Minister of Information visits VON, preaches value reorientation, patriotism for progress

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By Collins Yakubu-Hammer

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris has called on Nigerians to imbibe value reorientation and patriotism to enhance unity and progress of the country.

Idris made the call when he visited Voice of Nigeria’s (VON) Headquarter on a working visit on Wednesday in Abuja.

The minister said, “It was not for nothing that President Bola Tinubu renamed the Ministry to Information and National Orientation,” adding that the National Orientation had given the ministry a new mandate.

“With that, the ministry has a new mandate which is to tell Nigerians that we need to now recover and dedicate ourselves to a nation that we all desire.

“You will agree with me that value orientation and patriotism among Nigerians is at its lowest.

“The President is passionate about rebranding Nigeria and the rebranding needs value reorientation. So the mandate is to ensure there is value reorientation.

“National Orientation is at the heart of the ministry and we need to start with the platforms under the ministry.

“I also think our diversity should be used positively for progress and development, ” the minister said.

According to Idris, the availability of honest and credible information is the bedrock of any united and peaceful society.

He explained that over the years, trust and confidence of the people had gradually eroded, especially for leaders and those in government.

“We have reached a level where Nigerians don’t believe in what their leaders tell them. So, the starting point for me is to restore that confidence,  especially in government communication.

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“And that can be achieved once you are honest, truthful, and patriotic in the cause for a better Nigeria.

“There is always a difference between a cup that is half empty and one that is half full. Let the cup always be half full in this country and once we imbibe that attitude, that will be the beginning of our unity and national rebirth.

“We need to believe in the country that we have.  You can travel from Lagos to Maiduguri without an immigration officer asking you for your passport unlike if you were in another man’s country,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu, described the minister as a square peg in a square hole, adding that he came with a clean card.

“When he addressed Nigerians recently,  he said as Minister of Information and National Orientation, he would tell Nigerians the truth.  And transparency is the hallmark of democracy.

“We took off 62 years ago as an external radio of NBC, but have transformed into different nomenclature.  We have 17 offices in 17 states, but our transmitters in Lagos and Abuja have aged.

“We are trying to source energy-saving transmitters for which funds have been approved already. Our studio was also put in place by the corporate service CBN.

“We are trying to run on two platforms –  Short Wave and Virtual Radio – to have a presence in all parts of the world,” Okechukwu said.

According to the VON boss, the agency’s Establishment Act does not permit it to advertise.

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“Therefore, minister, you have to be of help to us because we have some setbacks.

“We cherish the way you’ve handled government information so far. We are happy with you.

“All countries in the world have a fault line; anytime we are going off track, please let us know, because you are now the guardian.

“You are capable and have demonstrated that capacity,” Okechukwu said. (NAN)

Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

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