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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the biggest challenge the administration had faced in its efforts to communicate with Nigerians had been “the propensity of a group of naysayers”.
The minister disclosed this on Friday in Lagos at a colloquium organised by the Coalition of Nigerian Apostolic Leaders on “State of the Nation.”
The event was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a representative of Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos and the clergy.
The minister said that the group constantly counter government with fake information, using the social media which was the most democratised medium.
He said, “Every day, these groups of people deliberately distort our messages while also suffusing the atmosphere with their own version of information.”
The minister said that, to counter them, the government used the Town Hall Meetings which allowed its officials to speak with Nigerians directly and get the necessary feedback from them.
He said, “We have held such Town Hall Meetings here in Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Uyo, Enugu and Abuja, during which Ministers interacted directly with a cross section of Nigerians.
“Having realised its effectiveness, we have lined up a series of more Town Hall Meetings across the country.”
He said government recently launched a national re-orientation campaign tagged “Change Begins With Me” aimed at achieving a paradigm shift in the way Nigerians do things.
The minister stressed that the administration placed much premium on communicating with the people.
He said his ministry launched sensitisation campaigns on the three broad issues that formed the plank of the administration’s policy.
The planks, according to him, are the fight against corruption, the fight against insecurity and the need to revamp the economy, create jobs and wealth.
He said, “Mixing the traditional means of communication with the modern one, we are reaching out to the people through radio, television, newspapers and the all-powerful Social Media to keep them abreast of developments in these three broad areas.

“If you recollect, the first thing we did, as the Ministry of Information and Culture, upon assumption of office about one year ago, was to change the narrative on the Boko Haram crisis.”
He said with the campaign, Nigerians had taken ownership of the war and Boko Haram is on the run, only throwing a few bombs at vulnerable targets.
Mohammed said the ministry also launched the sensitisation campaign against corruption aimed at alerting Nigerians to its danger and the need to spare no effort in fighting it.
He said, “In doing so, we adopted a totally novel approach, which was to dwell on the cost of corruption to Nigerians rather than talking about it in the abstract.
“In other words, the campaign strategy was to ensure that Nigerians got to know how corruption has affected their lives.”
Mohammed said that government campaign had shifted to the economy and the recession.
He said that the President,  the Vice President and the Ministers had all fanned out in an effort to keep Nigerians abreast of the various measures government was using to end the recession as quickly as possible.
The minister thanked the organiser of the Colloquium noting that the discussion would deeply enrich the discourse on the state of the nation.
He also urged them to sustain it rather than making it a one-off event.
The Presiding Apostle of CNAL, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, said the colloquium was a contribution of the Coalition to national development.
He said the Church must not remain in the enclosure of it’s walls but make significant contributions to national transformation.
(NAN)

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