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The media and thetransformation agenda: Roles and challenges

ON SEPTEMBER 28, 2011 IN VIEW POINT

11:20 am
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THE overwhelming power of the media in shaping public perception of government policies and programmes is recognised all over the world. Needless to say that government appreciates these awesome powers and knows that what the media report about them can make or mar their policies, activities, success or failures. This is particularly so in a fledgling society such as Nigeria, which is still passing through the complex processes of democratisation and economic reconstruction. This scenario has, therefore, increasingly made the relationship between the media and the government to be inseparable in the common pursuit for national growth and development. The present administrations Transformation Agenda is largely consistent with the Vision 20:2020, which is aimed at concretizing our collective national goals and aspirations of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020. The media, as a veritable organ of mass communication, has a fundamental role to play in this national project by sensitizing, mobilizing and educating Nigerians on the core components of the Agenda and its derivable benefits. Nigerians also have to imbibe the correct attitudes and take the right actions for the Transformation Agenda to progress from the realm of public policy to that of concrete reality. It is essential to point out that the Transformation Agenda seeks to transform Nigerian people into a catalyst for growth and national development. Under the transformational drive, we all aspire to build an industrialised modern state, peaceful and united in our collective aspirations; conscious of its manifest destiny as a regional power and wellrespected in the comity of nations. However, the above task can be a very great challenge without a highly enlightened, adequately remunerated, well-equipped and patriotic national media. In this respect, therefore, government, in addition to providing the enabling environment for the growth of the industry, needs to promote and sustain harmonious relationship with the media as one

of the major stakeholders in this laudable national agenda. On their part, the media practitioners must imbibe a sense of national interest in the discharge of their duties. It needs to be emphasized that based on its immense material and human resources, Nigeria has the potentials for greatness. To harness these resources for the collective national transformation, the media has to motivate, instill, and inspire necessary confidence among Nigerians. We must also embrace the positive virtues of selfdiscipline and patriotism, so as achieve the goals of our national reconstruction. In the light of the above, therefore, the media has to vigorously embark on the deliberate collection, packaging, processing and sustained dissemination of well-thought-out public sensitization. In addition to this, the media has to equally play the role of promoting peace, stability, unity and progress of this great nation, without which no serious national transformation can take place. It is essential to note that we should not confine the afore-mentioned roles to the national media alone. We also need the support and cooperation of the international media. Suffice it to say, at this point, that the role of the international media, in this respect, would largely depend on various critical factors such as our external relations, the state of our external image as well as the commitment and political will by the present administration to transform this country. There is, therefore, the need to establish and sustain cordial working relationship with the international media. This is with a view to positively and favorably project Nigerian image abroad. It could be recalled that negative and stereotyped reportage by the international media could adversely affect the inflow of the direct foreign investment which is key to the transformation of our great country. Mr. HADI AL-HASSAN, PS to the Minister for Works, wrote from Abuja
http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/09/the-media-and-the-transformation-agenda-roles-and-challenges/

Nigeria's Transformation Agenda: Effective Communication Is Key Permanent Secretary in the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Mrs. Nkechi Ejele and Dr Peter Emefiole at the opening of a capacity building training in Abuja for Nigerian information officers. Effective communication has been identified as a potent tool needed to drive reforms not only in the Federal Civil Service but in other tiers of government as the role it plays in influencing the attitudes, opinions and behaviours of stakeholders as well as securing the necessary political will towards ensuring the success of any countrys reform programme cannot be overemphasized.

