In a deliberate effort to appeal to religious fanatics and tribal jingoists whose activities and that of their sympathizers create tension and deadly violence, especially in the trouble prone states, a voluntary radio jingle is being promoted by I-Nigerian Renaissance Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organization.
It must be admitted that it is quite impossible to gather members of such violent groups or associations to a dialogue on peace-coexistence so that they sheathe their swords, various approaches have been deployed by government and other private initiative without much successes. A number of Nigerians have actually been involved in various coordinated efforts aimed at not just laundering the country’s image positively, but reminding government, citizens and stakeholders of the roles they must play in our quest to put Nigeria on global map of successful and progressive countries.
It was therefore heartwarming, when the National Coordinator, I-Nigeria Renaissance Initiative, disclosed at an interactive seminar in Abuja that her group has devised and sponsored some radio jingles in selected radio stations in the Northern part of the country.
Though as a volunteer in disaster management who had traveled to some states on advocacy in the North, I had listened to the couple of the jingles in Abuja, Kaduna and Yobe, not realizing that they were sponsored by an NGO.
Ada Apiafi said that I Nigerian Renaissance Project is a perception transformation initiative intended to reinvigorate the process of building good image for Nigeria, home and abroad. And this mission has been etched bold in the programmes and activities of the body through its I-Nigerian campaign. The group has been involved in several advocacy campaigns all aimed at mobilizing support for strategic national programmes and policies. It is equally taking advantage of the social media to link up with the youth population with the campaign of catching them young for national service.
Realising the importance of reaching the right public, especially those in environments where there have been communal and religious crises the organisation resolved to engage media and use radio in the dissemination of peace messages with a view to dousing the tension that has, lately, ravaged the northern part of the country through the activities of Boko Haram insurgents.
The radio jingles which were primarily in Hausa language had been on for several weeks on such FM radio stations as Liberty Radio in Kaduna, ; FRCN Pyramid Radio in Kano; Companion Radio in Katsina; and Rima Radio in Sokoto, the Vision FM Radio in Abuja, Fombina Radio in Adamawa; and Peace FM Radio in Borno.
The theme of the jingle, according to Ada Stella Apiafa, is to foster virtues of brotherliness, love and kindness by emphasizing “that violence, bloodshed and destruction do not pay. God, in His wisdom, created us as different people so that we can live peacefully. Promoting unity in diversity.”
An English version of the jingle which was also aired daily on these radio stations goes thus: ‘Do not carry arms, kill, maim, or destroy!!! Nigerians, we must beware!!!’
The radio campaign should be pan-Nigeria in line with the overall objective of her group to promote positive things about the country. The reach and the role of the radio is unquantifiable, because practically, everyone has access to a radio. The target of most of these peace messages on the radio, are mostly rural people that do not have access to newspapers and online mobility.
Well-conceived, strategic, precise, and eloquently developed radio messages such as jingle have have great appeal, and a huge capacity to excite their listeners, without losing their very important themes of tolerance and peaceful coexistence and security consciousness.
Such jingles recur on the mind long after they have been aired, as children, sometimes find it easy reciting some of the jingles almost to the point of them becoming ‘personal anthems’ for quite a period of time. Most of the crises ridden areas of today are areas where the Radio is a major source of information for them, so that medium alone is quite an effective tool in dousing tension on these areas.
The self-sponsored worthy initiative by the NGO which we later learn is also packaging documentaries which are aired on national TVs, and opinionated articles on pressing national issues in the print media should be encouraged and supported.
That the onerous, but rewarding task of making Nigeria one of the world’s 20 economies by the year 2020, reversing its misfortunes and putting it on the path of economic prosperity, political stability, technological advancement and socio—cultural rejuvenation remains the responsibility of all Nigerians cannot be disputed. The glorious, flourishing and paradise-like Nigeria that we so picture in our minds can only be made a reality if we all put aside personal, ethnic and group considerations in place of national interest.
Building the Nigeria of our dreams will require meaningful harnessing of our talents, coordinated and aggressive exploration and exploitation of our abundant natural resources and faith in our dear country.
Member of Journalists Against Disaster Initiative