EXPLOITING INFORMATION FOR SOCIO-POLITICAL CHANGE IN NIGERIA

Solomon Chung, Abuja

From inception, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had clearly articulated as part of its agenda, measurable milestones and targets to effectively use information disseminating platforms, to achieve socio-political change in Nigeria.

Accordingly, in the last one year, the government has instituted a tripartite action on security awareness, an anti-corruption campaign and a social reorientation dubbed ‘Change Begins with Me’, which is soon to be launched formally, to mobilise citizens towards a better and positive socio-political orientation.

The successes recorded so far are undoubtably attributable to effective, efficient and timely exploitation of available channels of communication, vis-à-vis the print, electronic and web-based media platforms.

The consensus across media outlets in Nigeria is that accurate, timely and organised information that is well presented must continue to provide the best idea behind every message, in meaning, context and relevance. The aim is to increase understanding of the citizens of policies and programmes, as well as decrease ambiguity and uncertainty.

In the face of Nigeria’s socio-economic and political realities and security the challenges, there has never been a more pertinent time than now, for concise, deliberate and proper exploitation and utilisation of information for socio-political change. Such information must however, be properly contextualised and put across, to positively affect and correct behavior, decisions or even the outcome of a project.

Nigeria is home to a plethora of information sites on the web, with nearly every media owning its own website. Of the traditional media outlets on record, there are more than 50 different newspapers, nearly 70 Federal Government-controlled national and regional Television stations, numerous state-owned and private TV stations in each of the 36 states and cable and satellite subscription services. Furthermore, the Federal government controls a network of radio stations, state-governments own about 40, private entrepreneurs control 50, while at least 17 community radio stations are located across Nigeria.

Experts have posited that access to and proper use of information is a pre-condition for any form of social accountability, which in turn propels a better and decent society. No wonder the government of President Buhari steadily maintains it will work to close the information gap between the citizens and the government, as well as between the media and the government; a concept which is at the heart of measures to harness all of the country’s information paraphernalia.

Over the last few years, many media organisations have been updating their technologies to cater for persons living with visual, auditory and kinesthetic challenges, so they too can make important contributions to the process of socio-political change and economic rebirth.

Similarly, opinion leaders, traditional and religious leaders, the civil society, professional groups and indeed, the media are continuing to lend their voices to debates and discussions on topical issues of ethics, principles and values, in order to bring about the much needed change in Nigeria’s socio-political and economic landscape.

Sustaining this momentum is not a task for government alone. It is the duty of all citizens of Nigeria, at home and abroad. The entire citizenry must be mobilised towards positivity. Information is power and its impact can only be valuable when it is employed for the greater good of the nation and its citizens.

 

H.S