NIGERIA’S IMAGE AND THE PLACE OF THE PUBLIC RELATION IN ITS RECONSTRUCTION: (A CASE STUDY OF THE PUBLIC RELATION PRACTIIANCERS IN ENUGU URBAN)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Nigeria is one of the famous and great countries that is surrounded with an extremely large number of problem
This ugly situation had created a bridge in their relationship with other countries. In addition to over the problems of political instability inflation, unemployment, immorality and wide spread corruption, there is still the issue of Nigeria’s unfavorable image both internally and externally.
Therefore, the good moral disposition of any citizen of a country proves the image of that country thus Charles Okigbo (1986) maintains that the image of a nation arises from its actions, utterances position, polices and media coverage.
In discussing Nigeria’s image abroad, the three tiers of government and the entire citizens of the country were borne in mind. To achieve this set of objectives, we should, look at historical survey of what may be considered as Nigeria’s image in the eyes of both the national and international communities
1.2 HISTORICAL SURVEY
The colonial era bought about political domination, economic exploitation, social discrimination and religious indoctrination which gave.
Nigeria the image of a potentially rich, exploitable dependable with an insatiable taste for foreign culture education dress and food then came the days of nationalism, which averted Nigeria’s to the possibilities of political freedom with all its concomitants.
Nationalist movement shocked the imperial authorities who regarded it as impendent and ingratitude that frightened those Nigerians who believed that the nationalist had lost their head. The image projected during the days of the fight from freedom was that people who knew what they wanted are determined to achieve their objectives. This explained why such leaders as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, chief Obafemi Awolow, Mallam amino Kano, Mazi Mbonu Ojike and others were the objects of hero worship t a scale unknown before.
The nationalist struggle which led to attainment of political independence nation placed on the threshold of development.
This was immediately followed by the first republic with all the hopes it inspired.
But was it was characterized by failures and mistakes catalogued by Dennis Osadebay in his book “building the nation”
He accused the country’s leadership of tribal and regional intolerance unwillingness to observe political party discipline.
The flamboyant life – style nurtured and nourished by bribery and corruption and painlessness’. The fist mittary interregnum which initially raised the peoples hope and aspirations was later characterized by tribal and prejudices and bitterness which led to wide scale mass killings and antagonism and ended in painful civic war which nearly tore Nigeria report.
The image created could be summed up as susceptible to the temptations of corruption and graft as the politician.
The image of the country they left behind was one of thrift and chaos, which put in other words simply meaning, “we do not know what we want”.
Speaking on the wrong doing of the former regime, of General Murtala Mohammed who emerged as the leader of the third head said that event of the part, despite our human and material resources was in bad and chaotic shape.
This showed that government has not been able to fulfill the legitimate expectations of the people.
Nigeria had continued to drift it must be cleared to all concerning that the indiscipline in our national life is a symptom of services malaise at all levels of government.
The time has come when we should make it clear that we can decide for ourselves, that we know our interest and how to protect that interest.
This is an excerpts from the policy formulated by a corrective regime. This policy accounted for its popularity. This policy continued to be dutifully implemented by the Obasanjo’s regime following the unfortunate assassination of General murtala Mohammed on 13th February 1976.
The regime which witnessed the cleaning of the public services, the setting up of new goals and effective tackling of many of the drastic problems facing the country created the image of a nation back on the path of sanity and heading in the right direction.
The many charges against the regime included political brigandry, bribery and corruption, and economic mismanagement.
The regime created for the country an unfavorable image.
In an article entitled “the and of an” a columnist in the new swatch of markers of second republic as “law breakers”.
The late Dele Giwa put it more succinctly when writing under the heading “death of innocence” said, that it had brought with the death of follow whip.
Deception had become the new order, stealing is no big deal almost every one had turned to a thief you can hardly have anything done without some one expecting you to bribe him and everyone discusses it openly”
Then followed by the Babanigida’s Administration with it far reaching policies on structural adjustment, mass transportation, rural development, better life programme, privatization and commercialization of government owned companies. On several occasions when he was speaking to different groups, he made the following pertinent remarks.
