By Raheem Akingbolu
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) have concluded plan to organise a workshop early next year on the need for a rancour free election campaign.
Professor Lai Osho, who led the team of the communication professionals on a visit to APCON in Lagos, said ACSPN was committed to advancing the scholarly study and practice of ‘Communications’ by providing and facilitating the pursuit of excellence in academic research and professional practice in Nigeria.
Osho, a former Dean of the School of Communications, Lagos State University, noted that issues that would define the future of media and communication practice in Nigeria was the need to enthrone fairness and objectivity, saying that such would define the direction of 2019 elections.
He, therefore, called on APCON to join hands with ASCPN in enterprise of charting a way forward for communication professionals and media practitioners to communicate effectively without fanning the embers of hatred through hate speeches, especially as Nigeria gets into the 2019 campaign.
Reiterating the ACSPN’s core values which include professionalism, innovation and partnership, Osho said by providing capacity building, training and maintaining best international practice, the workshop and training would empower members with skills as well as provide access to other professional bodies.
The university lecturer also said he was inspired by APCON’S banner displayed at the entrance of APCON which reminds politicians to avoid “hate speech” in their campaigns, stressing further that “in as much as we want to protect the freedom of expression and of the press, we must also endeavour to guard against hate speech and spurious statements that could heat up the polity.”
In her response, the Acting Registrar of the council, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, assured of APCON’s willingness to partner with professional bodies like ASCPN to support noble causes even though the agency was yet to have a council.
The APCON registrar said the workshop aims at inculcating critical knowledge about the management of electioneering campaign, communications and deployment of such communications that would promote peace among the contending parties.
She noted the tendency of political candidates and their supporters to abuse freedom of speech and engage in spurious promotional campaigns that exploit consumers and the public, and sometimes undermine societal harmony and well-being, made it most expedient to organise the workshop as a follow up to the recently held ‘Stakeholders Forum on Political Advertising and Communication’ organised by APCON in Abuja.
According to her, the professional bodies are crucial stakeholders in the Nigerian state.
Iyoha, said APCON was open and ready to collaborate with professional bodies in the communications sector that will advance the course of the agency.