Permanent Secretary in the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Mrs. Nkechi Ejele stated this on Thursday in Abuja in her keynote address at the opening of a Capacity Building Workshop organized for Resident Information Officers in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government. The workshop is one of a series of capacity building programmes put together by the BPSR which began in 2009 with the training of middle level information officers while the Directorate Cadre Information Officers were trained in 2010. According to Mrs. Ejele, the Public Service Reform has entered another critical phase with the finalization of the National Strategy for Public Service Reform which she said was awaiting the nod of the Federal Executive Council. The National Strategy for the Public Service Reform provides a common vision and a long-term agenda to guide the rebuilding and transformation of the Federal Public Service. The objective of the reform is to have a world-class Public Service for achieving NV 20:2020 of becoming one of the leading economies in the world by 2020, Ejelen said. She said the public service is further challenged by the introduction of the Transformation Agenda by Mr. President which is aimed at transforming the country by the end of his tenure in 2015. The Transformation Agenda will address governance challenges particularly anti-corruption, security and infrastructural deficit in key areas such as power, transportation, housing, ICT, Niger-Delta and environment, Ejele added. Participants at the workshop The BPSR Permanent Secretary therefore explained that effective communication would improve access to information on various reform measures as a strategy that would make the various reforms more acceptable to the stakeholders and the general public and guarantee a buy in , pointing out that previous training programmes of RIOs have begun yielding the expected results. In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Mr. Aliyu Salihu Gusau, said it was an incontrovertible fact that one of the Pillars of Democracy is a properly informed citizenry. Governing justly and democratically requires that citizens be informed about their government, thus encouraging trust, combating corruption and ensuring quality service delivery. Doing so entails innovative approaches to policy formulation and project execution, akin to transformational governance which this administration is stridently canvassing, he said. Gusau who was represented by the Director Special Duties in the Ministry, Mr. Umar Lamba reiterated that as information specialists, the people of Nigeria rely on you to know what is happening in this country. He therefore urged all the participants to make the most of the training workshop which he noted was expected to empower them to provide Nigerians and the world at large with credible and timely information on government activities, programmes and initiatives.

Library Philosophy and Practice 2010 ISSN 1522-0222 Rebranding Nigeria through Strategic Library Services Amanze O. Unagha Dept. of Library and Information Science Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria Samuel K. Ibenne Dept. of Library and Information Science Abia State University, Uturu, Nigeria

Introduction Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world, with a population of more than 140 million people. In the recent past, the image of this country has suffered because of antisocial and criminal activities. Nigeria scored 27 percent in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2008 by Transparency International (Ukpong, 2008). Vietnam has banned Nigerians from entering that country because of undesirable activities of Nigerians there. Drug and human trafficking, militancy, advance fee fraud, known in the local parlance as "419," have rocked Nigeria. There is an unprecedented number of Nigerians sentenced to prison or death outside Nigeria for their involvement in criminal activity, including immigration crimes, robbery, fraud, smuggling, arms running, prostitution, and murder. Many Nigerians have attributed these worrisome behaviours to socioeconomic and political paralysis, with sluggish economy, hunger, unreliable power supply, corruption in high places, poverty, structural unemployment, a dearth of social amenities, and electoral flaws (Onuoha, 2009, Kilete, 2009, Agbese, 2009). It is against this backdrop that the idea of rebranding arose. The rebranding campaign was launched in 2009 by the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who repositioned Nigeria's health sector as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Overseeing the Ministry of Information and Communication at this time is a hard task. One of the greatest challenges facing Akunyili was to provide timely and accurate information on the activities of the government while ensuring that Nigeria's international image reflects reality. Innocent Nigerians have been arrested indiscriminately and some have been denied visas simply because they are Nigerians (Kilete, 2009). During the launching of the rebranding Nigeria Project, Akunyili stated that: The rebranding is about our collective interest, our image as a country and as a people in the present and future. Even with the challenges, we do not have any other country we can call our own; we are not by this rebranding justifying whatever may be our failures. Akunyili is calling on the government, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil societies, organized labour, the clergy, the media, traditional institutions and citizens to be part of this rebranding campaign. This paper examines the role of the library in the Rebranding Nigeria Project (RNP). Collaborative Efforts at the RNP The military's long presence in national politics has been a factor in damaging Nigeria's image and relationships. The democratic Yar'dua administration has a 7-point agenda of power and energy, food security and agriculture, mass transportation, land reform, good education, work creation and

