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. Introduction and background :
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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
“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”
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).
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 militaryalacrity”,“with immediate effect” and many others are still relevant in our parlance. Military officer’s cars display their stickers, berets, horse-whip (“koboko”) all to scare the public and gain advantage over others on the roads.
Products 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: 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?
For instance the issue of true federalism, as was the case when Agriculture was the hop of Nigeria’s 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 Nigeria’s socio-political culture, do not affect the practice of public relations in Nigeria is like giving Satan awards for saintly activities.
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: