By Emmanuel Afonne
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the return of Nigeria to the path of peace and unity as he prepares to be sworn-in for a second term in office.
The NIPR President, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, who made the appeal on Monday in Abuja at a news conference on national cohesion, said the call had become necessary following acrimonious 2019 general election which pitched Nigerians against each other.
Sirajo noted that the concluded elections had driven the country to a point where sustained Public Relations interventions were needed to salvage the situation.
He pointed out that the institute’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to hold in Abuja this week was part of plans to use good Public Relations (PR) managers to handle information on challenges confronting the nation.
“The NIPR as the sole body entrusted with the responsibility of managing reputation, promoting friendship, deepening relationship, and regulating activities of Public Relations in the country is poised to lend its professional competence on efforts towards restoring the trajectory of peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
“In the light of the need for urgent solutions to issues confronting our national integration, the NIPR is convening a National Conference on the theme “Optimising Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion”.
“The conference is part of activities of the Institute’s 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM); designed to promote national unity.
“We will look at the factors responsible for the problem, address the concept of cohesion in relation to national development and offer practical solutions.
“It is important that we as a people should begin to take issues of national unity very seriously given the key position it occupies in meeting the expectations of citizens and promoting national development.
“No entity grows or develops in disunity. Let’s go back to our unique culture of love for one another, strong bond of brotherhood that know no tribe or religion, habit of hospitality that does not emphasize state of origin, and let’s embrace tolerance as an option for co-existence,” Sirajo said.
According to Sirajo, the institute has selected Bishop Matthew Kukah as keynote speaker, while the Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, will be the Special Guest of Honour.
He maintained that the choice of these personalities was to show the premium NIPR placed on a workable Nigerian system, and the need for relationship building.
“For us, relationship building is one of our core mandates as an institute and that is why we have decided to lead the discourse on National Cohesion”.
“It is sad to note that recent elections across the country generated a lot of hatred and disunity among Nigerians, along the lines of ethnicity, tribe, religion and other factors that have left the country more divided than before.
“There is need to begin to draw the attention of political actors on the dangers of politics of bitterness and hatred that keep undermining the unity, integrity and corporate existence of Nigeria.
“We have identified the issue of national cohesion as critical element in the development process of our dear country and have resolved to tackle the ugly trend of growing disunity in order to move our nation forward,” Sirajo added.
The president urged the government to as a matter of urgent importance employ the services of professionals in handling reputation issues as the use of quackery in the system was totally unacceptable.
Sirajo further said that the Institute was firming up strategies to properly identify certified members in preparation for total crackdown on quacks.
He added that names of non-professionals in the PR industry would soon be published in the Nigerian media to discourage government and other institution from using quacks.