For too often I have talked in the past, of a new nation while continue to burn, leaving big scars on our image as a people”
At home it encountered industry, promoted merit, cracy and mapped out a clear cut policy of transition to civilian rule which is being implemented faithfully through various organs such as the national electoral commission (NEC). The smooth transition programme which has being dutifully followed came to a hall with the annulment of June 12 presidential election won by chief moshud Abiola amidst this explosive political situation emerged the interim in national government (ING) headed by Enerst Shenekam which was later toppled by the Abacha Junta. It was in the wake of this confusion following the annulment of June 12 presidential election that chief moshood Abiola was arrested and detained by the abacha junta for proclaiming himself president of Nigeria- an offence regarded by general Sani abacha’s military tribunal as “treasonable felony” in his broadcast to the nation on October 1,995, general Sani Abacha announced a new transition time – table which was to terminate on October 1st 1998 with the swearing – in of a new civilian president who will be elected under a mult – party system.
The story still remains the same political instability.
However, the image projected as that despite tremendous odds, economic, political and social, the country is back on the rails and that is a nations, we know where we are going and what is good for us.
There are obvious doubts sceptiasm and trepidation of heart as to what the future hold for the country as it March es on towards the fourth republic .
The question being asked is whether the new breed of politicians will let the country down again, in other words /
“Will we fail yet again” for this reason, it is necessary to recount what will be considered as Nigeria’s image from three major angles, namely: political economic, and social.
Nigeria’s political history since independence in 1960 had always remain instable despite the military interventions
This contravenes the word – wide campaign for the establishment of democratic government in all countries.
In Nigeria today, democracy is an illusion. There is no election without rigging even when citizens must have voted for their own choice. And go contrary to people’s will paramount. Through the barrel of the gun and advantage of incumbency, the military government undermine the will of the electorate and have continued to sacrifice the corporate image of the country on the alter of egocentrism and ethnocentrism.
The effect of this act on the image of Nigeria is undoubtedly catastrophic.
The activities of those military government attract contempt, spite and scorn from other countries that are democratic. The encounter with FiFA over Nigeria’s bid to host the 1995 youth soccer championship a case in point
Also, the economic sector suffer as a result of obnoxious economic polices being adopted by those ill informed military boys” foreign investments are discourage and foreign aids in the areas of education, health , science and technology are either reduced or totally withdrawn. World bodies like united nation organization and others give little or no assistance to Nigeria. These reactions from the international bodies are products of the foreign government perception of Nigeria aversion of democratic process.
On the international scene Nigeria is seen as operating a highly hypocritical foreign policy.
Nigeria parades herself as the “giant of Africa” an as such continues to meddle in the internal affairs of other Africa countries.
The role played by IBB’s ECOMOG troop in Liberia is a thing to remember.
In like manner, Nigeria continue to have boarder dashes with neighboring countries. However, political hostility and outright violence as it Nigeria image abroad is far being favourable.
The Nigerian economic is poor. This does not imply that Nigeria had a bad economic policy, rather the problem lies with the implementation of this policy.
Policies meant to revive the nations economy in the part include operation’s feed the nation (OFN) structural
Adjustment programme (SAP) the green revolution, national drug law enforcement agency (NDLEA) family support programme (FSP) and so on.
Some have failed, if not all. These economic polices were well intended but the possibility of their failing was not envisaged by the planners.
The international community now sees Nigeria as a nation without any economic direction and therefore unsafe for any investment.
The nation “economic image” is nothing to discuss about. The suspension of Nigeria membership from the common wealth further dwindled the country’s image abroad.
This is the crux of the matter. The moral disposition and activities of our students and businessmen abroad have left a stain on the country’s image.
Chidi Amafili (in Nwosu, 1990: 249)
Sam if up in these words. Either you are branded a drug peddler or a gum runner, or an Aids carrier, an Inferior materials supplier or you falsely documents or you “bootleg” that is piracy in records cassettes, books or you are just a plain chef. Nigeria citizens have been humiliated at our parts and immigration checks overseas”
Over students abroad are not left out. They perform all sorts of tricks and as part of Nigeria’s foreign policy, it as only being practiced according to the dictate of the government in power. It is pertinent to note that Nigeria foreign policy in Namibia, Israel and Egypt is good. After considering all these facts one might that it will just to succeed, leaving a traul of faith on their countries image”
These are purely the public relations problems.
Apart from the dubious activities of these Nigeria students and international businessmen, Nigeria government has institutionalized corruption. Embezzlement and others vices now become the order of the day.
