From Fred Itua, Abuja

The Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, has earned an executive certificate in Public Leadership, having completed three executive programmes in Leadership and Public Policy.

He bagged the certificate from the prestigious Harvard University, Boston, United States of America.

In a ceremony which took place at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government last Thursday, Thursday, Prof. Sulaiman now joins other alumni of the university who have garnered extensive leadership and public service experience by participating in various programmes targeted at enhancing leadership skills as well as maximizing efficiency in public policy development and delivery.

An elated Sulaiman said the experience, knowledge and contacts he garnered during the programme, will help him in developing key democratic policies that will help in the advancement of Nigeria’s democracy.

Sulaiman who served as the Minister of National Planning during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, also revealed how some of the programmes he has introduced in NILDS since his appointment in 2019.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, at a recent event in Abuja, hailed Prof. Sulaiman for introducing many laudable programmes as the Director-General of NILDS.

Lawam had noted: “”it is remarkable that a relatively young programme such as the NILDS-UNIBEN postgraduate programme has been able to host this event for six consecutive years, a feat that is increasingly becoming difficult for many institutions of related mandates, including older universities, to uphold.

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“This is no mean feat by any standard. We must commend the steadfastness of the managers of the system, most especially the management team, for their selfless commitment to the actualisation of the vision and mission of the Institute in all ramifications.

“Today’s convocation is a testament that NILDS is on the right track vis-a-vis its mandate to build and strengthen the capacities of democratic institutions and actors in our country.

“As such, occasions like this call not only for celebration, it also demands a critical analysis of the journey to underscore achievements, opportunities and limitations.

“It is gratifying that the NILDS-UNIBEN programme has been able to deliver on its core mandates in the last six academic sessions. This is exemplified by the number of graduands and their class of degrees across the various academic/professional programmes.”

Speaking recently in Abuja on the preparedness of the country ahead of next month’s general elections, Prof. Sulaiman, said: “It is self-evident that the build-up to the 2023 general elections raises genuine concerns about the pattern of public communication among political actors, their publicity agents and other related stakeholders, especially those actively engaged in media and communication.

“Experts have noted that communication by actors so far has been reactive and not based on a clear enunciation of party manifestoes, candidates’ programmes and strategies for actualising such programmes. This high-level forum addresses some of these critical issues to promote issue-oriented political communication.

“This has become more relevant due to the rise in misinformation and fake news, propagation and exploitation of ethno-religious sentiments, upsurge in hate messages and the use of negative tactics that continue to escalate tension and potentially fuel political crises.

“Technological advancements and the proliferation of electronic media platforms have revolutionised political communication and exposed our democracy to dangerous new threats. New internet technologies challenge established institutions and principles of regulation of election communications.”