The Minister issued the challenge in Abuja on Friday when he received some officials of the Commission, led by its Secretary, Mallam Mahmoud Bello Tukur, on a courtesy visit to his office.
“Nigerians need to know and appreciate what you are doing, and I think we need more of this interaction. At our level at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, we will very readily partner with you in the area of enlightenment campaigns because it is going to unite the country better. Once the people have a sense of belonging, then it’s the recipe for unity,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said it’s important for the Commission to change the perception and the mindset of people about the Commission, adding: ”To do so, you must invest in advocacy, interactions and visits like this.”
He said it is always convenient for people to look at a few appointments and make a general statement of marginalization, without taking a holistic view of federal appointments.
The Minister noted, however, that adequate and equitable representation in federal institutions will give a sense of belonging to every Nigerian and equally strengthen the bond of unity in the country.
“It is gladdening to note here that the objective and the mandate of the Commission go beyond just ensuring that there is a balance, equity and fairness in the federal ministries and parastatals, but that you are also very duly concerned about the spread of infrastructure. I think the two mandates are very important and germane to the unity, stability and peace of this country,” he stated.
In his remarks, Mallam Tukur said the Commission is currently engaged in promoting the aspect of its second mandate, which extends beyond placement in federal institutions to ensuring equitable distribution of infrastructure.
“The second mandate of the Commission also extends to the aspect of distribution of socio economic amenities and infrastructure in the country, and this is one key area that most people have not focused on and we want to focus more on that in the Federal Character Commission now,” he said.
The Commission’s Secretary decried how development is only centred in certain corridors and the urban areas, stressing the need for amenities and infrastructure to be broadly spread to extend to the rural areas in order to encourage private sector investment, particularly in areas like agriculture.