Mohammed Idris: Propagating values reorientation from the driver’s seat

In August last year, President Bola Tinubu submitted a list of 45 ministerial nominees to the Senate for screening and confirmation. Among them was Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, a renowned expert in public relations. He was widely favoured for the role of Minister of Information and National Orientation, and when portfolios were assigned days later, his appointment aligned with the public’s expectations.

Six months into his tenure, Idris, as he is widely known in Niger politics, has proven himself, earning nationwide praise for his adept handling of the position, emerging as one of the finest professionals to serve in this capacity.

As Nigeria’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, the Kakaaki Nupe, a media mogul and Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, is well-suited for the role at this critical juncture of the nation’s development. His background and track record speak volumes about his expertise in message engineering and communication.

Idris’s straightforward professional approach to managing the nation’s reputation stands in contrast to his predecessors, many of whom lacked the finesse required. Despite Nigeria’s hard times, the minister’s choice of words and phrases in addressing national issues has resonated with Nigerians, earning him widespread approval.

His delivery of information to Nigerians, whether through press releases, interviews, or press conferences, is consistently expertly executed, and devoid of ambiguity. Calm, calculated, and focused, Idris has earned a reputation as a man of integrity.

His non-verbal communication, including facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice, complements his messages, reinforcing their impact. Recognising the importance of non-verbal cues, Idris ensures that his physical demeanour enhances rather than detracts from his message delivery.

When addressing national issues, Idris’s confident words are persuasive, leaving no room for doubt or suspicion. His authenticity shines through, fueled by his passion for the country and conviction in his role to contribute to its development. His dedication to professionalism and duty is evident in his enthusiasm and commitment to serving the nation at this critical point.

He adeptly elucidates government policies, actions, and programmes without displaying emotional outbursts or revealing personal sentiments. Even when confronted by the press on pressing national issues, his composed responses underscore his profound knowledge and mastery of the art of engaging in conversation, a crucial element of public relations. 

Nationalism, nationhood, and patriotism are central themes the minister tirelessly promoted in the last six months. These concepts have become integral to his mission at the ministry. Like many Nigerians, Idris believes that the challenges facing the nation partly stem from a lack of appreciation for nationalistic values locally and on the global stage. He finds the gradual erosion of values among Nigerians deeply concerning.

At many forums, Idris lamented the prevalence of immorality, corruption, kidnapping, terrorism, and other social ills that have contributed to the decay of society, advocating a return to a time when social and religious values were held in high regard. 

To underscore his commitment to the reorientation project, the minister established a 10-person committee last December with a two-week deadline to finalise the National Values Charter, aimed at establishing a social contract between the country and its citizens. This is one campaign dear to his heart that stands on the threshold of revolutionising the thinking of Nigerians and reforming the nation.

The minister reiterated these feelings during a meeting with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, late last year and restated them when members of the Sardauna Memorial Foundation, led by former Kano state governor Ibrahim Shekarau, visited the ministry. 

“We have seen a gradual erosion of our values – those values need to be reclaimed and we have to recover our senses as Nigerians,” the minister stressed, adding “We need to go back to the drawing board and see where we got it wrong with the aim of getting it right this time around.” He’s confident that the Tinubu administration will not lose focus until the ambitious drive to remodel the fabric of the nation and lay the foundation for a greater Nigeria is achieved.

Idris assumes a leadership role in championing this critical aspect of our nation’s trajectory from the driver’s seat, and with his team, we will diligently progress towards a new Nigeria where social, economic, political, cultural, and religious values are embraced, adhered to, and upheld to the fullest extent.

James Swam, a former press secretary to the deputy governor of Kaduna state, is the author of ‘How to be an Effective Spokesperson.’