NIPR ends annual conference with a call to harness the nation’s diversity for growth and development

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By Isah Hussein

The Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR ) has concluded it’s Annual Conference/AGM in Abuja on Thursday, 11 November with a call for the need to harness our diversity towards making progress.

The conference which began on Tuesday with a workshop for public relations practitioners and a training session on Wednesday for undergraduate students of mass communication and media studies of Baze University at the Jabi campus of the university in Abuja, ended on Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel with an interactive session between stakeholders on the theme:”Harnessing Diversity for Nation Building: The Public Relations Perspective”.

While giving her welcome address , Chairperson, NIPR, FCT Chapter, Mrs Maryam M. Sanusi , mnip thanked God for bringing us together as a nation so big, vast and diverse in culture and people, nurturing and allowing it to blossom so that with one mind, we can build our nation together.

She said ” no development or growth can occur when we have not to join hands together to achieve whatever we want to achieve”

She also expressed happiness about the theme of this year’s conference by the Abuja chapter of the institution which she said correlates with the Institutes on-going national summit on integration, peace and security

She appealed to the FCT Minister, Muhammed Musa Bello, who was represented by Mallam Muhammad Bashir Mai-Bornu , Chief of Staff to the minister, to assist in providing the institution with a plot of land for it’s permanent Secretariat .

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Mr Yomi Badejo Okusanya, fnipr, president, African Public Relations Association (APRA) said that public relations is like salt which is added to give a taste and that those who need this taste are mostly those in position of leadership who are themselves non- practitioners

He said those non-practitioners need to fully understand and appreciate what public relations brings to the table and begin to effectively engage public relations experts because many of the challenges being faced by Nigeria and by our states, businesses, organisations, ministries and agencies is because we do not engage public relations.

“Any CEO who neglects public relations is doomed to fail because if you are not using PR or you are not using it properly, you’re already on your way down”

“Any organisation that does not listen to the counsel of their public relations officers is preparing for failure.

He called on leaders and heads of organizations present at the event to begin to properly utilize public relations as their work would become a lot easier when they effectively employ public relations services.

He concluded his speech by appealing to the FCT Minister, the senator representing the FCT as well as other stakeholders at event to go back with messages of evangelism for public relations and become ambassadors for public relations and also make sure that where ever any decision is being taken at any level, there is significant input by public relations experts aa he assured all present that Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) have some of the best public relations experts across the continent.

Senator Philip Aduda, the Senator representing the FCT in his goodwill remarks, which he began by jokingly speaking in fluent Yoruba said that our strength as a nation lies in our diversity hence , the theme of the conference is quite apt and timely.

he said that though the theme of this year’s conference may sound simple on the surface but that it has far reaching Implications for the continued corporate existence of Nigeria therefore, the public relations practice must be manned by people who are not only competent but who are also patriotic and passionate about the well-being of our nation.

While delivering his keynote address, Dr. Sam Amadi (Ass. Prof)-Director, Abuja School of Social and Political Thought, said that the nation is at a stage where it is rethinking it’s diversity

He said diversity for Nigeria have somewhat become a problem rather than blessing and that this wasn’t always the case because according to him, he and many in the gathering grew up hearing about unity in diversity and the blessings of diversity.

“In many ways, this statements are true because in nature, everywhere, you see diversity as every specie of plant and animal adds extra beauty and brilliance to nature as well as extra resilience to life support system”

He said “while diversity in nature is a thing of beauty, it is however a problem in society and this raises a question of why nature is able to sustain wide and diverse species while human society often fail to harmonize diverse elements and interest in the society” .

He said human being as social animal always seeks to maximize personal gratifications and is willing to cooperate with others in order to maximize satisfaction but that this can also lead to conflicts and there’s the need to deal with the issues around how to manage our diversity because it is the only way we can achieve common objectives.

He added that the being a state and a nation state both requires concientous creative exertions and statesmanship as none of this is a work of nature but the outcomes of intentions and sustained purpose as well as the work of passionate and intelligent citizens at the grassroot, working together to bring back the state.

In his remarks, the National president NIPR , Mal. Mukhtar Sirajo said the theme of this year’s conference; Harnessing Diversity for Nation Building: The Public Relations Perspective, by the Abuja Chapter of the institution couldn’t have been more timely because it is coming at a time that the institute have been sufttficiently worried about the seeming breakdown of Communication amongst the component groups of the nation and the erosion of faith and confidence in the relationship amongst our people thereby necessitating the need for a non political and non partisan platform where Nigerians can once again re-engage ourselves rather than sitting on our high horses, bickering and throwing invectives at one another

He said, one of our greatest gifts as a nation lies in our diversity which according to him ought to be harnessed for the growth and development of the nation.

He pointed that many progressive nations and societies who have made it and are making it are homogeneous societies but that they are societies that realised that ever human have unique endowment and that what is necessary is harness our diversity in order for the nation to make progress because according to him, this country has no business being where it is currently.

He said Nigerians have witnessed better days , in terms of living together, tolerating and cooperating with one another and he recalled of a time in Nigeria when it didn’t matter where one came from as people were treated with love and respect regardless of ethnicity and religious difference and that the structures and mechanisms that made it possible for us to live together as one people are still in place and that we need to go back to these structures.

The Minister of FCT represented by his chief of staff, in his address expressed satisfaction, particularly with the theme of the conference as it is a proof of the institution’s commitment to the growth and progress of the nation.

He said he identifies with and recognizes the place of public relations in the scheme of things as leaders and expressed the willingness of the ministry to always support and partner with the NIPR at all times

He thanked members of the institute for their efforts towards building a better a Nigeria.

The conference with the theme “Harnessing Diversity for Nation Building: The Public Relations Perspective” had in attendance among others the Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, MD/CEO of FERMA, Engr. Nurudeen Abdulrahman Rafindadi(FNSE,FAE,ng FNAHS), Former National President (NIPR),Dr Rotimi Oladele, Royal Father of the Day, Ona of Abaji and Chairman , FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM. Alh.(Dr) Adamu Baba Yunusa represented by Etsu of Ako,

Also in attendance were Group General Manager, GPAD,NNPC, Mr Garba Deen Muhammed, the Chairman/CEO Newage Network, Alh. Ibrahim Buba, Veteran Broadcaster, Eugenia Abu, Dr. Okey Ikechuckwu(Executive Director, Development Specs Academy), SA to the Speaker, House of Reps, Dr Charles Omole, members of the Youth Service Corps other stakeholders and pressmen.

The programme closed with vote of thanks by Stanley Ogadigo, mnipr, Chairman AGM Planning Committee

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