Israel Jaiye Opayemi, Managing Director/Chief Strategist of Chain Reactions Nigeria, one of the country's leading Public Relations and Integrated Communications Consulting Firms and the Exclusive Nigerian Affiliate and Preferred West Africa’s Partner of Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm with presence in 65 countries across the globe, has emerged the newly elected President of the Public Relations Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), at the 2019 AGM of the association that held on Thursday, 6th September, 2019.
Other members of the executives who will be steering the affairs of PRCAN over the next two years are Mr. Adedayo Ojo (Vice President); Mrs. Tokunbo George-Taylor (Secretary General); Ms. Martha Okpeke (Assistant Secretary General); Mr. Bolaji Abimbola (Publicity Secretary), and Mr. Raheem Olabode (Treasurer).
Mr. Israel Jaiye Opayemi, has assured that the Public Relations ecosystem would be reformed in a bid to accord the profession its deserved rightful place of honour in the league of other noble professions in Nigeria.
He vowed that it would no longer be business as usual for unqualified Public Relations practitioners whom he said are tarnishing the reputation of the profession through unwholesome practices.
Opayemi in his inaugural speech after being overwhelmingly elected president alongside other officers, during the PRCAN 2019 Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Friday, September 6, 2019, decried a situation where the Public Relations profession in Nigeria has become a ‘Banana Republic’ of sorts where anything goes.
He stated further that, unlike other professions like Medicine, Law, Accounting and even Advertising, Public Relations in Nigeria is one profession in which the barriers to entry seem to be lower as “practically just anybody can wake up and call himself or herself a ‘PR Consultant’”
“Let it be known, Public Relations is a profession regulated by an extant law in the form of the NIPR Decree 16 of 1990; now an Act of the Parliament. We will work hand in hand with the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to get that law amended, strengthen the sanctions for infringement and work with the Office of the Inspector General of Police to enforce that law,” he promised.
Opayemi, read the riot act to those practicing Public Relations illegally in Nigeria that their days were numbered.
“It is for this cause, that I threw my hat into the ring to be the President of this great professional body. We come humbly to the stage with the assets of courage, conviction, connection, exposure, and, more importantly, a readiness to tap into the wealth of experience of our esteemed members to deliver what we promised – Better Business,” he added.
The new President further assured that PRCAN was committed to take on the task of fostering an environment that enables business growth for PRCAN member-firms through his vision and mission statement anchored on seven pillars: Clearer Identity, Stronger Legislation, Stricter Enforcement, Increased Revenue, Better Value, Fair Trade as well as Professional Dignity.
He added, “Let me publicly reiterate a promise I once made which has now become the collective resolve of our new leadership. It is a resolve that we will be standing on the shoulders of giants and be leaning on the chest of the icons of our profession. We will be drinking from the table of Mazi Mike Okereke, Mr. Nn’emeka Maduegbuna, Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, our own Amazon Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun, our other past presidents Dr. Phil Osagie, Mr. Chido Nwakanma, and the outgoing president Mr. John Ehiguese as well as many of you here seated today who have made great contributions to the growth and development of this noble profession.”
Opayemi also pledged PRCAN’s readiness to offer the professional assistance of its member-firms to the Federal Government of Nigeria in crafting a response strategy and a campaign plan to help the positive story about Nigeria as well as shape the current low perception.
Earlier in his valedictory speech, the immediate past President of PRCAN, John Ehiguese, highlighted quackery and non-compliance with set standards as top among the challenges faced by the PR industry in Nigeria, stating that the onus is on PR professionals to come together to stem the tide.
He stated that during his tenure, the leadership fostered a better relationship with the national body, NIPR; raised industry compliance and enforcement; secured the re-admission of PRCAN into the membership of International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), ensured regular hosting of the PRCAN MasterClass series, PRCAN Breakfast Meetings as well as the PRCAN Gold Medal Lectures amongst others.