Quacks will no longer manage information in Nigeria — NIPR

Dr. Ike Neliaku, President, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, says the institute will no longer tolerate situations where quacks manage information in both government and private organisations in the country.

The president said this when he briefed newsmen on preparations for the Spokespersons Summit in Abuja on Thursday.

The summit is scheduled to be held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja from March 26 to 27.

Neliaku said the summit became necessary to prepare spokespersons of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as the private sector on the task of rediscovering Nigeria through Public Relations and non violent communication.

According to Neliaku, quacks cannot be handling information anywhere in the country when the NIPR is working hard to ensure proper information management.

He said the theme of the summit: “Change Narratives, Change Society,” clearly showed where the NIPR was going and what it planned to achieve.

He said: “One of the first things to learn in managing a brand is the strength and weakness of that brand.

“If you are a spokesperson of a government office or private organisation, you must know what your principal can do.

“If he or she is not such that can manage crisis, don’t send him to a place where fire is burning, otherwise he will become a victim of the fire.”

Neliaku noted that most of the crisis and challenges the country faced were majorly caused by bad PR managers who were either quacks or lacked citizens engagement skills.

He said: “Citizens engagement is a powerful tool in PR and spokespersons who refuse to speak to the public about issues concerning their organisations are either mischievous persons or their chief executive is challenged by public communication.

“It can also be that the spokespersons lack citizens’ communication or they are quacks.

“So when you have quacks who are parading themselves as spokespersons even when they are not trained, they will give you negative results because they don’t have the knowledge.

“There are those who really understand their principals and the first thing they do is not to expose him or her, they first of all shield them for the purpose of grooming them.”

The NIPR president said enforcement would commence in earnest after the summit in order to rid the PR profession of quacks.

He added: “The enforcement committee has been given the mandate to ensure advocacy and sensitisation from now till the end of the summit, and from April 1, there will be enforcement and we will begin to ‘bite’ and begin to apply the relevant laws in our Act.

“The spokesperson will learn how to use modern techniques to enable them craft effective and attractive messages, create acceptable contents and manage expectations of their principals, organisations and the society.”

The Chairman, Summit Planning Committee, Sule Yau Sule, said the activities of quacks in NIPR contributed in the worsening situation in the country due to violent communications.

Sule said: “This summit will bring experts of none violent communication and experts in communication management to speak to us.

“If participants deplore the skills they are going to acquire, certainly we are going to have different spokespersons.”

Moji Makanjuola, Chairperson, Summit Media Committee, urged journalists to desist from writing things that could set the country on fire.

Maknajuola said: “Journalists are crisis managers and we have to see ourselves in that toga; say the fact, but don’t say it to set the country on fire.

“While reporting the facts, don’t fuel the situation because what works in other climes may not work here.

“Let us strive for a better Nigeria by always balancing our stories.”

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