By Ignatius Chukwu
Could it be that Nigerians are marching on the very solution to national harmony while groping in the dark? Could it be that unleashing the powers of the Public Relations practice in governments and corporates would promote national harmony and create growth in companies?
If that be so, what exactly is in PR practice and study that would do such? Could it be the various principles in Public Relations study that even the practitioners ignore or the processes required in reaching consensus that if adhered to, would create boom in the economy as conflict could be reduced to barest minimum to free factors of production and boost profitability?
One of Nigeria’s best experts in the industry has reminded Nigerians about what lies in the PR practice that can help the nation.
A reputation capital management expert and public relations resource person, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, has been giving expositions on how public relations practice can play a big role in corporate growth and also boost national harmony.
Dr Nkwocha, a seasoned journalist before branching off into PR consultancy and corporate employment (at Indorama Nigeria) who is one of the first two doctorate degree holders in the profession in Africa (UNN) spoke at different for a in the days and weeks when the PR profession was given attention and review around the world.
He says the Public Relations profession has the power to be a catalyst for national peace and harmony as well as for the growth of organizations.
The renowned Public Relations expert made appearances in many events organized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in Port Harcourt in the past one month and made a keynote speech at the 2023 World Public Relations Day (WPRD) organized by the Rivers State chapter of the NIPR in collaboration with the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Rivers State University, recently.
Speaking on the theme “Harnessing the Power of Public Relations”, Dr Nkwocha noted that the Public Relations concepts of ‘Issues and Crisis Management’ as well as ‘Stakeholder Management’ were keys for resolving industrial and national issues and helping to engender national cohesion and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
Dr Nkwocha who is a Fellow of NIPR highlighted several issues that the use of PR can resolve to impact positively on society.
He also stated that Public Relations has the power to steer public perception and public opinion in the positive direction, which in turn, he stated, can be a business enabler by using goodwill, positive image, and reputation to grow businesses and increase a company’s profit.
He stressed that Public Relations has the power for social re-engineering and peace in institutions, governments and nations through effective stakeholder engagement and management.
Nkwocha added that Public Relations has the power to predict the future through trends analysis and credible forecasting, while opening doors to opportunities.
The speech outlined the origins of the WPRD, different definitions of Public Relations, the role PR practitioners should perform as they celebrate the special Day, the amazing possibilities of Public Relations and how these can be harnessed for the public good.
Dr Nkwocha, who is the head of Corporate Communications at Indorama-Nigeria, a multinational giant, after his postulations, recommended that practitioners should see their profession as a serious business that must be practised creditably and ethically, before he concluded that “Indeed, Public Relations is powerful if well harnessed.”
In his opening remarks at the event, the chairman of Rivers NIPR, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, notified that the institute was set to start the enforcement of the law to prosecute anybody practicing public relations in Rivers State without requisite certification from the NIPR.
He said: “Very soon, our Ethics and Disciplinary Committee would swing into action because the Public Relations Decree of 1990 makes it a criminal offence to practise public relations without certification and that law provides for imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine or both for offenders.”
The Vice Chancellor of Rivers State University, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, assured that the institution was committed to producing quality Public Relations graduates that would impact society positively.
He was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof Valentine Omubo-Pepple.
Participants and practitioners were required after the lecture to seek ways of impacting the growth of companies they represent and government institutions to create harmony and growth.