By Emmanuel Afonne
The Managing Director (MD), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ali Muhammed Ali has urged the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to lead the campaign for a new Nigeria.
This, he said would be done by changing the narratives, using the PR strategies.
Ali gave the charge on Monday when he hosted the president and members of council, NIPR, in his office in Abuja.
He said it was imperative to change the narratives about the country, especially now that the Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government had started creating an enabling environment for investors.
Ali said that NAN would partner NIPR in changing the narratives for the country.
“It is important that we begin to change the narratives about Nigeria, and incidentally in NAN, we don’t see the cup as half empty, we see it as half full. NAN is part of NIPR,” he said.
The NAN managing director said that Public Relations practitioners were like talisman, and as such, must take up the responsibility to manage reputation.
He wondered why spokespersons or information officers should take the back seat when information management and PR were supposed to be management functions.
“Most of the great PR people who spoke for government across the globe especially in America and Europe, are well grounded and that is why I am honoured to be part of NIPR even as a journalist.
“How you present yourself is how other people will see you and unless we begin to change our disposition, we will never get it right.
“Elsewhere, PR people or the theatre change a lot of things but in Nigeria, theatre is all about witchcraft, voodoo and vengeance and we must begin to change some of these things.
“And spokespersons are better placed to do that. By picking the right PR or information officer with the right backgrounding and knowledge, we can begin to change this narrative,” Ali added.
He commended the NIPR for being resilience over the years and also ensuring that quacks were not allowed to manage information for the government, noting that time had come to reboot Nigeria.
He also assured the institute of NAN cooperation and partnership in all its activities.
“You have a willing partner in NAN. Whatever NIPR will do, we are giving our support 100 per cent in terms of publicity.”
Earlier, Dr Ike Neliaku, President, NIPR, listed the institute’s programmes for the year and called for the support of NAN.
Neliaku said they were at NAN headquarters to partner with the agency and also to physically congratulate the MD on his appointment as head of the foremost news agency in Africa.
He said that NAN had continued to carry out its PR role for the government and the country, while
urging it not to relent, for the peace and security of the nation.
“We have designed a number of programmes we want to run and we want to anchor and identify with our family which NAN is part of, within the information sector.
“NIPR attained 60 years in 2023 and we are celebrating our diamond jubilee in June. It will be celebrated from June 1 to June 30.
“We also have the National Spokespersons Summit, to reinvent the narrative that drives the society.
“We discovered that we all speak from our different perspectives rather than from the perspective of the Federal republic of Nigeria; there must be a definite message for the country.
“The challenge of leadership and failure to market our country are the major challenges we have in Nigeria.
“We always talk down on our country and we want to get together, all spokespersons in a way that they will adopt non violent ways of communication to promote the nation through the instrumentality of development communications,” Neliaku said.
He said that other programmes like ‘Rebirth Nigeria Initiative’ and lecture series had been designed as means of unifying the country.
Neliaku said the proposed Rebirth Nigeria Initiative planned in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation was aimed at reinventing the beauty, resourcefulness and traditional heritage of Nigeria.
The NIPR president said the initiative would be anchored on four pillars which are, citizen education, values reorientation, made in Nigeria goods and the pillar of service excellence. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma