By NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace, has urged journalists across the country to embrace public relations practice to project the country in a positive manner that would enhance nationalism.

Ndace made the call when the Governing Council of National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), led by the President, Dr Ike Neliaku, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

According to Ndace, there is a big difference between a journalist and a public relations expert.

“While the journalist is looking at headline of the story, the public relations expert is concerned about the implication of the story on the image of the country and society.

“Public relations is something that every journalist should embrace from the beginning. It shouldn’t be something you do when you are on your way out.

“I thank God that I took the path under the mentorship of the Information Minister.

“And for the partnership requested by NIPR with VON, is a done deal. VON is for NIPR, and NIPR is for VON.

“There is no better time to reposition NIPR than now, from the information minister down to the heads of agencies under the ministry, are all NIPR.

“I came to VON and met a hard working staff, and we will continue to carry out principles laid down by the founding fathers of the organisation and we intend to change the negative perception and narrative about Nigeria.

“We are planning to expand the broadcast language to include other languages in Asia. Also, I am determined to tell the Nigeria story to the world and build positive narratives of our people in the world.

“We will not allow people to use our platform to spread fake news on our country. VON is on same page with NIPR.

“I will ensure that from the top to the least person in VON gets membership of NIPR,” he said.

” One of the areas I want NIPR to intervene is the area of capacity building and mentoring.

He noted that was important because the luck I had in my career was, “I have a lot of people mentoring me, so it is important and we need that here,” Ndace said.

Speaking earlier, the President of NIPR, Dr Ike Neliaku, congratulated Ndace and requested for partnership and support for the programmes of NIPR.

According to Neliaku, the NIPR has some programmes it will want to hold to further strengthen nationalism and national orientation.

“We have a programme called “Rebirth Nigeria” which stands on four pillars; we also have the National Public Relations Retreat in Kwara in August.

“We have achieved caderlisation where the information officers would now be referred to as Information/Public Relations Officers in the civil and public service.

“We are also going to synergise with the security agencies to begin enforcement and compliance with the aim of eliminating quacks in the industry.

“We have also introduced National Lecture Series. We have established discussion with Obi of Onitsha and Emir of Kano. Also, we are going to have National Spokesperson Summits and Awards.

” We are also going to have a ‘Reputation Summit’ which will lead to building of a reputation house to promote Nigeria’s reputation.

“Also, we are going to strengthen membership for younger generation.

“We will establish the finishing class for public relations that will lead us to establishing a Public Relations University,” Neliaku said. (NAN)

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