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Nigeria is overwhelmed by many challenges, most of them caused by politicians, says NOA boss

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THE Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, says the Nigerian state is being overwhelmed by multiple challenges in all sectors, and its leaders are mostly blameworthy.

Abari said this during a live interview on Channels Television on Thursday, adding, however, that the agency is doing its best with the resources available to bring about a positive mindset among Nigerians.

The NOA DG admitted that the activities of the agency to bring about the desired change may just be “a tiny drop” in the ocean, given the numerous challenges facing the country which shows that Nigeria as a country has been overwhelmed.

“The agency is doing the best it can,” Abari said, but “first and foremost, you have to put this within context, what is it that has brought us to where we are today, basically the capacity of the state.

“The Nigerian state is just simply not capable, and it is being overwhelmed. That is the most fundamental aspect that we must all have to understand.

“The Nigerian state is being eaten into. Its capability and competence level is being eaten into simply because of decades of what we have inflicted upon ourselves as a people and as leaders.”

Abari said that it is because of the incapacity of the Nigerian state that the job of the NOA, as well as that of many other government agencies, is made difficult.

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The NOA has the mandate of communicating government policies to Nigerians and inculcating values that promote national unity and integration, a responsibility which Abari agrees would be lots easier if the leaders were leading by example.

Abari noted that though there has been a slight change in the public conduct of leaders in the country in recent times, many still exhibit characters that leave much to be desired.

“There is the fundamental role of leadership, and as much as we want to change, we must first and foremost see those to whom we have put in a position of responsibility leading the change. Then it becomes easy for any kind of message to be sent out and for citizens to align and to key into such messages,” he said.

“But what we see out there is a kind of a systemic disconnect between what we see leaders do and what the citizens expect of the leaders to do, and this what behoves on all Nigerians, therefore, to stand up and to challenge.”

Nevertheless, Abari said the NOA has adopted several policies targeted at young people across tertiary institutions in the country to make them believe in Nigeria and to give their best in promoting unity and development.

“Young people must have to take more than a passing interest in the affairs of the country,” Abari said. “It’s not all about listening to music and being on youtube, it is about behaving responsibly and also taking interest in national affairs.”

Recently, NOA,  an agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Information, has appeared rather dormant as many say the agency fails to effectively communicate government’s policies to the citizenry.

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Even Abari admitted during the interview that his leadership of the NOA has been able to achieve just about 40 per cent of its set objectives.

He blamed the poor performance on a number of challenges, including bad leadership example of politicians,  thereby making it difficult for citizens to accept the message of change.

Lack of funds may also be responsible for the NOA’s seeming lack of visibility in the country.

Between 2015 and 2018 the total budgetary allocation for the NOA was slightly above N1.4 billion, and only N957 million were released for spending.

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