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NOA and the need for national integration

By Dapo Akinrefon
IN a move aimed at examining performance and meeting  future challenges in 2010, the National Orientation Agency, NOA, has concluded plans, to improve attitudinal change among citizens in the building of a better Nigeria.

This move, however, cannot be overemphasized just as it is of paramount pertinence that Nigerians imbibe the values of tolerance, self discipline and restraint, hard work, dedication, patriotism and nationalism.

At a four-day retreat held recently in Lagos, with the theme: “Re-strategising for optimum performance”, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Alhaji Idi Faruk, urged the participants to focus more on addressing issues which borders on peace building, social justice and rule of law are expected to form part of the discussion, just as he noted the importance of tackling the issues of 2011 general elections ranging from voter education, mobilization of Nigerians for violence free election to election  monitoring.

Accordingly, the agency boss noted that the retreat was organised to promote patriotism and nationalism, promoting knowledge about Nigeria and its people, fostering unity among Nigerians and rewarding excellence, integrity and hard work.

Aside the Director-General of the agency who tasked the participants, Chairman, Governing Board of the NOA, Mallam Yusuf Yakubu stated that the retreat was designed to create a forum for top management of the Agency and the Board to meet and work out modalities to enhance the performance of the Agency.

The various participants at the retreat, harped on the need for attitudinal change on the part of Nigerians as well as the need for the leadership to ensure the citizenry are given better treatment.

One of the participants, Mr Dan Esikpe, while setting the tone for the retreat described Nigerians as resilient people with strong belief in the future.

The legal luminary opined that there is need for Nigerians to put in their best just as he noted that the key areas requiring redress through social mobilization as leadership failure include declining quality of education, insecurity and armed robbery among others.

Also speaking at the event in a paper titled, “Promoting Corporate Harmony Among Various Organs of Government Agency”, Dr. Abudul-Ganuyi Obatoyinbo described corporate harmony as the other side of corporate conflict which can only be achieved through good governance.

Conflict, he said, may also emerge as a by-product of the organization itself, from such factors as mandated functions, misplaced priorities, interdependent relationships, hierarchical relationships and delegation of resources and authority. Typical organizational issues also breed conflict, such as poor lines of communication, lack of effective leadership and conflicting priorities.

Dr. Joseph Golwa, in a paper titled “Effective Strategies for Peace Building in a New Nigeria”, educated that the notion of Peace Building is one that has at its nucleus, the task of establishing peace and preventing the reoccurrence of violence by addressing the root causes of such conflict. This, he said, can be done through reconciliation, Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as negotiation, restorative justice, mediation process and arbitration. Other methods are through institutional building as well as political and economic transformation.

Peace building, he submitted, is associated with advancing initiatives that go beyond conflict resolution or management to fixing the core problems that underlie the conflict and changing the patterns of interaction of the parties in question. He further observed that “Nigeria has continued to experience the misfortune of using fire service approach to conflict mitigation and even peace building. The fire service approach, usually involving use of military or paramilitary/police to quell the violence and restore normalcy and peace to the affected community can only be pyrrhic and temporary because the root causes of the crises have remained untouched. Also, sometimes, such use of force may have untold consequences on the crises area or community”

While citing examples of Odi and Zaki-Biam crises which sparked a new conflict and fuelled higher tension in the areas and indeed States affected, he declared that such occurrences are “painfully obvious that as an organization, a country, a people, we need to find new and effective ways for peace building for a better Nigeria”.

On his part, Human Rights crusader, Mr Festus Okoye in his presentation maintained that social justice is concerned with the fairness of decisions, actions or laws but at the level of the society as a whole.

It is concerned with the question whether the decisions, actions or laws of a society are fair or just in their bearing upon individuals, ethnic, racial or religious groups and social classes comprised within the society.


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