The annual Leadership Lecture organized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos Chapter, held recently addressed the need for the country to embrace proper planning and strategic communication in the drive for nation building.
Themed: Navigating the Future: Communication and Nation Building, the lecture held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Lagos, on Thursday September 22, 2022, was part of activities marking the 33rd annual Lagos PR Week.
It has become part of the corporate culture of the Institute in setting agenda, building relationships with key stakeholders, and promoting professionalism and excellence among practitioners.
In her welcome speech, Mrs Comfort Obot Nwankwo, Chairman, NIPR Lagos Chapter, noted that Lagos State is the leading and most populated branch of the Institute accounting nearly about 60% of public relations practitioners in the country.
She called on members to be more actively involved in the affairs of the nation. According to her, “As the saying goes, he who fails to plan plans to fail. We are here because the future is the function of our actions today. The need for proper stakeholders’ engagement cannot be overlooked. As public relations professionals, we are expected to re-awaken that national function required for a greater future,” she said.
The Keynote speaker at the event, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, speaker of Lagos State House Assembly, underlined the significance of proper communication and Public Relations to government of Lagos as the center of excellence. He urged PR practitioners to manage communication professionally as the state needs insight from them to curb mismanagement of information.
He was represented by Eng. David Setonji, Chairman, House Committee on Information, Security and Strategy, Lagos State.
In his good will message, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, the President of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), said: “There couldn’t have been a better time for us to discuss a timeous topic like this. The future is not some esoteric space that is far away; the future is here. The future is already being determined around some tables nationwide, and my challenge is: Do we as PR practitioners have a seat at the table?
“The navigational map is already flying somewhere in Abuja, and at different state capitals across the country. Where are the public relations people?” he asked.
“Is either we are at the table bringing that together or we’ll just end up as table shakers. We are just busy criticizing everything on social media, ranting daily about how that future we envision in 2023 and our expectations have not been met.
“We are the PR practitioners helping to shape the future of Lagos as far as legislation of good governance and welfare of people is concerned; other professionals have found their ways to the table. Let’s not think the future we are talking about is far, the future is here,” he said.
Sina Thorpe, Council member (NIPR) and immediate past Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Information and Strategy, advised PR practitioners to stop agonising and start organising.
“Without organising ourselves, nobody will take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.
“There are issues that bother on state policy that the practitioners need to make inputs. What has been the position paper from the NIPR body when it comes to issues related to governance? It can only be rocket science if we don’t position ourselves properly,” he said.
Contributors during the panelists session agreed on the need for unity among the people to able to navigate the future, in line with the country’s motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
They advocated for an enabling environment; the need to be interested in the policies of those that are coming into power, the need for the right people in power; that the youths need be involved and the need for national values reorientation.