L-R: HOD Mass Communication Dr Solomon Abiodun Oyeleye, Chido Nwakanma, Dr Marie Obasi and former HOD Dr Kayode Okunade

As Nigerian universities seek to unbundle the mass communication curriculum in compliance with the National Universities Commission, communication expert Chido Nwakanma urged students to embrace public relations on Thursday, 11 May 2023, for sustainable and exciting careers.

Mr Nwakanma said that public relations, with its many sub-divisions, would offer a rich and variegated career for any student who chooses it.

A former president of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, Nwakanma, spoke on “The scope of public relations in the modern world” at the Career Day of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos.

He told the students that public relations is a nimble modern management discipline whose value proposition grows daily with the increasing proliferation of platforms, audiences and the need by organisations and individuals to communicate effectively.

Nwakanma stated: “Contrary to misconceptions, the Public Relations discipline offers more than media relations management. Public Relations has a broad scope covering 15 to 30 specialisms. The range of services depends on who is doing the reckoning and what counts in that effort. A survey showed that member agencies of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria offered services in at least 21 areas in 2014, which has since grown.”

The many specialisms of public relations, Nwakanma stated, include advocacy, behaviour change communication, brand building, consumer relations, corporate communication and crisis and risk communication. Public relations also offers government relations, issues management, internal relations and employee engagement, lobbying, research, measurement and evaluation and political communication.

Other services in the rich bouquet of public relations include reputation management, brand publishing or publications and editorial services, investor relations and financial PR, content development, event management, and trade promotion.
Nwakanma said public relations had become one of the most valued management disciplines, enabling firms to manage the complexity of media, messages, and audiences in the modern world.
The National Universities Commission unbundled mass communication into seven distinct disciplines as part of the Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standards.
The areas are advertising, broadcasting, development communication, film and multimedia, information and media studies, journalism and media studies, mass communication, public relations, and strategic communication. Most institutions are preparing to implement it though the take-off date is September 2021.

The Chief Executive of Brandhaus Communications Limited stated, “Public relations is one of the most effective IMC disciplines with the skill set and capacity to manage the move from one-to-many to one-to-one messaging with the numerous platforms and apps of today. It builds on the foundation of audience-specific messaging and versatility that public relations always canvassed.”
Nwakanma said there are more opportunities ahead as public relations professionals diversify further. Areas include Sports PR, Entertainment PR, and public relations offerings targeted at the growing demographic and psychographic split of audiences.

`The lecture witnessed a whole house of the mass communication department soon to become the Idowu Sobowale School of Communication and Media Studies, Caleb University. Vice Chancellor Prof Nosa Owens-Ibie took some time off his other engagements to welcome the speaker. The head of mass communication, Dr Solomon Abiodun Oyeleye and the Director of Brands, Partnerships and Linkages, Abimbola Olulesi organised the town and gown interaction.