Hadiza Bala Usman, managing director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has pleaded with public relations and media practitioners in the country to stop the trend of negative reports.
She said this while delivering a speech at the annual general meeting of Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), on Wednesday, at the Sheraton hotel in Ikeja.
Hadiza, who was represented by Mohammed Bello- Koko, executive director, finance and administration for the NPA, said the event came at a time “when men, women and professional bodies are giving up on the country and pursuing their individual personal ends.”
At the event themed “Projecting the Nigerian Narrative: The Role of the Media, PR and Politicians,” the keynote speaker called on PR practitioners to intensify efforts to integrate Nigerians.
She urged them to do the needful and make people believe in the country. Bala Usman also pleaded with them to agree on the national narrative that should be projected to the world.
“Imagine a scenario where we allow all Nigerian children think that there is no hope for the country,” she said.
“We would most certainly lose them all to countries with better promises and such brain drain does not count good. If we were also to let foreigners see our country as that unworthy, unsafe one where anything goes, and nothing works, we would end up being an island, metaphorically speaking. A country that no one wants to travel to or do businesses with.
“Is it the incredible human capital that the country has been blessed with or the unparalleled accomplishments that our people are making daily across the globe?
“Is it the modest but steady progress that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is making to change the culture of compromise and entrench integrity in our psyche as a people or the unprecedented multi-layered and massive deployment of state resources to reversing Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit? So there are indeed a lot of positive things to say about Nigeria to change the negative perception the world has about us even if for sheer patriotic reasons.
“Let the people know that they are an essential part of democratic governance and that they must not abdicate their role as a constant check on politicians without which democracy cannot grow.
“Draw people’s attention to the selfishness and hypocrisy of the political elite that promote the ethnic and religious division and use the people as cannon fodders.
“Constantly remind politicians of the oath that they took and the very important need to deliver a truly united Nigeria.
“We must have a country before we speak to the world.”
The annual general meeting of the NIPR commenced on Friday.
In attendance were Olusegun McMedal, Lagos NIPR chairman; Mukhtar Sirajo, president of NIPR; Ajibade Oyekan, former president of the institute, among others.