As part of efforts to position Public Relations as a tool for economic transformation, the new executive committee of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) has launched its advocacy programme.
In a move also aimed at sanitising the practice environment for public relations consultancy in Nigeria, the leadership of the association has met its mother body, the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and intimated the latter on the new development.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, the NIPR Registrar, Dr. Stephen Adebayo, was said to have assured the new PRCAN leadership of the institute’s preparedness to enforce the law regulating the practice of public relations consultancy in Nigeria.
Adebayo told the delegation that PRCAN member-agencies must act as the whistle-blower while NIPR will discharge its regulatory and enforcement roles by enforcing the provisions of the NIPR Act 16 of 1990.
He said, “We at the NIPR national secretariat cannot know all of what is happening in the field. Since you are the ones who know which agencies or individuals are discharging public relations functions without certification, we would require that you make the reports available for us, so that we can work together in restoring order within our professional practice.”
Earlier, PRCAN President, Chido Nwakanma, had lamented that many firms were offering public relations consultancy services in Nigeria without due registration with both NIPR and PRCAN.
He said; “Many corporate bodies, institutions and governments at Federal, State and Local Government levels are giving out public relations and communication briefs to agencies with unregistered individuals and with no legal standing to practice or offer public relations services in Nigeria."
Nwakanma pledged the commitment of PRCAN to partner with NIPR to raise the standards and foster professionalism in the public relations profession in Nigeria. He drew the attention of NIPR to the setting up of public relations practice in Nigeria by foreign agencies without complying with the NIPR Act 16 of 1990.
He said that proper regulation would enhance practice standard as public and private sector organisations are the focus of the advocacy campaign aimed at persuading them to work with recognised and certified agencies. According to him, when this is done, the affected agencies would become economically viable entities and be able to offer world class services.
As part of its two-year action plan, Nwakanma further disclosed that the new PRCAN executive committee has developed an aggressive advocacy programme, which it launched with the courtesy visit to NIPR. The primary objective of the programme, he explained, is to “create awareness about the services that our members render as well as the key role of public relations in business communication as well as governance and statecraft.”
According to Nwakanma, the theme of the advocacy programme is: ‘Obey the law; engage PRCAN agency for your public relations and communications briefs.’
He also sought the cooperation of NIPR in raising standard of knowledge and practice through the PRCAN Public Relations Master class series. “We shall be calling on NIPR to explore collaboration on adding value to this programme so that participants can link it to the mandatory certificate and diploma programmes of the NIPR.”
PRCAN is a creation of a bye law of the NIPR. It brings together agencies that render public relations consultancy services. By the NIPR Act, only persons registered with the Institute are eligible to practise public relations in Nigeria.
The NIPR Registrar urged PRCAN members, as individuals and as agencies, to be active in the NIPR by attending chapter meetings and activities regularly. He commended the effort of the new PRCAN executives for setting out to take the bull by horn through a bold advocacy to sanitise the industry and for reaching out to NIPR as a parent body, adding that it is the first time such a move was being made by the association.
Others in the PRCAN delegation were the Vice President, Mr. John Ehiguese; the Secretary General, Mr. Muyiwa Akintunde; the Assistant Secretary General, Mr. Adetola Odusote, and the Executive Secretary, Miss Victoria Bassey