Last week, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Lagos state chapter elected new executives. The new exco would be led by a lady of class, Mrs Comfort Nwankwo. The new executives have to pilot the affairs of the institute for the next two years.

In her first media engagement, the new chairperson chatted with our founder, Sunday Osanyintuyi . She explained what her COMFORT COMPASS means for the institute as well as other issues affecting the NIPR Lagos. She promised the quacks in the industry hard times ahead.

Aside Nkechi Ali-Balogun who was the Chairperson 2007, you are the second woman to lead NIPR Lagos having won this election. How do you feel?

ANS: For the records Nkechi Ali-Balogun was Chairman of Lagos NIPR from 2005-2009. Yes, I am going to be the second woman to lead Lagos NIPR. How do I feel? Well, I don’t feel anything extraordinary or anything different. We have always said in the chapter that Public Relations is not gender sensitive, or gender discriminatory. So, the best man for the job this time around is a woman. It has nothing to do with a woman or man. It has something to do with the caliber of person coming on, the readiness, maturity, willingness and of course the initiative that the person will be introducing. So, it’s not about me feeling anyhow. There is a job to be done and my Exco and I happen to be the ones chosen this time.

  • You have been a Vice Chairman of the Institute for 2 terms. Do you think this prepared you to lead in the Chairperson’s capacity?

ANS: Of course being a Vice Chairman for two terms of 4 years means that you worked closely with the Chairman, So I have gathered experience and knowledge and of course it has widened my scope, it has also allowed me to see the enormity of the job on hand. O yes of course it has prepared me to lead in capacity of the Chairman of the State Chapter. Besides, over these years too I have also gained experiences in other areas. I am a business woman you remember, a successful one at that, unfortunately with the death of my husband things slowed down. I have also attended courses, I am very much active in sports as well.

I am a leader /expert in Sports for All. I am a member of the Olympic family. I have travelled far and yes I have the capacity to lead as Chairperson and being the former Vice Chairman and following the system has also added to it.

  • The outgone exco performed excellently, you can agree. What do you hope to do differently for the Institute?

ANS:  Oh yes the outgoing Exco performed excellently well no doubt about that. But you know when you are building you keep laying the blocks, governance should be like a shift system (you continue from where others stopped), building on what your predecessor has done, whatever good they were doing you build on it and introduce more and that’s why if you read my manifesto, if you see my fliers, I kept saying let us do more! And if you read The Comfort Compass, you’ll see that the more was clearly spelt out, and I said that if we had 10 people before, I will try to get 20. You know when building, you keep laying the blocks, you keep laying until it gets to the height that you want, Although in this case you continue to build, there is no end to the creativity for our professional body.

We will build on what the former Exco did and introduce more things which I clearly stated out in the Comfort Compass. I am particularly challenged by the achievements of the former Exco and I will not rock the boat I am going to build on it. It’s a promise.

We hear about “Comfort Compass”, Can you break it down?

ANS: Our Compass to navigate our service tenure is premised on 3 I’s, Identity, Interest and Intervention. Each “I” is a portfolio kitted with goals and strategies that will not only sustain the present loud ovation of the chapter, but will heighten the ovation with a BIG BANG.

We have identified (integrity, professionalism, attraction, patronage, collaborations and reputation).

We will strive to make:

  • NIPR to be a MUST-HAVE brand.
  • Lagos Chapter as the Apex of the pack.
  • Partner Lagos State Government in Edges and Niches across Ministries, Parastatals and Local Governments Ad Agencies.
  • Mutually beneficial social contract with each member (to have individual fulfillment, prestige and sense of belonging).
  • Set up Business-to-Business advisory sub-committees for the private sectors such as Aviation, Oil and Gas, Shipping and Maritime, Food and Beverages, Energy, Pharmaceuticals, Agriculture, Sports and Entertainment.

This causative driver approach will build extensive chain across the following:Increase in individual and corporate membership.

Higher revenue generation via higher volume of sponsorships, regular donations and advert, training and tourism.

Related: New Exco Elected For Lagos NIPR

Developing PR entrepreneurs in good number.

Creation of Employability platform by enhanced corporate networks.

Continuous professional capacity building in expertise and experience for deeper understanding and exposure.

Researched and packaged events/programmes and electronic campaigns for reputational mileage and financial leverage. I will send you the Comfort Compass to see full details and a lot more.

