The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has urged the Federal Government to urgently start a process of rebuilding the reputation of the country to attract foreign investments.
President of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, made the call in Abuja at the monthly meeting of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chapter of the NIPR.
Sirajo who used the occasion to launch the official bus of the FCT chapter noted that kidnapping, banditry, terrorism and general insecurity had already affected the country’s image at the global level.
He, therefore, called for a reputation summit to discuss the situation.
“What the national body is thinking of doing at the moment is to organise a reputation summit for the country.
“Where Nigerians of all hues, all shades will gather, talk to one another in a very honest but respectful manner, ask the necessary questions to know where we missed it.
“From this, we can begin to retrace our steps and go back to that Nigeria we used to know, with a view to making things better for ourselves,” he said.
According to Sirajo, the country needs to discard every divisive tendencies and elements at this trying moment, and focus on the unifying factors, if it must remain as one.
“As I am talking to you right now, we are worried about the reputation of this country at the moment.
“We need to tell ourselves the truth that we need to do something about our own reputation and where do we start from, from telling ourselves the home truth.
“How do we get back to that cohesive Nigeria that we used to have in which we all believe that we are one; we did not care what religion we professed, what tribal or ethnic groups we belonged to.
“There was a time this was the main thing in the country, but today you hear this crisis here, that crisis there; this stereotype here, that stereotype there; it does not do any good for our reputation.
“When a country does not have a good reputation, even investors are afraid to come there, because according to capitalists, capital is a coward, it does not go where there is no security.
“We need to work on our reputation, so that capital will not continue to flee from us.
“We should rather have a reputation that would be pulling capital into our country,” Sirajo said.
Dr Bala Muhammad, a lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, Bayero University Kano, who was invited as guest speaker noted that reputation was the most important asset any country and organisation could enjoy.
Muhammad urged public relations practitioner to try as much as possible to protect the image of the country especially now that fake news and hate speeches were on the rise.
“When you have a good name, you want to protect it and want your children to protect your good name; that is reputation.
“Reputation is part of public relations and it is the duty of all public relations practitioners to ensure that they protect this reputation, because you cannot buy it in the market.
“You can buy technology in the market, you can buy capital in the bank; you can go to bank and borrow capital, but reputation is something money can never buy,” Muhammad said.
He also advised PR persons to always form the habit of reviewing and accessing performance as it had helped in most cases to manage reputation crises.
Mr Tayo Haastrup, Chairman NIPR FCT Chapter, who in company of the national president unveiled the new bus for members, said a good leader must be bothered about his reputation.
“A good leader must think of his reputation and not to come and embezzle funds that belong to an institution or an organisation.
“What we have done as elected leaders in NIPR is to save money and that money is part of what we have used to buy a bus to leave a legacy and to be able to promote the reputation of NIPR.
“This is the message we are sending back to our leaders and the new ministers that they must not come to office to ruin the place, but to add value to it; this is the essence of what we have done here.”
Special session and tributes were also paid in honour of their late member Mr Afam Belolisa. (NAN)