral decay and requires a more invigorated national orientation agency actively supported by the media to save the situation.
“I am surprised that as important as the National Orientation Agency is, it is not getting the kind of support it needs both from the government and the private sector,” he said.
“If we must rescue this nation from moral bankruptcy, all hands must be on deck to support the activities of NOA. “Our country is in dire straits. We have lost our moral values, there is no more respect for elders, ethics has been thrown to the dogs, people don’t want to work and earn their pay.”
The Director General informed that except NOA and the media worked together, the agency will not be able to deliver on its mandate.
He said though the elections are over, there is a need to begin the healing process and that is an area the media must work with his agency to begin to reunite the citizens again.
According to him, “There is no doubt that many people must have been aggrieved over the outcome of the elections, but we must get them to understand that the nation must move forward as a united nation.
“That is one of the reasons why we called this meeting, for us to rub minds and work out a practical way of rebuilding the confidence of Nigerians in the Nigerian state.”
He said one of the challenges his agency encountered during its voter education campaign before the elections was the large number of political parties which made the ballot paper unnecessarily too large.
“It was almost practically impossible to recognize all the political parties,” Abari said, adding, “It was even worse at the local level where the literacy level is low. “Unfortunately, the political parties did not help matters. They were almost completely missing in the voter education process.”
He said the activities of the agency was further hampered by paucity of funds, stressing that the agency ran the campaign on what he called ‘shoe string’ budget which made it difficult for it to be aggressive in the media as it should be.
While praising the Nigerian media for the role it played before and during the elections, the NOA boss said that he was extremely proud of the Nigerian media for the maturity it displayed during the elections.
He said: “In all honesty, I must tell you that I am proud of you. I loved the debates, the analysis and the stories you were carrying during the elections. The whole country is proud of you.”
The media representatives urged the agency to aggressively work to get government to improve its funding without which it just cannot perform. It was also advised to change its operational strategy by engaging its state and local government offices to be constantly on duty not just during elections or national emergencies.