My vision for public relations practice in Nigeria, by Abdullahi
Mohammed Ahmed Abdullahi, an accomplished Public Relations Manager, is the immediate past Commissioner of Information in Bauchi State. Abdullahi, who has the record of being the longest serving Director of Press and Public Relations in the history of Nigeria, has served as the image maker of seven governors in Bauchi State, spanning a period of 16 uninterrupted years. A prolific and articulate public speaker, Mohammed fondly referred to, as ‘The General’ by his peers, is one of those gunning for the presidency of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). Recently, he spoke to the media about his mission and vision for NIPR. MICHAEL ORIE, who was there, writes.
On December 2, the NIPR will hold its yearly conference and elect new members of council to run its affairs. What is the situation of the Institute?
We cannot explain the situation without putting the institute in historical perspective. The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) was established in 1963 as Public Relations Association of Nigeria by people of like minds such as Dr Sam Epele with the sole aim of ensuring the proper development of the public relations profession in Nigeria. However, due to the interest shown by people across the country, it was renamed, the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations to accommodate national aspirations. To effectively serve the purpose of an institute, in terms of coordination and service delivery, a national secretariat was established in 1989. The most outstanding landmark attained by the Institute in its development stride was the charter status granted the Institute in 1990 by the administration of General Ibrahim Babangida via Decree 16 of 1990 which is now an Act of the National Assembly. The major objective of the Institute is the regulation of public relations practice in the country through a Council made up of 22 members headed by a President with chapters in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
What is the state of your relationship with the Ministry of Information?
Excellent. We have enjoyed a good working relationship since the time of Mr. John Odey and with the arrival of Professor Dora Akunyili and her team, we thank God, because she is a practical person and broad-minded. Although coming from a different profession, she is a fast learner, who is ready to partner with the professionals to promote her responsibility. We have, today, due to her cooperation a strong representation in the Vision 20-20-20 National Steering Committee, the 22-member National Re-branding Campaign Committee and the National Community Radio Communication Policy Committee. We are involved in all the activities of the Ministry. She is at the forefront in liaising with the President on his proposed induction as the Grand Patron of the Institute. In fact her doors are always open to us. We cannot pray for a better collaborator. What you hear as whispers differ from the actual happenings. We are working. I am sure the Institute will be the better for it.
You have signified your intention to seek for the presidency of the institute. What is your vision for the institute?
My vision is to provide positive leadership and best practices for the Institute. I can only say that throughout my 26 years working career, I have been challenged with responsibilities requiring total loyalty and devotion, discipline and performance. I have done my best in all these circumstances. I give my whole self to whatever I am doing and I am result oriented.
What do you want to offer the Institute as the President?
I want to add value to the Institute and give it credibility. I want our members to be proud of the Institute. I want to make the Institute relevant to the Nigerian project. I want to honestly professionalize the NIPR.I want to give it a compelling new mage to make it competitive and to shape a new perception of reliability and to lift the morale and spirit of the members.
How do you intend to achieve these?
Through adherence to consistency in policy formulation and actual implementation. And by involving all stakeholders in the process of building a virile and responsive Institute. I believe that as a team we can ensure the sustenance of a good reputation for the Institute. I will give the Institute a comprehensive compendium of all chartered members, the enabling Act, bye laws; Professional Standards Guide (PSG), Professional Code of Conduct and Ethics and Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD).
What other programmes do you have?
We want to change the existing perception about the institute by some elements, through total quality control of all our training programmes. This will help us review our strategies and also identify where changes are needed for good management and accountability. In more specific terms, top on the agenda is the issue of the Secretariat, Public Relations Academy, Liaison Office in Abuja, strengthening of the capacity of our six study centres and harmonisation of workshops and conferences for greater efficiency and as a further boost to the finances of the institute. We also want to strengthen the relationship between the council and chapters as well as the institute and the government and other corporate organisations. This will bring a further boost to our membership, increase operational efficiency and engender a sense of belonging between and amongst the different levels. We want to encourage more research and push collaborative efforts with International Public Relations bodies to globalize our operations. Uppermost in our minds will be to continue the effort to restore government subvention, attract more resources to enable us make more impact. This will help us deploy new techniques and strategies to manage our resources for maximum output.
How do you want to run NIPR?
It will be run as an all-inclusive not exclusive organization for the good of all. We will remain focused and structure our programmes to the demands of today’s realities. We shall run our council on timeliness, proactive actions, strategies and digitalise the operational capacities of the secretariat to respond to modern day challenges. We understand the challenges before us, and the limitations we have. We also understand our opportunities and strength to surmount these problems.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper