PR professionals advocate for relevance in all sectors

By Ibidunni Banjoko
Nigeria’s Public Relations professionals have advised practitioners in the industry to put their best foot forward in order to be relevant in all sectors. They made this call during the recent Nigerian Institute of Public Relations’ (NIPR) Lagos State Chapter webinar.
While making this call, Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications, and Public Affairs Lead at Nestle Nigeria, advised that the practitioners should create more awareness of what public relations is, to be able to assess their value and the impact they are making.
“The regulatory body should ensure that everyone practicing PR is certified. We need to create awareness on the value that we bring as certified practitioners, we need to elevate our profession and show it effectively. As PR practitioners, we play in the background and we push other people forward. But this time we need to push ourselves and the value that we bring forward, push the value that we bring forward.
“We should start to convince the employers of labour, both in the public and private sectors, on the benefit of employing professionals to work for them when it comes to building their image, managing crisis and building their reputation which is the currency that they have for sustainability,” she stated.
On her part, Nkechi Ali- Balogun, the Principal Consultant/ CEO of NECCI Limited, said: “Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) is a national body; we should be at the forefront of driving national perception. We can only do that if we have practitioners, experts, people who are experienced in PR heading the leadership of the Institute. You cannot give what you don’t have, and, more so, practitioners should develop themselves and put their best foot forward. We can only take charge of our space through appropriate leadership and project ourselves so that government can know our relevance.”
In the same vein, Toba Adaramola, Head of Information, Protocol and Public Relations at Bowen University, mentioned that having enlightened sessions like the webinar will help professionals to change the notion that speaking good English alone makes a good PR person. PR”, he said, “is a respectable profession and not a wishy washy business.”
BAC Obiefuna, another PR expert, stated that the regulatory body should let the certificate shout loudly. “They should let the public and private sectors know that PR practice is very important for every organization, and PR should be extended to the religious sector.”
Abiona Babarinde, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Communication at the Coscharis Group Limited, said: “As practitioners, let us practice what we preach by creating awareness about ourselves. How do we make the profession relevant? The journalists are taking our role as the PR personnel, especially in the public sector. The prevailing perception is to pick a journalist as a PR person; but most of the time it’s because the public relations experts are not at the forefront,
“It’s a good time for us to start putting ourselves out there. As public relations practitioners who use journalists to deliver our campaign, we should make sure that at any point in time, being the registered PR personality should be the prerequisite for the government.”


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