A fellow and member of council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Malam Yusuf Mohammed recently spoke to Pembi Stephen on the institute and some other issues. Excerpts:
What is your Institute doing in support of the Federal Government’s Rebranding Project?
The Federal Ministry of Information and Communications has embarked on a rebranding project for the nation which is very laudable. Our President, Professor Ike Nwosu who led the NIPR council on a visit to the Honourable Minister recently, acknowledged the importance of the project and asked the ministry to involve the Institute in the project. I believe that if and when the Institute is involved in the execution of the government’s rebranding project, we will respond positively by offering professional advice on how best to go about rebranding the country. Rebranding is not an all-comers job. It requires professional expertise and the Institute has a pool of knowledgeable people who can compete with any professionals globally and many of them are willing to assist the ministry in giving a direction to the rebranding project.
What efforts are you making to elevate the Institute to a chartered status as obtainable in other professional bodies such as ICA, NIM and APCON etc?
Public Relations practice in Nigeria is already chartered. It is chartered in the sense that the Federal Government promulgated Decree 16 of 1990 (now an Act of the National Assembly) and empowered the Institute to regulate PR practice in the country. That is why all PR practitioners in Nigeria today are required to register with the Institute to practise our profession. So, the NIPR is already in the league of the professional associations you listed. I know that APCON is also chartered. But I am not sure if all the other professional associations in the country are chartered.
Where will the NIPR be in the next four years?
By the grace of God, the Almighty, the NIPR will be taken to a new level in the next few years. I am personally and professionally committed to moving the Institute to greater heights that would be unsurpassed by any national PR association in Africa. Already, we are the largest PR association on the African continent, and we will be the most vibrant, professional and recognised in Africa in due course. Our registered members have largely remained committed to the ideals of the Institute. For instance, PR practitioners in banking, telecommunications, oil & Gas, manufacturing sectors and government agencies have continued to excel in their undertakings. The most important element that has been missing lately is sound leadership of the Institute. It is unfortunate that a couple of people with their undiscerning followership have held the Institute to ransom in the last eight years or so which resulted in derailing its progress. That is why I believe that, in order for the NIPR to move forward and serve the collective interest of its committed members, the shackles that have been put around the Insitute must be broken at the next AGM in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State. Otherwise, there must be a rethink.
As an aspirant to the presidency of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), what are your plans to reposition the Institute in conformity with the global standards?
I have already indicated in my campaign literature that when get elected president of our great Institute, I will accomplish the following: I will put life back into the NIPR, eliminate or substantially reduce the present challenges facing the Institute, shine the strengths of what the NIPR professionally stands for, restore our collective pride and ensure that we work together again as a professional body that is committed to the realisation of its objectives. I am also committed to providing a progressive direction for PR practice; increasing the visibility of the NIPR within the three tiers of government and in educational, industrial and business circles in Nigeria. At the moment not much is heard about the Institute for the obvious reason of inadequate leadership. Under my presidency, we shall also enhance the training of our members to sharpen their professional skills to enhance performance in this digital age. This will result in our elevating the status of the Institute’s Public Relations School and staffing it with renowned faculty members.
What will the Institute do under your leadership to open doors to the newly registered practitioners?
Our doors of opportunities will be wide open to the new practitioners. We will deliberately create opportunities for them to get involved in the Institute’s activities so as to expose them to international standards. We shall also connect them to the Public Relations Consultancy (PRCAN) arm of the Institute for a possibility of employing some of them. Internships with consultancies will also be encouraged.