By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Thursday, warned that Nigeria is fast losing its reputation as a result of the widespread insecurity and crisis fueled by divisive elements across the country.
Speaking in Abuja, at the monthly meeting of the Federal Capital Territory Chapter of the NIPR, President and Council of the NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, disclosed that unless something was done to arrest the negative situation and protect Nigeria’s positive reputation, the country would fail to attract the much-needed capital that are needed to drive the country’s growth and development.
He advised that the leadership of the country should try as much as possible to present the country in good light and downplay the attributes that would give the country bad names, while efforts must be geared towards working on the negative attributes to transform them to positives.
He said, “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 profess; what tribal or ethnic groups we belonged to.
“There was a time that 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, who also commissioned a bus bought by the FCT Chapter, further stated that the national body of the NIPR was planning on organizing a reputation summit to address most of the challenges that beset the country with the aim of finding a lasting solution to them.
“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 would gather, talk to one another in a very honest but respectful manner; ask the necessary questions, where we missed it; so that we can begin to retrace our steps and go back to that Nigeria, with a view to making things better for ourselves,” he explained.
Also speaking, a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication of Bayero University Kano, Dr. Bala Muhammad, highlighted the fact that reputation is the most important asset any country and organization can have.
According to him, the leadership of the country and public relations practitioner must try as much as possible to protect the good reputation of the country and businesses in the country, especially with the rising trend of fake news and hate speech, which according to him, are capable of destroying reputation within seconds.
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He said, “When you have a good name, you want to protect it and want your children to protect your good name and 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.”