By Abubakar Yunusa
The newly appointed Director General of the Information and National Orientation Agency, Mallam Lanre Isa Onilu, officially assumed office and pledged to enhance national unity and patriotism in Nigeria.
In his address during the formal handover/takeover ceremony at the Agency headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, expressed his determination to address the emotional disconnect among Nigerians, which emerged when the country chose to discontinue a code of conduct.
Onilu urged Nigerian leaders to actively promote ethics and codes of conduct that would enable the country to present itself positively to the global community.
He explained that nations like the United States and North Korea raise their citizens from an early age to perceive their countries as the best in the world.
“Every country defines its citizenship differently. In North Korea, citizens are brought up to see the President as a deity, and they don’t have access to information that would lead them to think otherwise. Similarly, in the United States, citizens are raised to consider themselves superior and their country as the best in the world. They see America as a divine land.”
“Let me emphasize that the President is aware that Nigeria cannot achieve prosperity, stability, unity, and progress without a strong foundation of love for the country. It is our responsibility to establish that foundation.
“We are fortunate to have the President and Minister of Information and National Orientation who understand the importance of these values.
“One thing we must understand is that the President has made it clear that belief should be based on justification. In our diverse nation with different faiths, English and mathematics are compulsory subjects, but nationalism should be just as crucial.”
“We hold our beliefs because of an emotional connection, and we must continue to nurture that connection. We should not blame Nigerians for their current positions or perceptions, but instead, we should guide them and provide accurate information.”
“The country must also create conditions that encourage love for the nation. Our role is not just to mobilize and persuade Nigerians to love their country; it’s to ensure that our leaders take actions that naturally foster emotional connections. Patriotism cannot be forced; it must flow naturally.”