Interviews

Abdullahi Sule, Nasarawa Gov. has set State on Path of Excellence for Posterity – Attah, NIPR Chairman


Chief Joseph Oboshi Attah, Chairman Nasarawa State Chapter of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations spoke to Ismail Aniemu shortly after the just concluded NIPR Week held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Attah spoke on the impact PR can make in the social and economic landscape of one of Nigeria’s most endowed state in terms of mineral and agricultural resources, where Governor Abdullahi Sule is backing up with invaluable support

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Engr Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nasarawa State (left) receiving a presentation from Attah, Chairman NIPR Nasarawa State Chapter during a recent visit to Government House in Lafia

Q:Give us a brief on your journey to the leadership of NIPR in Nasarawa State and the difference you have made since you assumed office

I retired from the Nigeria Customs Service as a Comptroller earlier in 2022.I later became a fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations.In line with the policy of the new President of NIPR, to reposition the Institute and the profession of Public Relations in Nigeria, we had reasons to dissolve a number of Chapters including Nassarawa State Chapter.

I was drafted to head the Presidential Chapter Resuscitation Committee.I was given three months within which to revamp,reorganize, stabilize and organize credible elections that will usher in new executives for the Chapter.


Within that three months, the members of the committee and I have been able to resuscitate the Chapter, reawaken the PR spirit in every member of the Chapter, and more importantly draw to public consciousness the relevance of Public Relations in governance, community, relations and in mobilizing public support for the government of the state.

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We engaged in strategic activities with credible stakeholders like the media houses, Commissioners and other people who influence everyday thinking and action within the state.

We also noticed that some youths of the state have misused the instrument of social media unlike other times when social media is used as a tool for social and economic development ,mobilization and advertisement of their endorsement.

Q: How are you using PR specifically to the benefits of your state

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We noticed with regret that some of our youths engage in abuse of social media .To that extent, we organized a one day workshop for some youths of the state. We have brought some experts from Lagos and Abuja to take our youths through the potentials of social media, how social media can be used to market the state, our endowment and more importantly, tell our stories in such a way that investors are interested to come to our state.
A total of 55 boys ard girls were beneficiaries of this free training programmes in Lafia.

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We also visited His Excellency, the Governor and told him what we have done and the fact that I had commenced a strategic advocacy for the siting of the proposed Nigeria Institute of Public Relations Finishing School in Lafia, the capital of Nassarawa State.

I championed this advocacy because I believe that the proximity of our state capital to FCT and it’s geographical endowment as the headquarter of natural resources in Nigeria as Nassarawa State is the home of solid minerals, and the fact that we have an investment driven Chief Executive, Our Governor, His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule. I was confident that he was going to provide the wherewithal needed for the siting of that school in our state.

When we visited him, I told the Governor about the ongoing push and that Nassarawa State was not alone.Two other states were also pushing hard . With his support,we could step up the advocacy and I was confident that Nassarawa State was well positioned to win.Of course , as a characteristics of his way of doing things, he gave total support and he promised that he was willing to do whatever within his powers to support us .

With that assurance, we heightened our advocacy and eventually, the rest is story now.The council of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations led by the President, Dr Ike Neliaku, FNIPR visited his Excellency and gave the offer which the Governor immediately accepted with approval of free land, free Certificate of Occupancy and a promise of more support in which ever way that is possible for the state to do.

Q: Give us an insight into what the NIPR Finishing School will be doing and how it will influence the social and economic landscape of Nasarawa?

It is now history that Nasarawa State has already been chosen for the siting of this high profile institution .

It will further open our state as a preferred traveler destination for professional upgrading purpose

One of the benefits of this school to the state include economic gains.It means that every year, hundreds if not thousands of PR practitioners will be trooping to Lafia to write their professional examinations.These people will sleep in hotels, patronize our markets and so on .

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Just like the case with Jos where thousands of accountants visit to write their professional examination.There will be short professional courses running into months .Such students will rent houses and these are PROs , reputation builders and people that will carry the good stories of Nasarawa State outside.

Again, globally, NIPR is affiliated with Global Alliance of UK and that means world renowned PR practitioners will be coming to Lafia for paper presentation and other things.That presents opportunity for Lafia or Nassarawa State as a whole to be exposed to the global community .

We have natural resources.Mining activities are going on, oil exploration is going on and a whole lot of activities are going on.The Governor as I said, is a man who believes in investment, opening up rural areas to development ,roads are being constructed.We are blessed with fertile lands . Nassarawa can only be second to Benue State when it comes to agriculture and more people will discover to patronise these potentials.

There are a whole lot of good stories that can be told about Nassarawa State and the fact that we have a leader who sits at the driving seat, passionate about community development, urban center development and transforming the story of Nasarawa State.

The Governor is doing a lot to ensure a sustainable future for Nasarawa state. Mining activities have been properly streamlined to ensure that investors and host communities are treated fairly. He is also committed to ensuring that our agricultural potentials are fully harnessed .

On infrastructural development,there are multiple ongoing construction works in the state that are capable of supporting the development drive the Governor has embarked upon. I know there is work in progress in the construction of a flyover . This is one of many other laudable projects.

I have taken it upon myself in my new position as the Chairman of Nassarawa State Chapter of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations to engage in providing leadership drive that is predicated on four wheels. One , to engage in aggressive membership drive. To this end, to’ catch them young’ will be our focus.We have a Federal University, Polytechnic, State University and all of them have departments of Mass Communication and Public Relations especially like the state university.
We will take advocacy for membership to these institutions and boost up our membership.

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Two, we will provide support for the national leadership of NIPR .Three, we will engage in government relationship and what I am talking about is providing support for the government of the state, mobilizing people to support the state , to engage in strategic communication, soft sell approaches to all the beautiful works his Excellency is doing.

I believe in his style of leadership because he engages in a style that is not about him as a person. He works for a better future of our people.It is about tomorrow,next tomorrow and the generation yet unborn.Unlike other leaders who engage in delivery of government dividends as if it is a one hundred meter dash. He doesn’t see governance as a hundred meter dash.He sees it as a relay race.He is a man who is selfless.

He can engage in projects that we may not see the proof until long after he has left.It takes a man with a large heart to engage in such activities.This is what I have noticed, and I believe that it is well intentioned for our state and our people and therefore, NIPR under my leadership will provide that PR support .

We will ,through strategic communication , reputation building make Nassarawa State a preferred destination for investors.

Q:What are going to be the immediate low hanging fruits that will be harvested by the state chapter of NIPR under your leadership aside this training, catch them young and government relations that you want to do?

There are low hanging fruits to change the orientation or influence the orientation of our people, to see governance as not just for the leader.Governors can only be successful if we the led provide support .This support comes by the way we talk about our leaders, community and the way we seize every opportunity to market our beloved state while you are traveling in the aircraft ,taxi or wherever you are .

Q: How would you summarise the focus or thematic areas of your leadership of NIPR in Nasarawa?

In summary,let me say I have emplaced a thrust for four areas under my leadership

Number one is to increase membership drive through our catch them young initiative
Second one is the PR Clinic for raining and retraining
The third one is to Provide support for the national leadership of NIPR and the fourth one is to promote a robust NIPR and government relationship in my area of responsibility



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