The President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Dr. Rotimi Oladele, has called on governments at all levels to engage certified public relations practitioners for effective communication, relationship and reputation management.
Speaking at the 4th Lagos NIPR stakeholders’ conference, held at the Agip Hall, Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, recently, with the theme:
“Media, Communication and the Challenge of Quality Education for National Development,” he added that such move will help eschew violence, which may arise if the menace of hate speech syndrome is not curbed drastically.
According to him, “all public relations practitioners need to use their professional skills to wage war against hate speech, the monster which has recently emerged as a plague against civility, peace and unity of Nigeria.”
The president, who was represented at the conference by Brig. General John Agim, Commandant, Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, while commending the Lagos Chapter of NIPR for sustaining the stakeholders’ conference,
also noted that “the conference series, foster interaction among stakeholders in the corporate existence of our great nation, Nigeria”, adding that, “the unity of our great nation is not negotiable, as what binds us together is far greater and stronger than what divides us.”
Also speaking, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Founder and Chairman, Silver bird Group, said; “In these days of fake news, hate speech and alternative facts, the question may be asked what is the definition of the media and how can it be used to educate the public and mobilize them to take up their part in making Nigeria great.
According to him, “The media is a vehicle for projecting information about things that have happened, are happening or will happen and the job of the media is to present the facts and allow the audience process those facts and reach their own conclusions.”
He said, “The problem the world is now facing with the media however, and which has given birth to the rise of fake news and alternative facts is that, maybe because of the encroachment of non professionals into what used to be a very professional industry,
the media is now stepping way out of its territory and is no longer presenting just the facts, but is now also projecting its own opinions and attempting to help or manipulate the audience into drawing the conclusions it wants them to draw.”
Citing examples, he disclosed that that when something negative happened in Nigeria, CNN, BBC, RFI and SABC will cover it, but when something positive happens, “they will either not cover it or they will cover it in such a way that you would hardly notice.
What does this tell us? It means that we cannot depend on others to tell our own story.”
Continuing, he maintained that, there is a famous African proverb that says; ‘Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’
“Nigeria is the lion. Africa is the lion. The Western world is the hunter. We must develop our own media capacity so that we can project positive things about Nigeria to the outside world instead of having the outside world projecting negative things about us.” He noted.
He pointed out that; “some of you may have heard that Nigerians have a reputation for crime abroad. Do you know that we do not commit anywhere near the cyber crimes committed by the Russians?
But the Russians have RT, a global media firm that tells their side of the story and Nigeria does not, hence we are the fall guys of the world.”
He said,”They do not tell you that Nigerians are the most educated people in America. Not one of the most educated people, but the most educated bar none.
Some of you are looking surprised because you have never heard this before. You now see why we need our own media? “
Ealeiar in his welcome remark, Olusegun Mcmedal, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations said;
“There is an obvious depreciation in the quality of education obtainable in Nigeria today when compared to the past.
Currently, the Nigerian education system is renowned for its outdated syllabus, inadequate funding, epileptic power supply, poorly motivated staff and substandard facilities.
That no Nigerian University was ranked in the top 500 and only one in the top 1,000 in the 2017 Times Higher Education World Ranking of University facilities is indeed very worrisome to say the least. The best Nigerian University was ranked just 601.st”
Mcmedal, who expresses gratitude to stakeholders at the conference disclosed that; “this is the background of thematic focus of this edition entitled:
Media, Communication and the Challenge of Quality Education for National Development, is premised on the believe that the future of a state/nation is a function of the quality of education obtainable in the society.”
“In conclusion, we should never feel be satisfied until all Nigerians have access to quality education for Nigeria to prosper, achieve and excel.
And we have lined up experts to discuss the way forward. I hope that the message from this congress with resonate with political leadership.” He added.