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PROJECT TOPIC: POLITICAL PARTIES AND THE SUSTENANCE OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA: PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS

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CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTIONBackground to The StudyOne of the reasons for establishing the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was to provide a national platform for propagating the ideals of democracy in Nigeria.The National Orientation Agency was established by Decree 100 of August, 1993. To establish the Agency, the Decree merged three significant organs of government, namely˸ the public Enlightenment (PE) and the war Against Indiscipline (WAI), National Orientation Movement (NOM), Divisions of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture with the Directorate for social Mobilization, Self-Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER).The rational for the merger was to harmonize and consolidate efforts and resources of the government in social mobilization and value re-orientation. It is important to emphasize that there no longer exists a public Enlightenment department in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture. Its functions were transferred to National Orientation Agency (NOA) which is the only body authorized by law to perform the duties of public Enlightenment. The argument as to duplication of functions or better funding of the ministry to enhance its public enlightenment capabilities does not therefore arise.The Agency is a scheduled establishment of government geared towards enhancing and sustaining social engineering in order to bring about positive values and attitudes of the citizenry.The National Orientation Agency (NOA) as an agency of government remains critical for continued sensitization of Nigerians especially in present day political dispensation. Essentially, its missions is directed towards ensuring discipline, dignity of labour, social justices, religious tolerance, self-reliance, patriotism, integrity, accountability, loyalty, commitment and dedication to the nation-state, Nigeria. Beyond this mission is the task of meeting the challenges of social and political integration of a developing society such as Nigeria. Indeed, no nation can achieve its goal of development without a conscious effort at integrating its people and mobilizing them to understand, appreciate and identify with the ideals of development. For a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse nation like Nigeria with very high level of illiteracy, the need for sustained orientation, social mobilization and public enlightenment becomes imperative. These provide the reason why the people should be kept constantly informed, oriented, mobilized and sensitized to acquire an understanding of the general socio-political process so they can participate fully, freely, and actively in taking decisions affecting their lives.Furthermore, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has worked on a variety of issues, including health, and prevention of electoral violence etc. It is in these realities that the National Orientation Agency as an organization responsible for public support and inputs for government programmes and policies to foster development of democracy in Nigeria.The Agency has never relented in its commitment to fulfill its statutory mandate to substantially raise public awareness over government policies, programmes and activities; mobilizing favorable public opinion for government policies and programmes as well as obtaining feed-back from the people and communicating same to government. Also, the Agency has perfected plans to engage schools and media to propagate national core values by avoiding negative reportage of events around the country which has portrayed the nation in bad light.However, as it is often said, much is expected from him to whom much is given. It is therefore a welcome development that the public search light has been persistently beamed on the National Orientation Agency expecting it to do more.Thus, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is poised more than ever, to contribute its quota to resolve the current security challenges and public apathy to government policies. Beyond that, National Orientation Agency is re-strategizing with more preemptive, preventive and proactive approaches to societal attitudes.More so, a new zeal has been introduced into the body to be driven by volunteer Nigerians for attitudinal transformation and development of democracy in Nigeria. It is also embarking on a national campaign title “know your values” to inculcate the desired positive values in all Nigerians citizens. To achieve this, however, the people must be adequately informed and educated on such policies in order for them to willingly support, participate and take collective ownership of the development in Nigeria. Thus, this study is set to appraising the National Orientation Agency and the Development of Democracy in Nigeria.


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