The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to engage professionals to manage public relations and reputation issues for his government in his second term.
The institute said appointing professionals would end the “unnecessary blunders by the quacks presently engaged as his spokespersons.”
At a press briefing to herald the 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the institute, its President and Chairman of Council, Mukhtar Sirajo, said the government needs to respect and comply with the law that established the NIPR.
Responding to questions, he stressed the need for the government to do away with the “quacks” serving as its public relations managers.
“We urge the government as a matter of urgent importance to employ the services of professionals in handling reputation issues as the current spate of encouraging quackery in the system is totally unacceptable.
“The situation where you see a government appointing spokesmen that know next to nothing, that is very dangerous because you cannot give what you do not have,” Mr Sirajo said.
NIPR believes the failure to engage professionals is part of the problems of the government.
“You see government in a problem that could easily be solved deploying the necessary public relations strategy. But because these people are bereft of ideas and knowledge about public relations, you see them jumping from one blunder to the other trying to correct the original blunder.
“We advise the government to put its house in order especially in terms of public relations and information management,” he said.
“And as the chief marketing officer of the country, that’s the government as a whole, we must be conscious of what we go out of the country and tell the world about ourselves. No nation is perfect.”
According to him, the Nigerian laws do not permit anyone to practise public relations “by any other name without licensing or without being a professional public relations person. And you cannot be a professional without licensing by the NIPR.”
Mr Sirajo lamented that Nigeria which has fought hard to keep other nations together in peace is now fast becoming “a colony of hostility, aggression and a den of terror due to relationship breakdown.”
He said with the current developments of hatred, intolerance and disaffection, Nigeria is tending towards collapse, which he said is why the NIPR called the press conference.
He said the issue has become a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s steady and sustainable progress.
“The current developments in various aspects of our system are signs of imminent danger that threaten our social co-existence as a people and as a nation.
“As a body entrusted with the responsibility of managing reputation, friendship, relationships and regulating activities of public relations in the country, we are poised to lend our professional competence on efforts towards restoring the trajectory of peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.”
He said it was in the light of this that the body was convening a National Conference on the theme: “Optimising Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion.”
The conference is part of activities of the institute’s three-day 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to be the Special guest of honour, while Catholic priest, Mathew Kukah, will present the keynote address at the conference scheduled to hold on Thursday at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.
Mr Sirajo said the conference will feature a panel session that will look at the factors responsible for the problem, address the concept of cohesion in relation to national development and offer practical solutions.
“It is sad to note that recent elections across the country generated a lot of hatred and disunity among Nigerians, along the lines of ethnicity, tribe, religion and other factors that have left the country more divided.
“There is need to begin to draw the attention of political actors on the dangers of politics of bitterness and hatred that keeps undermining the unity, integrity and corporate existence of Nigeria,” said the NIPR president.