The Chairman of Kano’s Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Aminu Hamza (MNIPR), holds Bachelor Degree in Mass Communication, Post Graduate Diploma in Management and master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) all from Bayero University, Kano.
With over two decades in PR practice, Hamza has served in the banking sector, airline and real estate industries when he was appointed Manager, Corporate Affairs in Kabo Air, Tropical Commercial Bank and Unity Bank Plc among others.
He also has provided public communication services as PR consultant to many national and international organisations including those funded by DFID, Adam Smith International and European Union Support to Federal Governance Reform Programme (SUFEGOR). Some of the projects were supervised by the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR).
In this interview with the Spokesperson Digest, the chairman explains how the PR profession is changing by the day with advancement in technology and the challenges practitioners face in the course of their duties. He also said the Institute has introduced student-membership for students of tertiary institutions who wish to develop a career in PR.
As Kano chapter chairman of NIPR, how is the membership drive in the state?
We have embarked on sensitization campaigns, creating awareness on the imperative of all practitioners to duly register with the institute as a prerequisite for practice. We are still facilitating the registration of all information officers and other government image-makers alike through the office of the Head of Service and Ministry of Information in the state.
What are some of your programmes at the Chapter Level?
We have also facilitated Conferences and Seminars for members and non-members, especially in public service. We are still encouraging our members to attend our meeting and programmes. In fact, with the COVID-19, we are working towards deploying internet-enabled tools to host virtual meetings.
What are the challenges encountered by PR professionals in this part of the country?
In the Northern part of the country, PR is mostly seen as a ‘mouthpiece’ role, meaning your employers only use you when they have something to say. We have continued to advise our professional colleagues to strive harder in order to prove their worth.
How is the relationship of in-house professional and the PR agencies in Kano?
Even though there are some in-house practitioners that are performing well in their various organisations, some have relegated themselves to the role of mere errand boys doing protocol jobs rather the public relations practice. Sometimes, the system compels their situations due to unnecessary and political interferences. Meanwhile, those in the private sector, especially with the support of PR agencies, are performing exceedingly well.
In what areas can inhouse-personnel and external consultants collaborate in PR activities?
In almost all areas especially where the in-house PR department is understaffed. The private agency can help with implementation while the in-house personnel serves as the team lead and also monitors the progression of the campaigns. Collaboration in this regard increases efficiency.
What is your new programme or innovation so far at the Chapter level?
We reintroduced the PR student membership program which is aimed at introducing young members to the core PR practice while they are still in schools. This affords them the opportunity to compare notes through direct interaction. It’s like an industrial training you have direct access to practitioners which helps you understand the subjects better. We are catching them young. The second advantage is that they pay a negligible fee compared to what is being charged for graduate members.
How many PR student-members have been registered so far and their performances?
We now have about thirty student-members of NIPR in the state and we are sure of getting much more when schools reopen. I am glad to announce that we are also collaborating with PRNigeria Centre in Kano where student-members are currently enjoying professional mentorship in PR practice. The PR Student membership in Kano chapter offers the budding communicators access to attend the meeting of NIPR Chapter where they can meet and network with public relations professionals, communication specialists and even marketing professionals. PR Student membership offers great opportunities for personal growth, professional development, networking with senior members and a starting point towards NIPR membership upgrade.
Does PR support the Northern industries including the movie industry, Kannywood?
We have some of our members that provides PR services, beyond publicity to various sectors of our economy. Some of the PR firms collaborate with the Northern movie industry, popularly known as Kannywood, in the area of advertisements using the celebrities as ambassadors etc.
What do you think about the future of PR practice in the post-COVID-19 era?
The future is already here as PR practice is currently more effective with the deployment of Information Technology tools to communicate, interact and execute PR campaigns. It is just like this interview with the Spokespersons Digest. We don’t need to meet face to face and yet eliminate the cost of transportation and other logistics to ensure that everything is perfected.
What is your best PR quote?
“Nobody counts the number of ads you run: they just remember the impression you make” -Bill Bernbach.