PROF. Emmanuel Dandaura, a Professor of Participatory and Development Communication, Nasarawa State University has called for attitudinal change and change in narrative to promote national unity and development.
Dandaura made the call while delivering a paper titled, ‘To Change Narratives, Change Behaviour’ at the 5th Edition of OurNigeria News Award 2023 on Sunday night in Abuja.
The 2023 edition of the award has the theme “Providing a Podium for the Unsong Hero”.
The don recalled one of the conversations between Sir Ahmadu Bello and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe on the issue of Nigeria’s unity where both leaders ended up with two different theses in terms of how to forge the unity in Nigeria.
According to him, while Azikiwe said they needed to forget their differences, whether religious or cultural, the Sardauna disagreed and emphasised the need to recognise and respect their differences so that in negotiating those differences they could build a united Nigeria.
He said that they were both correct, adding that it was important since everybody had different environment, different capabilities and different limitations.
“So what is important is how do we forge this unity and meet all these differences.
“As I prepared this lecture, I decided to take a simple survey randomly of 380 young people in my training database across Nigeria.
“I asked three simple questions which border on knowing the extent to which they are satisfied with the state of unity in Nigeria.
“96 per cent of them were not satisfied with the state of unity and their reasons range from nepotism in the higher places, corruption, insecurity, unemployment and leadership failure, and of course their exclusion in politics as they saw it.
“They were, however, very generous with respect to how we can change the situation but I noticed that out of the total, 98 per cent gave recommendations that were targeted at changes that they wish to see in their political leaders, government officials, religious leaders, and other actors.
“Only two per cent included on their list few things that they thought they should change themselves for us to have a united and progressive Nigeria.
According to Dandaura, when we talk about nation building, most times we expect the next person to take the lead while we forget our role in the process of building unity and forging integration.
Nigeria, he said, is a beautiful country by all standards with abundant human and natural resources that any country could boast of as well as can do spirit.
The don said that needed a reorientation to change the narratives that even some Nigerians do not believe that anything good could happen in their country.
According to him, one of the major problems has been leadership failure and the truth is that majority of Nigerians believe that our leaders are not able to satisfy our aspirations and what we expect of them.
Also speaking, the Publisher of OurNigeria News Magazine, Dr Muhammed Abubakar said that leadership crisis was one of the challenges that had hindered progress and unity in the country.
Abubakar said it was that understanding that informed the decision of the media outfit to use platforms like awards to unveil and showcase men of timber and caliber that could be seen and given more responsibilities in their assignments.
He said that some of the people that were conferred with the awards in previous editions were also conferred with the National Honour by former President Muhammadu Buhari, an indication that the awards were well deserved.
According to him, the whole thing is all about value addition, adding that excellence would not be found on the streets but through diligence and hard work.
“So whenever you see excellence, treasure it, celebrate it and honor it and that is the whole idea behind this very award.
“It is all about identifying excellence, identifying people who are adding value, then you celebrate them, and encourage them so that they will do more,” he said.
The Chairman of Awards Organising Committee, Dr AK Peters, said it was a platform to honor those who had performed at the superlative level, adding that the awards were not for sale nor for the highest bidder.
Peters said the awards were a prestigiously conferred honor on carefully selected and highly inspirational heroes whose uncommon achievements had evoked admiration and emulation.
“Our awards are only for those who scaled through the clear cut parameters, criteria, scrutiny and competency appraisal of our eagle eyed conservative old school crack team of assessors.
This way, our unsong heroes, indeed the real heroes of our Nigerian society can be known, sing song, celebrated and rewarded for raising the bar in leadership and the quest for a better Nigeria.
“It is not worthy to state that majority of those who have received these awards in the past were elevated in their various fields of endeavour,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 25 Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their various field including traditional rulers, religious leaders and politicians, as well as security, business and entertainment were conferred with the awards. (NAN)
November 13, 2023 @ 9:35 GMT|