The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) will organise a National Spokespersons Summit in its quest to reinvent the position and discourage violent communication.
The President of the institute, Dr Ike Neliaku, said this at a meeting organised for the media and council members in Abuja.
Neliaku said the summit slated for March 25 to March 28 at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja, would change the narrative on nation building and development.
“If you don’t change your narrative, you cannot change the society; societies are built on narratives and that’s why those that have bad mouth culture and violent communicators will create problem from what they say.
“We want to bring spokespersons in Nigeria to sit together, including those who have been successful across the world, to come and share thoughts with us on how to reinvent our spokespersons to serve the nation and their profession.
“Then later in April, we will have our annual Public Relations (PR) conference for a whole week in Abeokuta, Ogun State, to look at the importance of PR in an economy of nationhood.
“We are bringing together all the practitioners within and those from outside Nigeria to look at how to rebuild our economy,” Neliaku said.
According to him, efforts have been geared towards professionalism in Public Relations following plans to establish NIPR University in Abuja.
“We discovered that people graduate as Mass Communication students, and desire to be PR practitioners but there is no school where they can go for professionalism.
“The kind of thing you have in legal practice after you have finished your degree programme, you go to the Nigerian Law School to professionalise and become a lawyer.
“So, we are establishing that school. The education advisory board, chaired by the Vice President of NIPR, is already concluding on that, so we are going to unveil it.
“The essence is that PR is not just a profession for civil servants, it is a profession that empowers, and it is important to the growth of any economy whether personal economy, family economy, organisation economy or national economy.
“So, we are now designing it to bring practitioners in the field, who will be the faculty, to come and teach others based on the successes they had recorded in PR practice, so, it is about having the practical knowledge,” Neliaku added.
He added that the institute would establish a PR Forum for young Nigerians to be fully integrated into the PR profession through the mentorship of college of fellows.
“There are several young people who are doing great things.
“We now want to create a forum for them so that they can be fully integrated and putting together a college of fellows that will become the mentorship platform for these young people.
“One of the things we said when we were elected was that we will build PR for development because it has an essential role to play in the development of a nation.
“As a result of that, we are preparing this from that perspective to ensure that at the end of the day, that role is effectively played,” he added.
The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Baba Jibrin Ndace, who graced the occasion, commended the leadership of NIPR for the efforts at sanitising the institute.
Ndace noted that PR should not be an all comers profession.
“If you’re not a member of NIPR, then you don’t have business doing PR job. We must not leave the space for those who does not mean well for the country to spread fake news and disinformation about our country.
“We need to reposition the institute and we shouldn’t relate to people as if we are helpless.
“If you want people to relate with you even as an individual, you need to position yourself; if you want people to respect NIPR, then, it should be repositioned.
“I will like to advice our colleagues (journalists) that we shouldn’t wait until we are close to retirement on this career before we join NIPR.
“Every journalist should be a member of NIPR from day one because it positions you as a person and creates opportunity for you as an individual.
“And every chapter of NIPR should create a business opportunity for members in whatever we do,” Ndace said. (NAN)