By Ademola Taiwo/LAGOS/ The National Orientation Agenc,y NOA, has charged media practitioners in Nigeria to communicate contents that foster peace and stability in Nigeria. The Director- General of the agency, Dr. Garba Abari stated this during a media interactive parley with selected journalists in Lagos.
Here is the full text of the speech presented by the agency’s DG.
I welcome you gentlemen of the Media to the Lagos edition of my engagement with the fourth estate of realm around the country on building peace, stability and security, especially following the general election, 2023. We started the engagements in Abuja when we met with a number of your colleagues and have followed it with another one in Kano just before the Governorship and state Legislative elections. The two outreaches clearly shows that the media are willing partners in the progress of our country. Lagos is the hub of the Nigerian media in whatever genre you can think of. Here is the headquarters of most of the independent media, whether as broadcast, print and online.
Lagos media have often been seen as the gatekeepers of public opinion in our nation and so it is not surprising that we are here to engage with you.Our concern now, as we try to fulfil part of our mandate is to build a people of peace, a cohesive nation and sensitize an important stakeholder, the Media on what we need to do to maintain the peace and stability of our nation.
Everywhere, we make bold to say that the media is one of our most important stakeholders as an Agency. As we strive to fulfil our mandate we rely on the mass media to reach even wider audience. Let me at this point thank all of the Nigerian media for the support it gave to the NOA and the government of President Mohammadu Buhari in almost eight years of its stewardship.
The media served as the link between the government and its people. It also attracted the much needed feedback to government through its numerous criticisms and willingly set the agenda for both the government and the people. NOA will continue to value the partnership with the media and strive to improve on the quality of that partnership and collaboration. BUILDING A PEOPLE OF PEACE AND A STABLE NATION.One of the challenges of our country is in managing the diversity of a big nation like ours. That challenge become even more burdensome during national election as we had recently. We must commend ourselves as Nigerians because, the culture of violence which usually follow our elections has begun to fade away. Infact before the elections, going by the tone of political engagements, you would think that the nation was on its brink.
Some naysayers have gone to the extent of describing the election as a make or mar event of our country. More than one month after the election, we have remained resolute on the path of peace and stability. Let me say that the 2023 election will be recorded as one of the least violent elections in Nigeria. It is not because people were not provoked enough, but our people appear to have received well the gospel of non-violence as one of our nation’s social creed.
Lagos is an important and strategic state in Nigeria. It remains the commercial capital, the media hub, the melting point of culture and tradition and one of the most advanced political environment in the country. The city state, has developed a vast capacity to absorb the unending stream of visitors for many years. And over these period, it has managed its vast diversities with admiration and courage. Unfortunately too, it was one of the flash points of violence during the last election. Allegations and counter allegations are being hauled all over the place. That is not the Lagos we all admired.As an Agency, we believe that one of the best places to rebuild the fabric of social cohesion is to encourage the leaders of our communities, the government and the media to stay on the narrative that promote tolerance, unity of purpose, non-violence, peace and stability.
The media is a stakeholder in the peace and stability of lagos and our nation.We all have s responsibility in the sustainability of the peace and stability in the country. It is at times like this that patriots, elder statesmen and women, men and women of conscience who put country over self must rise up to be counted. Reasonable voices should be counted on the side of moderation, and temperate conversation. We must all be sensitive and circumspect in the things that we say, write or show on our screens. I call on the major stakeholders in the political events that are unfolding to reign-in their key supporters. The role of the media in this is to refrain from giving vent to the caustic, insultive narratives that characterised the campaigns.
The elections have come and gone and a new administration is set to assume office at the centre. This is a period for building bridges of understanding across the divide. We must all come to the realisation that we need a peaceful stable country to be able to practices our various vocations.
The politicians who want to lead us at various levels now and in the future must realise that if we lose the peace that we enjoy today, if we descend into violence and chaos, if we engage in acts that can open doors for dark people with ulterior motives to take advantage and wreak havoc on our country, we will all be losers. It is by far easier to destroy than it is to build.It is not unusual that some will feel dissatisfied after any election. This is so because, in the case of electoral contest for the position of President, only one candidate can win at a time. Our current situation where more than one political party is claiming victory holds ominous signs for the polity if not delicately managed.It is in view of this and our mandate for building national cohesion that I am hosting this meeting with you media Heads, to enlist your support for moderation and conflict sensitivity reportage of the unfolding events after the declaration of a winner at the Presidential elections. Let our conversation be temperate, conflict sensitive and moderate, so that followers of various political parties are not incited to violence.I have a special appeal to the media. You have a role to play now. Do not magnify the political narratives that divide our country and our people. Democracy is about the contest of ideas and was never meant to produce violent outcomes.
Let us all work towards the peace that is so desirable for us and generations yet unborn. I thank you for your kind attention.
REMARKS BY THE DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL ORIENTATION AGENCY, (NOA) DR. GARBA ABARI AT A MEDIA PARLEY ON BUILDING NATIONAL COHESION AND PEACE IN NIGERIA AT THE AIRPORT HOTEL, IKEJA, LAGOS.