Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has remarked that prioritising public opinion is a veritable means of bridging gap between government and the governed.
Just as he claimed that the only way to have a sustainable democracy is to take public opinion management seriously, which he stated is often shaped by media and interest groups that play a significant role in influencing government policies and actions.
The governor made this known in his address at the 2023 colloquium of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Ogun State chapter, with the theme, ‘’Pluralism and Public Opinion Management: Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria’’.
Represented by his deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Abiodun pointed out that through public opinion, one could foster trust and build a sustainable democratic society.
The governor noted that his government had tremendously succeeded in institutionalising high self-esteem among the people by creating an enabling environment for individuals to grow without hindrance.
“As the Governor of Ogun State, I am committed to creating an inclusive and participatory governance system and we have initiated various programmes and policies aimed at encouraging the citizens to participate in the decision-making process and ensuring that their voices are heard,” he said.
The state helmsman hinted that some of his administration’s interventions include multiple housing estates for low and high-income earners, a fully-equipped state hospital, a thriving tech industry, and an increase in foreign direct investment in line with his ISEYA mantra.
While commending Ogun NIPR for their efforts in promoting the profession, he urged the government, media, civil society groups, and the public to work together in promoting pluralism and public opinion management, towards harnessing the prospects for sustainable democracy in Nigeria and overcoming the challenges associated with it.
On his part, the President and Chairman in Council, NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, represented by a member of the Council, Mrs. Nkechi Balogun commended the leadership of the NIPR, Ogun State chapter for its unrelenting efforts in promoting the profession.
In his contribution, the guest speaker, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Prof. Adelaja Odukoya said that Nigeria is a conglomerate of different ethnicity, but it is drifting apart while its leaders are too alienated from their people, noting that pluralism was not a problem for democracy.
Earlier in her address, the Chairman, NIPR, Ogun State chapter, Mrs. Oluwaseun Boye urged PR practitioners to be steadfast in upholding the truth, promoting accuracy, and dispelling rumours, to safeguard the integrity of the country’s democratic system.