After Ministry of Finance misstep on DMO PR brief, her information counterpart, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has given assurances that the Federal Government and its agencies would work with Nigerian public relations consultants in the execution of its communication projects.
Receiving a delegation of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) on an advocacy visit to his office in Abuja, the Minister said that he understood the importance of Public Relations consultancy having been a Public Relations professional all his professional life.
Mohammed said, “As for your request that government should involve your members in planning and executing PR campaigns, you are preaching to the converted. Discussions are ongoing on the need to patronise Nigerian PR consultants when planning government campaigns. So rest assured on that.”
The Minister added that the Federal Government would not but do the right thing. “The foreign consultants got to where they are today because they were given opportunities. We will ensure that PRCAN agencies are given the first right of refusal on any campaign by Ministries, Department and Agencies.”
The Minister also appealed to PRCAN member-firms’ sense of volunteerism at the moment as there were still some process hurdles to be crossed, just as he expressed the hope for a robust long-term relationship with PRCAN. He pleaded with the association to ensure the relationship between both parties did not end with the visit.
Earlier, PRCAN President, John Ehiguese had expressed the readiness of its member-firms to assist the Federal Government of Nigeria with its numerous policy communication programmes and campaigns.
Ehiguese explained that the primary objective of the visit was to seek how the PRCAN member-firms could contribute their quota to the success of the numerous policy communications programmes and campaigns of the Federal Government.
His words: “There is no doubt that our country is beset by several challenges. But I’m sure you will agree with me that a large chunk of these challenges can be effectively tackled if there is proper and effective communication. That reality alone underscores the importance and centrality of your cabinet portfolio as Honourable Minister of Information and Culture.”
The PRCAN President assured the Minister that the association has opted to offer its hands of solidarity and support to the Minister in helping to craft and execute communications campaign to support government policies and programmes.
He requested that that henceforth Nigerian PR firms should be seriously considered for communication assignments and be given the opportunity to make inputs at the conception stage of such programmes.
Ehiguese explained that, “asides the patriotic imperative, we do indeed possess the relevant competences, both as individual consultancy firms and as a collective, to provide strategic communication support for government’s programmes. Many of our members are already working for global Fortune 500 companies and successfully executing their briefs. In addition some of our members belong to global PR networks, and therefore have direct access to the competences, resources and tools domiciled in such networks.”
He further assured the Minister that it was the patriotic duty of PRCAN member-firms to make those resources available for the use and benefit of Nigeria, being our country. He however assured the Minister that even where the competences appear absent or in short supply, PRCAN member-firms would be willing to outsource or go into collaboration with external third parties inorder to deliver, saying, “at the end of the day, what is important is that Nigerian PR professionals should begin to take the lead in executing Nigerian projects.”
“That is how we will grow, garner the necessary skills and experience, as well as create jobs for our people. I should like to mention that this is consistent with widely applauded, ‘Buy Nigeria’ posture of the current government,” Ehiguese added.
The PRCAN President also appealed to the Minister to help convey the promise to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government so they could tap into the reservoir of professional help that are available in Nigeria to support their communication programmes.
Also in the PRCAN delegation were the Vice President, Muyiwa Akintunde;n Secretary General, Adetola Odusote; Publicity Secretary, Israel Jaiye Opayemi; and the immediate past President, Chido Nwakanma.
PRCAN’s primary objective is to promote professional reputation management in Nigeria across both the public and private sectors. It is also committed to maintaining professional standards and discipline among members and providing facilities and professional capacity for the public and private sectors to meet their PR consultancy needs.
PRCAN is the consulting arm of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations(NIPR) established by the NIPR bye-law No. 3 of 1993. Membership isexclusively restricted to consulting firms whose key executives are members of NIPR and registered to practice public relations in Nigeria.