Nigeria2015 – APC’s choice of American PR firm illegal, Nigerian PR Association says

The APC hired an American firm to improve its chances in 2015.

The Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, PRCAN, has condemned the engagement of an American public relations firm, AKPD, by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to manage its political communication for the 2015 general elections. 

The PRCAN expressed concern for the future of Nigeria, saying the declaration by the APC’s interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Muhammad, in a press statement reported in The Nation of Tuesday, February 18, 2014, was illogical with the party’s avowed political philosophy.

“It is dumbfounding that a political party that positions itself as progressive and actuated by a desire to reposition Nigeria would by its actions show its preference for foreign professionals against tried and tested practitioners at home, thereby evincing a contrarian desire to promote local unemployment,” said the President of the association, Chido Nwakanma, in a statement.

Noting that political communication was country-specific, and follows from the dictum that all politics was local, Mr. Nwakanma said since local issues would determine the direction of the next elections, only certified local professionals who live and do business in the country were in the best position to understand them. 

The statement, which was also signed by the Publicity Secretary, Israel Opayemi, pointed out that the Nigerian law was very clear on the issue that only persons certified by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR can practise public relations in Nigeria, while only persons certified by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON can offer advertising counsel. 

PRCAN also drew attention to the Bye Law No. 3 of NIPR Act 16 of 1990, which further requires certification for consulting firms who wish to offer public relations service in the country.

Beyond law, PRCAN said that Nigerian communication agencies have successfully managed political communication in elections over the years, wondering why the APC would throw away a rich history of political communication strategy and messaging in Nigeria for a foreign one.

“PRCAN is astounded that APC would ignore the clear provisions of Nigerian Law on professional practice by its conduct on the matter. What message is this political party sending to Nigerians? Is this foreign-is-better mentality what it would bring to governance? Would it also hire American lawyers or Queen’s Counsels from England to handle pre- or post-election petitions?” the association said.

The PRCAN said it has sent notice to the APC and other political parties of its resolve to ensure a stop to the practice of bringing in foreign communication firms to handle briefs that Nigerian agencies were qualified to manage.
It expressed disappointment that a public relations practitioner as Lai Mohammed, who ran a PR agency, would be the one promoting the perfidy against Nigerian professionals in communication.

The PRCAN called on APC leaders such as Bola Tinubu; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, and his Lagos State counterpart, Raji Fashola, who have displayed respect for Nigerian professionals by engaging its member firms, to call their party’s communication team to order.

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