Mr Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and is therefore not qualified for the job, credible sources have confirmed to PRNigeria.
Newly elected governing council members of the Institute told PRNigeria that the law establishing the NIPR makes it a criminal offence for any individual to practise public relations without the necessary certification and licensing.
They said that Ngelale, without the basic knowledge and requisite training on PR, is ordinarily not ‘fit’ to hold the exalted position he now occupies in the Tinubu Presidency.
“We have checked our records and membership register and we could not find Ajuri Ngelale in the list. One can be a good writer, broadcaster or journalist but there are set parameters of knowledge a communicator needs to acquire including qualification before he/she can practice Public Relations in Nigeria.
“The law establishing NIPR provides laid-down rules about appointing spokespersons which also makes it a criminal offence for anybody to practice Public Relations by whatever name without certification by the Institute. In fact the NIPR act stipulates punishment for illegal practice including imprisonment, fine, or both,” said one of the governing council members who spoke to PRNigeria in confidence.
This discovery is coming after the presidential spokesperson goofed in his recent official statements. Ngelale recently committed major blunders when he claimed that President Tinubu was the first African leader to ring the bell at the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ) during a visit to the United States. The presidential spokesperson had also made a similar mistake when he claimed that the United Arab Emirates had lifted the visa ban on Nigerians after a bilateral meeting between President Tinubu and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Presidency later acknowledged it goofed in both instances as UAE did not issue any statement on the Visa ban while former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, and other notable leaders had rang the NASDAQ bell before President Tinubu.
PRNigeria gathered that the NIPR Governing Council is already compiling a list of uncertified spokespersons, appointed recently to public office contrary to the regulations.
The newly elected council under the leadership of Dr. Ike Neliaku as the President has vowed to intensify its advocacy that only professionally trained and practicing PR experts should be saddled with the job of spokespersons, especially for government and public officials.
According to it, while the journalism pedigree, antecedents and credentials of Mr. President’s spokesman is not in doubt, he is legally not qualified for the current job he is doing at the Presidency.
President Tinubu had in July appointed Ngelale, an ex-aide to former President Muhammadu Buhari, as his SA on Media and Publicity. Ngelale had served as Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to Buhari.
He was the Assistant Principal Spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) for the 2023 elections. Ngelale, again was a staff member of DAAR Communication, owners of AIT and Ray Power, and equally worked at Channels Television.