Public Relations, a force in selling Nigeria —- Information minister

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By Abiodun Lawal

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, on Tuesday in Abeokuta said public relations plays a pivotal role in enhancing the image of Nigeria for economic prosperity.

Idris stated this in his address at the opening ceremony of the Nigeria Public Relations Week.

The four-day programme has the theme “Leveraging Public Relations As A Critical Asset For Nigeria’s Economic and Reputation Renaissance”.

The Minister, who was represented by the Director-General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Onilu, noted that through strategic public relations the country could attract investments.

“Through public relations, our nation can also foster innovation and enhance its standing on the global stage,” he said.

Idris pointed out that recent efforts being made by the Bola Tinubu-led administration to revive the country’s economy and its proactive approach to addressing challenges were promising signposts of progress.

He, however, noted that to realise the country’s vision of a prosperous and respectable nation, the citizens must recognise the indispensable value of strategic public relations.

“In a world where information travels at the speed of light, the ability to effectively communicate, engage and influence has never been more critical and tasking.

“At the heart of our economic and reputation renaissance lies the power of storytelling.

“We must craft narratives that celebrate our achievements, address our shortcomings transparently and articulate a compelling vision for the future,” the minister said.

In his address, the governor of Ogun, Dapo Abiodun, noted that good public relations remains a critical asset for any responsible government in its quest for building sustainable growth.

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Abiodun explained that through the implementation of robust public relations initiatives, the country’s vision and policies could be better appreciated by the governed.

“It will also engender international and bilateral co-operation and understanding,” he said.

Abiodun urged public relations practitioners to be patriotic and start projecting Nigeria’s image to the world  to attract further investment and build the real sector of the economy

The National President of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr Ike Neliaku, in his remarks, described reputation as the “core asset” of any any individual, organisation or nation.

“When your reputation is in red, you might as well say that your bank account is in red, and this is the message of public relations.

“We are reputation builders, we are perception managers and this is why it is important for leaders to understand that without giving public relations a place they will not be able to take advantage of the best that is available to them.

“Public relations is the key to all things.

“It is only public relations that ensures that your yesterday is celebrated, your today is appreciated and your tomorrow is guaranteed,” Neliaku said.

Delivering the keynote address, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, stated that enhancing Nigeria’s global reputation and revitalising its economy remains a collective responsibility.

He spoke on the topic, “Strengthening Trust and Communication: The Roles of Public Relations in Nigeria Economic Development”.

Cardoso, who was represented by Mr Uchena Ogbona, Head Corporate Co-operation, acknowledged the transformative power of effective communication and strategic engagement with stakeholders.

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“Public relations shapes perceptions and writes Nigeria’s stories in a way that builds trust, attracts investment and foster international partnerships.

“The CBN will provide guidance, enhance transparency and maintain effective communication with the public and build trust among our stakeholders,” he said.

The Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Malam Ali Muhammad Ali, in his goodwill message, expressed fraternal greetings and the agency’s solidarity with the NIPR.

Ali noted that NAN was the first agency to do public relations for individuals, states and the country.

He assured that the agency had continued to advance in its foremost duty of “reporting the country to Africa and Africa to the rest of the world authentically and without prejudice and malice”.

Ali noted that NAN, which is Africa’s biggest news content provider, shared many things in common and in kindred spirit with the NIPR.

Highlights of the occasion included the investiture of Abiodun as a patron of the institute and the unveiling of the Young Public Relations Associates, who are those of age 35 and below.

The event was attended by traditional rulers, government functionaries, captains of industry and various heads of media organisations, among others.(NAN)

Edited by Olawale Jokotoye and Olawale Alabi

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