By Obas Esiedesa

THE President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo has blamed widening trust deficit between the government and citizens, between and among the various ethnic and socio-cultural groups, and generally among the citizens, for the crises facing the country.

Mr. Sirajo who disclosed this to journalists in Abuja yesterday ahead of next week’s Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, said a research by the governing council of NIPR has also revealed a collapse of core national values, citizens despondency and apathy on issues of national development.

He explained that given the challenges facing the country the summit was carefully designed to promote national cohesion, peaceful co-existence among citizens, rebuild trust, and lay solid foundation for a new and prosperous Nigeria.

While harping on the need for citizens to rise up and reclaim the country from the hands of the few that have mismanaged its affairs, he pointed out that “it is a common knowledge that relationships amongst our people are not what they used to be; mutual suspicion and antagonism seem to have taken over the place of our once beautiful and relatively peaceful coexistence that was least influenced by ethno-religious and other primordial differences.

“Realising that at the core of the mandate of the Public Relations profession is the birthing and sustenance of mutually beneficial relationships (and mending them where they crack or even break down) the Institute came to the conclusion that our beloved country, Nigeria, needs more than a shot in the arm in this regard. No nation thrives and progresses in an atmosphere of distrust”.

Sarijo, who expressed concern over the prolonged strike by university teachers, urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to end the industrial dispute as the situation has become embarrassing.

“The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations is also very concerned about the rising case of insecurity in the country and calls on both state and non-state actors to intensify collaborations and redouble efforts at federal, state, and local levels towards ensuring effective protection and security of lives and property in Nigeria. Also, the Institute is greatly worried over the prolonged ASUU strike, which has affected the academic calendar of our children. There is no gainsaying the fact that we can only assure the future of the country by ensuring an assured future for its future leaders.

“This cannot be brought about without consciously and deliberately preparing them for the challenges ahead. A solid educational foundation is therefore absolutely a necessary first step towards achieving that. We must therefore quickly return to the path of giving education to our children the urgency and importance that it more than deserves. Government should as a matter of urgency, engage more determinedly with the concerned unions to resolve the lingering and embarrassing strike and should be seen to be doing that”, he added.

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