The Federal Government has called on Public Relations professionals to always craft the right narratives to change the Nigerian story.

Vice President Kashim Shettima made the call in Abuja at the opening of a maiden National Spokespersons Summit and Awards organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day Summit with the theme, “Change Narratives, Change Society” was organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation.

Represented by Mr Stanley Nkwocha, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, the Vice President said spokespersons hold a unique responsibility in changing the nation’s narratives.

“This maiden summit of spokespersons arrives as a timely intervention in a world where lies and propaganda vie for dominance amidst the complexities of our daily existence.

“At some point, falling prey to false narratives and targeted agendas is inescapable. These are usually aimed at undermining and misrepresenting one’s ideas or perceptions.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has reassured the nation of his belief in citizens communication and engagement.

“He believes that the citizens of Nigeria must, by right and necessity, be well-informed truthfully, accurately and in a timely manner.

“As experts and professionals, this is an invitation for you to partner with us in crafting the right narratives to change the Nigerian story and reinvent our society,” Shettima said.

He urged the image makers to bear the burden of bridging divides, foster understanding, inspire and drive the change the nation deserves.

Earlier, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, said the summit was a pivotal event aimed at transforming the landscape of
communication in Nigeria.

Idris, said communication professionals play a crucial role in shaping perceptions, disseminating accurate information and fostering trust.

“Indeed, the nation’s peace, stability, growth and development can only be attained by how we communicate.

“The future of communication points towards technology, but for technology to make a meaningful impact, it must be anchored on trust.

“As spokespersons, we need to make conscious efforts to build trust and restore hope wherever we are,” Idris stressed.

The President of NIPR, Dr Ike Neliaku also stressed that the reputation of a nation is a core asset.

He underscored the need to take the issue of reputation very seriously, adding, “NIPR is the only organisation given the mandate by law of the federation to drive the process of reputation.

“Our country is filled with violent communicators. it is time to begin the process of nonviolent communication and that is one of the outcomes we hope to achieve in this summit.

“Our primary responsibility is to see to the development and growth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; you can’t build a nation without the functions and tools of public relations,” he said.

The keynote speaker, Prof. Tonie Iredia, urged spokespersons, public relation experts and other relevant stakeholders to always have a rapid response strategy to burning issues.

According to Iredia, it is dangerous to allow lies, misinformation and disinformation to do damage before reacting to debunk or set the record straight. (NAN)

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