employment, and security, to reposition Nigeria (Oluba, 2009). The RNP has used slogans like Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation, which have been broadcast on radio and television. The same message and rebranding logo are being sent to individual mobile phones to make citizens aware of this campaign. The mass media have been called upon to ensure objective reportage of issues, avoiding sensationalism, bearing in mind that outrageous reportage produces only short-term gain. The theatre and music industries have been urged to produce art that depicts Nigeria's cultural identity, showcases the spirit and sense of brotherhood, culture, hard work, and hospitality, and to compose meaningful songs that can change the hearts of Nigerians (Nwaugochukwu, 2009). Nigerian movie producers have been asked to produce movies that depict Nigerians as trustworthy, loving, hard working, and patriotic. Religious leaders and traditional rulers are participating in the rebranding agenda, and educational institutions are expected to take moral education very seriously and inculcate the spirit of service and excellence in the students. These collaborative efforts aim to relieve the pandemic negativism that afflicts us all, especially those who have reasons to believe that their country and its leaders have cheated them (Agbese, 2009). Strategic Library Services in the Rebranding Nigeria Project Libraries of all types have a unique role to play in rebranding the image of Nigeria and Nigerians. These contributions are strategic because beyond the euphoria, these services will form the bedrock for the efforts made now. It is only through such services as shall be discussed, that we can ensure, as Nigeria 's national anthem states, that "the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain." Rebranding Nigeria Project (RNP) Database Nothing ensures success like well-kept and well-managed information. Libraries are at the forefront of collating, processing, storing, and disseminating information of all kinds. To ensure the sustenance of gains made in the RNP and to create new frontiers of success, libraries must be engaged in the creation of the information base which will support the project. This is in line with Apotiade's (2002) belief that nothing is more important than broadening our horizons, escaping from ourselves and making discoveries that make the individual a more valuable member of society, and that the only way to do this is through libraries. One particular library that will be very useful in this respect is the National Library of Nigeria, which was established to serve as an instrument for national development through ensuring the availability of a comprehensive collection of recorded material published in, about Nigeria, and by Nigerians, and guaranteeing access to such material. Nwalo's (2000) position as cited by Apotiade (2002) is that the task of a National Library is to ensure who all that are engaged in political, economic, scientific, educational, social, or cultural activities receive the necessary information to enable them give their best contribution to the community. The National Library ensures that achievements of today's society are made known to future generations. The National Library should champion the effort to create and maintain a functional and dynamic database for the RNP and encourage the same for all type of libraries, with particular attention to public libraries. Strategic Enlightenment Efforts Libraries are agencies of information dissemination for social transformation. As such, libraries should be at the forefront of the crusade to reposition Nigeria's image. Libraries can disseminate information through such means as lectures, Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI), Current Awareness Service (CAS), notice boards, posters, displays, seminars, and exhibitions of newspaper and magazine cuttings, which may be annotated for better effect. Nwalo (2003) identifies films, conferences, lectures, and mobile library services as standard library services to communities. The success of the RNP lies to a large extent on Nigerian libraries that are close to the populace. Nigerian libraries can deliver the rebranding message to rural Nigerians, who may not have access to print and electronic media. Packaging and Repackaging of the New Nigeria: Information Paradigm

Information is not independent of social practices. It is a basis for successful behaviour (Ojedokun, 2007). To combat negative practices and antisocial behaviours by Nigerians, the role of information must be recognized. In the collaborative effort to rebrand Nigeria, the library occupies an eminent civilizing role. The rebranding effort appears elitist and only understood by the literate population. There is an urgent need to bring the rebranding campaign to the attention of rural Nigerians, including those who are not literate. Through translation services, libraries, especially public libraries, can bring the message in the vernacular to the people. The library may do this by translating messages from print and electronic media and finding avenues to bring them to the attention of the public it serves. Web Portals The world is increasingly globalized, and the Internet has assumed a powerful and effective role in global information dissemination. Web portals offer a means of global information conveyance. Libraries can disseminate information on the rebranding Nigeria campaign locally and internationally through their Web portals, which will be open to millions of readers across the globe. This will serve as access point to the RNP for Nigerians in other countries. Conclusion The RNP is a high-priority project for the government of Nigeria. Libraries can make a significant contribution to this project. This paper has discussed those strategic library services that can effectively communicate about the RNP and sustain its progress. References Agbese, D. (2009). Rebranding Nigeria: An appraisal. Newswatch Online August 24th. Apotiade, J. K. (2002). National, state, and public Libraries. Ibadan: Distance Learning Centre, University of Ibadan. Kilete, M. (2009). Rebranding: Akunyili's new crusade. The Sun Online, Feb. 20th. Nwalo, K. I. N. (2003). Fundamentals of library practice: A manual on library routines. Lagos: StirlingHorden. Nwaugochukwu, A. (2009). Actualizing the Nigeria Rebranding Campaign. Newstalk. Radio Nigeria, Heartland F.M, Owerri. August 25 th. Ojedokun, A. A. (2007). Information literacy for tertiary education students in Africa. Ibadan: Third World Information Services. Oluba, M. (2009). Sanusi tsunami: wages of financial recklessness. The Spectator, August, 21-27, p.15. Onuoha, F. (2009). Rebranding Nigeria once again. Ukpong U. (2008). Anti-corruption war: Nigeria still below pass mark. The Sunday News Online, Wednesday, September 24th.