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Title: New dimensions in community relations: the role of culture and public relations in Nigeria

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'In Nigeria, the host government and the oil corporations are partners in the ... acceptable to the now small, more open and prying world of the 21st century ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Title: New dimensions in community relations: the role of culture and public relations in Nigeria


1
  • Title New dimensions in community relations the
    role of culture and public relations in Nigeria
  • Author's name Kingsley Eyita, MNIPR, CPRP
  • Institution / Organisation Kee Kommunications
    Limited
  • Country Nigeria

2
  • Introduction and background
  • In Nigeria, the host government and the oil
    corporations are partners in the exploration and
    exploitation of the resources, but there has been
    no significant policy change toward the welfare
    of the oil producing areas... the strength of
    their common economic interest overrides all
    local rights to the mineral resources ... They
    have little or no regards for local (community)
    welfare

3
  • Community relations In the Nigerian oil and
    gas industry, a good number of literature show
    that researchers have studied the guiding
    paradigms for this concept (Evuleocha, 2005 Ite,
    2004 Amaeshi et al., 2006 Turner et al., 2004
    Idemudia, 2007). Their verdicts relate more with
    what this paper calls the philanthropic model
    which is expressed through CA (community
    assistance) and CC (community compassion). This
    model merely portrays the host community with a
    bowel in hand begging for crumbs to be dropped
    for its survival. The problems with this model
    are numerous.

4
  • Demands from host communities were simply
    fulfilled by offering scholarships for secondary
    and tertiary education which the industry
    liberally granted
  • Environmental awareness both internationally and
    in Nigeria was comparatively lower
  • Concerns for human rights in host communities
    where oil exploration went on was very minimal
  • Nigeria was not subject to the kind of
    international scrutiny being witnessed today
  • Industry-community relationships were
    characterised by respectful deference and calm
    (Omole, 19982-3).
  • In such a peaceful, largely illiterate and rural
    operating environment, these companies probably
    failed then to
  • 1) Interpret the prevailing socio-political and
    economic culture that weighed heavily against the
    oil rich Niger Delta communities
  • 2) Predict how such culture would evolve in the
    future to influence their public relations
    strategy and organisational culture(s).

5
  • Traditional Nigerian public relations
    strategies were deeply ingrained in coercive
    theory as Professors Opubor and Nwuneli have
    observed. Modern Nigerian persuasive ideology is
    not yet free from various forms of coercion as
    compliance-gaining strategy. That explains why
    terms like obey before complain, with
    military alacrity, with immediate effect and
    many others are still relevant in our parlance.
    Military officers cars display their stickers,
    berets, horse-whip (koboko) all to scare the
    public and gain advantage over others on the
    roads.

6
(No Transcript)
7
  • Products Region of origin of derivation paid
  • Groundnuts North 50
  • Cocoa West 50
  • Palms produce East 50
  • Then the culture of true federalism applied.
    But when oil and gas extracted from the Niger
    Delta (which by some curious coincidence, is made
    up of minority ethnic groups) began to yield huge
    revenues, the derivation principle was revised,
    changed and finally dropped by government.
  • That explains why forces from the minority
    ethnic groups are agitating for true federalism
    in Nigeria as a sure solution to the Niger Delta
    crisis.
  • But what challenges are there for PR in
    Nigeria/Africa?

8
  • Omole (1998) reveals that in this 21st century
    and further
  • The challenge for the public relations
    practitioner will not be how best to successfully
    launder image, but how well he (she) can expose
    superior performance, and how credibly he or she
    can manage and explain contemporary challenges
    and emerging issues...the manager will not be
    hired to clean up the mess resulting from bad
    policy or unacceptable behaviour as such
    unwholesome events would be exposed sooner than
    later given the pervasive nature of global
    information technology he/she will be hired to
    enhance the ability of the employer to formulate
    good policies and behave in a manner acceptable
    to the now small, more open and prying world of
    the 21st century

9
  • More challenges confronting the African PR
    practitioner
  • Courtesy of the satellite communication
    technology, the global village theory is now a
    modern reality. People or interest groups in
    distant countries and continents now have instant
    access and chances to learn, interact, exchange
    and share ideas. In an era of instant, worldwide
    communication, information is readily available
    and accessible as the media now rapidly spread
    the news to audiences once unimaginable.
  • More and more people are enlightened courtesy of
    formal and informal education. On the basis of
    all these PR practitioners worldwide, would have
    to adopt what this paper calls the Per-T-A-C
    concept of public relations. Here, he/she is
    expected to help management to Perceive issues
    and their trends, and then Think extensively on
    their significance and consequences as a base for
    Actions which must be followed by Communication.

10
  • The concept of Glasnost and Perestroika in the
    new dimensions in community relations
  • As guest speaker in the 1993 NIPR conference Mr
    Joachim Schroder from Switzerland, said and I
    want to quote In the past few years four
    messages had a significantly stronger impact than
    any international public relations campaign New
    Thinking, Glasnost, Perestroika, and We are
    the people! According to him these four
    messages broke through all barriers and have had
    a lasting effect on global communication.
  • My thinking is that the new dimensions in
    community relations in Niger Delta also revolve
    around these principles. As literature reveals,
    Glasnost means new openness and Perestroika
    restructuring.
  • The new dimensions in community relations place
    strong demands on stakeholders in the Niger
    Delta. In the light of new realities, they have
    need for new thinking in their community
    relations strategies. One of the ways is for them
    to embrace the culture of openness to themselves
    and to the communities. With that comes the need
    for a holistic restructuring.

11
  • For instance the issue of true federalism, as was
    the case when Agriculture was the hop of
    Nigerias economy, deserve mention here. Added to
    that is the place and role of democracy as an
    ideology, where the wishes of the people dictate
    who qualifies to rule and why. To pretend that
    these issues, which are components of Nigerias
    socio-political culture, do not affect the
    practice of public relations in Nigeria is like
    giving Satan awards for saintly activities.

12
  • The following provides a sound cultural
    foundation for successful PR practice in Africa.
    This too is how to enhance excellent
    corporate-community relations in this 21st
    century and after

13
  • Thank you very much for your time and attention.
  • Kingsley Eyita, MNIPR, CPRP.
  • Keekommunications Nigeria Limited.
  • keekommunications_at_yahoo.com kingsley.eyita_at_gmail.
    com.
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