Nigerian institute cautions youths against divisive sentiments

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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A cross section of students during a youth orientation programme in Calabar.

Nigerian youths have been advised to chart a new path devoid of ethnic, religious and tribal sentiments.

Mukhtar Sirajo, the president and chairman of the governing council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, said this at a youth orientation programme in Calabar, Cross River State.

Reshape mindset
Sirajo pointed out that Nigerians must, as a matter of urgency, reshape the mindset and psyche of young people towards enthroning a new vision for the country.

The NIPR President said, “I want to see us return to a Nigeria where ethnicity, tribe and religion is not a basis for anything we need; a Nigeria where you can be appointed or voted into office to serve the people in any part of the country”.

Sirajo, who noted that since independence the leadership of Nigeria has failed the people by continually promoting ethnicity and religious bigotry, sued for an attitudinal and mindset change for the overall interest of the future.

The Permanent Secretary of Cross River State Ministry of Information and Orientation, Dr. Aye Henshaw lauded NIPR Cross River State branch for organising a sustainable children’s programme on nation building.

Fake news
A renowned Professor of Journalism at the University of Northern Iowa, United States of America, Professor Chris Ogbonna said it was important for institutions such as the NIPR to invest resources in shaping the mind of younger citizens.

Professor Ogbonna, who was also the chairman of the occasion, stated that technology has made public relation practices more exciting through radio, television, podcast, and the internet.

He noted that despite the breakthroughs, “it also poses the challenges of tuning out the noises such as fake news and fake websites as well as choosing the most effective medium for effective communication”.

Mr. Benedict Okache, the keynote Speaker, in his message on the theme “Public Relations Profession and Career Opportunities,” urged young Nigerians to be disciplined, hardworking and dedicated to their studies.

Mentoring
The State Chairman of NIPR, Mrs. Offiong Ani Offiong hinted that the special programme for youths was inaugurated in 2008 as a way of mentoring children to be good citizens and embrace the profession.

Offiong noted that the programme has trained hundreds of young people in secondary and tertiary institutions.

Highlight of the gathering was the cutting of a cake to commemorate tenth anniversary cake of the NIPR children’s programme.

 

Sammie Idika