A corporate reputation and communications specialist, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, has identified ways Nigerians can manage their diversity for national peace and cohesion. He spoke on Friday, 26th July, 2019 at a public lecture in Uyo organized by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to make its 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Dr Nkwocha who is a Fellow of the Institute was the Guest Speaker and made a power-point presentation on the topic: “Managing Our Diversity: The Public Relations Perspective.”
Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Ekpo, was the Special Guest of Honour while Rt. Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke, Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary, was the chairman of occasion. President of NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo was the Guest of Honour.
Dr Nkwocha noted that Nigeria’s vast diversities were a veritable national asset but regretted that the inability to manage such diversities by leaders has divided the nation so badly.
He also noted that the nation’s diversities were managed relatively well in the past as could be seen in the erstwhile national anthem which says … “Though tribes and tongues may differ… in brotherhood we stand…” He also mentioned the NYSC scheme as well as the federal character principle enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
Dr Nkwocha further noted that the inability to manage Nigeria’s diversities has led to so many issues including the Nigeria civil war, cries of marginalization, herders/farmers clashes, boko haram, militancy, call for restructuring, insecurity across the country, hate campaigns, among others.
Dr Nkwocha, who is head of Corporate Communications of a multinational corporation in the country, identified 14 points through which public relations principles and strategies can be deployed in national leadership to achieve national cohesion, peace and brotherliness.
The points include effective information management by communicating the strengths of the country and the things that unite the people; effective issues management by ensuring that critical issues are properly discussed and resolved rather than sweeping them under the carpet; and effective implementation of the federal character principle.
Others are affirmative action to address the concerns of minority interests, application of the principles of equity, equality and fair-play in the distribution of national wealth; positive propaganda to propagate national ethos and values; and the downplaying of ethnicity, religion and politics in national affairs.
Dr. Nkwocha’s last point drew a loud applause from the audience. Said he: “The Federal Government and State Governments should appoint a Minister or Commissioner for Public Relations/Public Affairs at the federal and states’ levels respectively to effectively take up the responsibilities enumerated above.”
In conclusion, the communications guru said: “We can apply Public Relations in managing our diversity as a country (Nigeria) and as a State (Akwa Ibom) to bring about social cohesion, low crime rate, peaceful co-existence, national integration, unity in diversity, political stability, economic buoyancy, technological advancement, cultural rejuvenation, among others.”
Dr Nkwocha’s presentation was described as food-for-thought by the Deputy Governor Mr Moses Ekpo. “The guest speaker has given all of us food for thought. Let’s digest it and find a way to implement his recommendations,” he said.
Mallam Sirajo, the NIPR President said Dr Nkwocha’s lecture has challenged everyone and pledged that NIPR as a professional institute would do its best to help to return Nigeria to a peaceful and united country.
Chairman of the occasion, Rt. Hon. Luke said the topic of the lecture was very germane and that every hand should be on deck to bring back peace and unity to our fatherland. He commended the State chapter of NIPR for choosing such an important topic for discussion.