By Michael Eboh
Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mr. Cosmas Uzodinma, has declared that Nigeria is not as bad as it is being portrayed.
In his presentation at the monthly meeting of the FCT Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations 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.
In the presentation made available to Vanguard weekend, Uzodinma stated that it is about time that we, as Nigerians, realized that our nation is not as bad as it is being demonized.
He said, “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 organizations to adopt organizing principles in their narrative and portrayal of Nigeria. This is with a view to stemming the current volley of negative media that demonizes Nigeria far beyond what it truly is.”
He argued that when Nigeria’s reputation flourishes, everyone benefits, not just the president alone, while he stated 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 adhoc, episodic and fire brigade manner, noting that we must adopt organizing principles to which we can hold the media, film and tourism industries as well as other national social mobilization institutions accountable.
Speaking in the same vein, Chairman of the FCT Chapter of the NIPR, said Nigeria is not as bad as being touted, noting that the fact that a few Nigerians had gone overboard in their actions does not call for generalization and negative publicity.
He advised Nigerians to support the country’s growth by in emphasizing our strength, achievements and various innovations that are going on in various aspects of nation’s life.
To change the narratives about Nigeria, Haastrup said the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR is set to partner with Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the rebranding Nigeria project.
According to him, the leadership of the NIPR has met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and was also working on the development of a programme to serve as a guide for the ministry.
He said, “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.”
Haastrup also lamented the negative publicity the country is suffering, while he called on the media to de-emphasise activities the boko haram and emphasise more on the efforts on what government is doing to counter what the insurgents are doing.”
Also speaking, a Fellow of the institute, Mr. Peter Oyeneye said, “As PR people, we are saddled with the responsibility of protecting the image of our organization 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.”