The election was a stiff contest between you and another lady. Have you reached out to her since after the election?

ANS: Yes of course I have reached out to the Lady and gentleman that I contested with and this is because the institute is larger than anybody. In Lagos State Chapter, the Institute comes first; it belongs to all of us. The fact that I emerged the winner is nothing personal, does not mean that the chapter does not want them; they are still part of us. They chose me this time because this is who they want, It could be her or him next time. We are still members of the same team. For instance they had their manifestos, I have reached out to them, and we can take a look at their manifestos and add to whatever we want to do. It had always been teamwork in Lagos State Chapter and it will continue to be so, yes I have reach out to them. And if I may add, on their part, they are also ready and willing to work with us. That is the spirit of NIPR Lagos State Chapter. We are one big family, one BIG APPLE.

  • Some people alleged you were the candidate of the NIPR national office and Lagos State Ministry of Information “compelled” NIPR members there to vote in block for you. Can you speak into this?

ANS: Oh my goodness! Do you have evidence of such allegations? Why would I be the candidate of the NIPR National office? No! One thing the National office does not do is to meddle in the affair of Chapters especially when it comes to elections. The National body is a body of highly reputable council members with integrity. It is none of their business who the chapter chooses. And then why would the Ministry of Information Lagos State compel members to vote in block for me, do I work for them? I don’t work for them. Don’t forget that my Vice Chairman works for them, maybe they voted for me as well. And what is wrong with them voting for me, I was a contestant and anybody can vote for me.

Since when did it become a crime for any arm of government or Institute to vote for a candidate who is vying for an election in a professional body they are interested in? So if it is not a crime I don’t see why you should use that word “Compelled” or insinuate that they were other things other than election and voting. We were three and they voted the person of their choice which they have a right to do.

  • In every contest, there will be rancor. How do you hope to salvage the possible misgivings that may be as a result of this election within the members?

ANS: I find some of your questions really amazing. Don’t forget that the institute is a professional body, not a political part.  So I don’t know the kind of rancor that you expect to see after an election in a body like that of Public Relations. NIPR is very concerned about relationships and we are crises managers, I don’t see us having rancor the way you put it. Oh definitely when you lose in anything in life, it doesn’t make you happy, but that is as far as it goes in NIPR. we have all come together, in fact if you come to our platform you will see congratulatory messages from the people that contested offering to help, offering to be a part of the team. So there is no rancor, so the issue of salvaging possible misgiving does not arise in the first place. We work as a team, we work as a family and I see us doing so in future and in my tenure.

Of course like every family there’s always a black sheep, but I will tell you honestly, none has been identified as such so far. But I won’t rule out the fact that one or two persons may not be happy, but that is not something in the majority.

So NIPR Lagos State Chapter is one big family, One Big Apple. We work as a team and together like I said. We will stir the affairs of this Chapter and I will like to borrow the quote of one of the contestants that didn’t win. “Together we will take NIPR Lagos State, A notch Higher”.

  • What are your administration’s strategies for membership drive for NIPR Lagos?

ANS: My strategies for membership for NIPR Lagos Chapter are clearly stated in the Comfort Compass. Again I will refer you to the Compass.

  • Up till now, some quacks still practice PR in some organizations within Lagos State. Tell us what you hope to do in tackling this unprofessional conduct.

ANS: I can assure you that quacks will not have it easy again in the State and indeed the country, because with the backing of the National body, we will soon come out with a release asking everybody who is practicing PR as quacks to stop doing so, because it is a crime. We have the backing of the National body and the National body has the backing of the Ministry of Justice. Very soon we are going to send letters to every such quacks and not just quacks, in fact anybody practicing PR in any organization that is not a member of NIPR is a quack, especially if you did not study Public Relations. We are going to be requesting organizations to ask whoever is working for them to show them their professional number, because we now have numbers that identify us, without that registered number, you are not a professional, you are a quack; and if you continue to flout the order, we are ready to go to the courts. This is a warning to all those who are not compliant.

For you to practice Public Relations, you must be a member of the Institute. Don’t forget we are not an association; we are an Institute and we are a regulatory body mandated by Law to flush out quacks from the system.

  •  We live in new normal currently, what are identifiable results we can measure your administration with one year from now?

ANS: So, I am not Clairvoyant, I cannot tell you what will happen in one year’s time, but one thing is sure, we are going to follow step by step everything we said in the Comfort Compass and will ensure we deliver.

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