Nigeria’s image abroad is panted by all citizens and whatever may be their status or occupation in life.
These include government representatives who formulate polices, the soldier whose duty it is to defend the country, the policemen who maintain land and order, the judicial officers who administer justice, the immigration and custom officials who deal with foreigners visiting or leaving the country, the businessmen, traders who export, import or deal with foreigners and students who should serve as beacons of light.
Nigerian who travel to other countries as the representatives, farmers who produce food for feeding the nation and for export, and indeed all others who sever in one capacity or another have created a battered image of Nigeria outside her own shore. Something has to be done by both government and individual to correct this image.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Inadequate information dissemination distorts perception of the image of reality.
It follows that despite a nation’s actions, peoples perception of information on what said about either by others or by its own people the public relations determines mental pictures, however good deed attract favourable media coverage and consequently a favourable image.
Attention of government have been drawn to the type of their countries portray in recent years.
The importance of having a favourable image lies in Rober Dervis (1970) assertions that a desired image can be of greater use then a significant increment in military and economic power.
An undesired image can involve cost for which no amounts of the usual kinds of power can compensate and be handicap almost impossible to conquer”.
This is especially so in our interdependent world where, according to karl Deutzch and Richard Meritt (1987).
Foreign decision makers and diplomats usually carry in their memories aspects which inform their polices towards other nations”.
It is the light of these facts that the social responsibility theory of mass communication in relation to the public relations practice was chosen to guide the cause of this study. The theory according to Dr Femi Senaike (quoted in M.A Ogunsiyi, 1989:144) posts that the power and near monopoly position of the media impose on them an obligation to be socially responsible, to see than all sides are fairly represented and that the public relations has enough information decide. And this premises as asserted by Ikechukwu E.Nwosu and Idemili S.O (1992) revealed the public relations is not a window – dressing or white washing or cover – up practice for management and government or individual. Such cover up or white washing hardly work and mores very in their effect as they are sooner than later discovered for what they are by their target public?
The basic principle underlying he social responsibility theory as it relate to the public relations practice is that of individual. Institution & like government or organizations should think in such globally accepted manner.
This must have caught the fancy of Ikechukwu E.nwosu and S.O Idemifi when they stated that the public relations is working and guided by the public interest consideration or being socially responsible I order to be socially acceptable.
1.7 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
An important factor admired by all government is the good image of its country in the comity of nations government, therefore, try to monitor the activities actions of her citizens and her policies as these will determine the media coverage the receive.
To build a favourable image, efforts must be made to exhibit acceptable norms and value or behaviour the problem passed in these study is how to use the public relations to build a favourable image for Nigerian from her current image?
1.8 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study attempts to answer the following questions.
v What contributed to the public relations
v What is Nigeria’s image abroad like?
v What effort does the Nigerian government making to correct this image?
v What the public relations tools and techniques can be employed to correct the image
v How can Nigerian help the government in rectifying the country’s present image?
1.9 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to find the position or place of the public relations in reconstructing Nigeria’s battered image abroad. It also seeks to suggest some to the public relations techniques that can be used to reconstruct that country’s image aboard.
This study, therefore, aims at acquainting nigerias with the desirable mode of construct capable of boosting the nations image abroad. This intended to achieve through an elaborate discussion of the place of the public relations in the course of building and sustains good image for Nigeria.
1.10 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Hi: the Nigeria image abroad is favourable
Ho: the Nigeria image abroad is not favourable
H2: the attitude of the citizens contributes to such an image.
Ho: the attitude of the citizens do not contribute to such image
H3: the Nigerian government is making frantic efforts to correct the battered image
Ho: the Nigerian government is not making frantic efforts to correct the battered image.
H4: the public relations can be used in the resolution of Nigeria’s image problem
Ho: the public relations cannot be used in the resolution of Nigeria’s image problem.
1.11 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The basic concept that will continue to re – occur in this study is the image public reactions and reconstruction. These terms will be defined in their conceptual and operational form.
Conceptual – the impression held by the general public about Nigeria.
Operational the impression held by other countries about Nigeria.
Conceptual – the establishment of two – way communication to resolve conflict of interest understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information.
Operational – the establishment if two – way communication between Nigeria and other nations to ensure a positive image.