PR experts carpet finance minister over foreign PR firm
Following media reports about the hiring of a United Kingdom-based public relations firm by the Federal Government to manage the campaign around Nigeria’s participation at the just concluded World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC, United States, the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN) has cautioned the government to respect its own “Buy Nigeria, Save the Naira” campaign.
In a statement by its President, John Ehiguese, the body said President Muhammadu Buhari should make his Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who led the Nigerian delegation to the Washington DC meeting, to explain whether the process of choosing the UK firm complied with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act regarding competitive bid from other equally qualified Public Relations Consulting firms.
“It will also be of interest to the Nigerian people to know if the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance signed off on the payment of the retainer fee allegedly paid to the PR firm in question,” Ehiguese further said.
Ehiguese expressed concern that the minister’s action buttressed the insatiable appetite and penchant of Nigerian political office holders for “foreign is better” and might indeed have confirmed the feeling held in professional circles that Nigerian leaders have no regard for indigenous professionals.
Ehiguese said that Adeosun’s action was not an happenstance, recalling that her Trade and Investment counterpart, Mr. Okechuknwu Enelamah, had previously engaged the services of the same UK-based PR firm for an undisclosed amount of money to manage the “Ease of Doing Business” campaign of the Federal Government without any competitive bid involving Nigerian PR firms.
He noted that apart from the fact that Nigerian PR firms have the competence and understanding of the Nigerian issues to manage the campaign, Adeosun’s action was a further depletion of Nigeria’s foreign resources at a time when the country’s economy was in the recovery room.
PRCAN, therefore, called on Buhari to put a stop to the government’s penchant for “all things foreign” by admonishing his ministers to look inward as no foreign professional understood the Nigerian problem more than Nigerians.
“There are eminently qualified public relations firms in Nigeria, which can frame our narratives for the world to read and appreciate better,” Ehiguese said.
PRCAN’s primary objective is to promote professional reputation management in Nigeria across both the public and private sectors. It is also committed to maintaining professional standards and discipline among members and providing facilities and professional capacity for the public and private sectors to meet their PR consultancy needs.
PRCAN is the consulting arm of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) established by the NIPR by-law No. 3 of 1993. Membership is exclusively restricted to consulting firms whose key executives must be members of NIPR and registered to practice public relations in Nigeria.