By Michael Eboh
Chief Press Secretary to Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr. Cosmas Uzodinma, has said Nigeria is not as bad as it is being portrayed.
Speaking during his presentation at the monthly meeting of the FCT chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, in Abuja, he also called for the setting up of a public relations roadmap for reputation managers at various levels of governance to stem the rising and alarming cases of negative publicity against the country.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of the NIPR chapter, noted that the fact that a few Nigerians had gone overboard in their actions does not call for generalisation and negative publicity.
He advised Nigerians to support the country’s growth by emphasising the country’s strength, achievements and various innovations in various aspects of the nation’s life.
In Uzodinma’s words: “The barrage of negative publicity targeted at Nigeria by both the domestic and foreign media has called for a public relations roadmap for Nigeria’s reputation managers at various levels of governance.
“It also impels Nigerian media to adopt organising principles in their narrative and portrayal of Nigeria. This is with a view to stemming the current volley of negative media that demonises Nigeria far beyond what it truly is.”
He argued that when Nigeria’s reputation flourishes, everyone benefits, not just the president alone, noting that “the country already has enough adversaries who promote our misfortunes. We should not serve as willing tools in their hands.”
He said reputation managers at various levels of governance must be weaned from the current strategy of conducting public relations project on ad hoc, episodic and in a fire brigade manner, noting that an organising principles “to which we can hold the media, film and tourism industries as well as other national social mobilisation institutions accountable is necessary.”
To change the narratives about the country, Haastrup said NIPR is set to partner with Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the rebranding Nigeria project.
According to him, the leadership of NIPR has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and is also working on the development of a programme to serve as a guide for the ministry.
His words: “NIPR is planning to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make sure that we speak to ambassadors and ambassador-designates and draw up a programme for them on rebranding Nigeria.
“We are partnering with them. We have seen the Minister. The national body is working hard to ensure that we design a programme for our ambassadors so that they would go out and sell the rebranding Nigeria initiative.”
Also speaking, a Fellow of the institute, Mr. Peter Oyeneye, said: “As public relations people, we are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the image of our organisation and our country, but we cannot have a good image if we are not doing things right.
“What we are trying to do is to advise Nigerians to live and do right, then we can project a good image,” adding that adequate publicity should be accompanied by good performance.