The Federal Government has been called upon to move the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to the Office of the President (Presidency) from the information Ministry to ensure optimal efficiency.
The call was made in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, by a retired Director at the Agency, Hajia Aminat Elelu -Ahmed, while fielding questions from newsmen on perennial public complaints regarding the ineffectiveness of the National Orientation Agency in the country.
The former Director of Legal Services lamented that a major stumbling block hampering the effectiveness of the Agency had been inadequate funding, coupled with lack of logistic support from the Federal Government.
“The level of funding the agency used to get during the days of MAMSER is not happening now. Even during the early days of the National Orientation Agency in the early 90s, it was getting better funding than what we have now. Presently the Agency is now getting a fraction of what it used to get in the years past and that has been one of the problems militating against the efficiency of NOA.
“In the days of MAMSA, almost all the local governments had vehicles, but now things are very difficult. In Kwara State, NOA office has only one vehicle and if you don’t have a vehicle, how do you go round,” she lamented.
According to her, the only way for the Agency to be rescued is if it is taken from the Ministry of Information and National Orientation to the office of the President for more deliberate attention as it was before the Agency metamorphosed from MAMSER.
She said: “There was no much difference between MAMSER and NOA, but what made them more efficient is that they were under the Presidency, they had straight and direct link with the Presidency but now the agency is under the Ministry of Information and National Orientation.”
Elelu-Ahmed, who is a seasoned legal practitioner, also revealed that the Agency in a bid to help itself, is now collaborating with other Organisations such as INEC ,Federal Inland Revenue Service, National Population Commission to sensitise Nigerians since they have the funds while NOA has the platform and reach to get their information to the people.
She also suggested that the Agency could be elevated to a commission, saying that such will mean proper funding and meaningful attention will be given to them, saying that, “It won’t be a bad idea if the agency is changed from its Agency state to a commission as it would definitely help with the funding and all”.
She also spoke on the need for women to get more involved in politics, lamenting that lack of financial strength has been the major stumbling block impeding women from playing active roles in politics.
Elelu – Ahmed, however, appealed to women to take the initiative and get more involved in decision making and shun the negative narrative that women who get involved in politics are wayward.
Speaking further, she appealed to Nigerians to have a positive change of mind and altitude and be more disciplined in their various places of work and desist from littering the roads with dirt.