Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 09:25 pm
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) was established on August 23, 1993, by the military regime of Gen Ibrahim Babangida, three days before he stepped down as Nigeria’s military president.
Before NOA came into effect through Decree 100 of 1993, there were some organs within the Federal Ministry of Information to diffuse the information from the federal level down to the people in the local government areas.
What you’ll find in this article
History of NOA
The history of NOA would be incomplete without a mention of Mass Mobilisation for Self-Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), which was formally inaugurated by the military junta of Gen. Babangida on July 25, 1987.
Although the military regime of Babangida came on board with a deceptive “democratic-intention” and for economic recovery.
So, he founded MAMSER saddled with the responsibility of embarking on the political orientation of Nigerians about programme of the military regimes and to get ideas from Nigerians about the regime’s economic policy
So, three days before IBB left office, some organs of government were merged to form NOA, they are:
- The Public Enlightenment (PE)
- War Against Indiscipline (WAI)
- National Orientation Movement (NOM)
- Mass Mobilisation for Self-Reliance and Economic Recovery (MAMSER)
The merger was aimed at harmonising and “consolidating efforts and resources of the government in the fields of public enlightenment, social mobilisation and value re-orientation,” says Agbo Agbo in a publication on The Nation.
The roles of the merged organs were condensed under the new NOA as a parastatal in the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
Functions of NOA
Its establishment is hinged on the need to raise the consciousness of Nigerians about key decisions of the government.
Below are the roles and responsibilities of the National Orientation Agency to national development:
1) To relate with Nigerians using the local dialects they understand about government policies
2) To mobilize favourable public opinion for government programmes and policies
3) To raise the consciousness of Nigerians about the unity of the country.
4) To encourage informal education through public enlightenment activities and publications
5) To serve as a link between the government and Nigerians in towns and villages through its feedback channels
6) To foster respect for the constituted authority
7) To critically analyse the policies of the government to the Nigerian people for a better understanding
8) To critically analyse the policies of the government to the Nigerian people for a better understanding
9) To develop social and cultural values and awareness among Nigerians
10) To inculcate the spirit of patriotism, nationalism, self-discipline, and self-reliance
11)To encourage Nigerians to actively and freely participate in discussions and decisions on matters affecting the federation
12) To awaken the consciousness of Nigerians to their responsibilities to the promotion of national unity
13) To instill in the citizens a sense of loyalty to their fatherland.
14) To educate Nigerians about beauty unity in diversity
15) To promote leadership value among Nigerians
And above all, the National Orientation Orientation has a critical role to play during generation elections. One of such is to raise the consciousness of Nigerians (electorates) during electioneering campaigns and about the need for them to uphold free and fair elections.
Past DG of NOA
Here is the full list of the Director-General of NOA from 1987 to date
Professor Jerry Gana
He was the pioneer director of MAMSER. He later became Minister of Co-operation and Integration in Africa.
He was later appointed as Minister of Information from May 29, 2001, to July 2003 during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
He was NOA DG from September 1987 to April 1992.
Alh. Mohammed Gambo Jimeta
Gambo Jimeta was the Director-General of NOA from April 1992 to Jan. 1993.
Prof. Tunde Adeniran
Prof Adeniran was in charge of NOA from January 1993 to August 1993.
Prof. Adeniran was later appointed as the Minister of Education by President Obasanjo between June 1999 to January 2001.
Professor Elochukwu C. Amucheazi
August 1993 to November 1999.
Prof. Aloy Ejiogu
June 2000 to July 2001
Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuka
July 2001 to March 2002
Dr. Tonnie Iredia
April 2002 to June 2003. Iredia is an accomplished broadcaster. He later became DG of NTA in 2003 and later a professor of communication.
Alh. Idi M. Faruk
Alh. Faruk was NOA DG from June 2003 to Jan. 17 2012
Dr. Mike Omeri
Jan. 2012 to Feb. 15 2016
Ngozi Ekeoba Mni
She was the acting DG of NOA from February 15, 2016 to May 26, 2016
Dr. Garba Abari
Dr Abari was appointed as the NOA DG on May 26, 2016. He was reappointed which took effect on May 25, 2021.
Mr Lanre Issa-Onilu
The incumbent DG of NOA Mr Lanre Issa-Onilu was a former Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Congress (APC).
Issa-Onilu was appointed as DG of NOA on October 19, 2023, following the appointment of eight new Chief Executive Officers for Parastatals and Agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation.
Assessment of NOA
During COVID-19, many Nigerians, just like me, wondered if NOA was still in existence. The last time NOA was active was during the days of Toni Iredia, Jerry Gahna, Idi Faruk, and Mike Omeri. They engaged Nigerians through what experts would call developmental communication.
At the time of this update, most of the state offices of NOA are ineffective.
The agency needs an overhaul, the minister of information who manages government image needs to properly use the power NOA used to have 10 years ago to engage Nigerians.
The minister of information shouldn’t be the only one engaging Nigerians about the government’s policy.
As we can see above, the objectives of NOA are clear and nationalistic. The change campaign should begin with the agency. NOA isn’t just an Abuja agency.
- Does the NOA still exist?. The Nation. April 2, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2021
- Featured Image: By NOA