Nkechi Ali-Balogun vs. Ike Neliaku for NIPR President by YAShuaib

Aug 25, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) 2023 Election Committee approved 29 candidates for 18 Governing Council seats.

NIPR’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference, themed “Leadership, Public Relations and Value Creation,” will hold the election in Abuja today, August 24, 2023.

The election committee’s Chairman and Secretary, Chief Casca Ogosu and Mr. Uzoma Onyegbadue, informed PRNigeria’s sister newspaper, the Spokesperson’s Digest, that 18 of the 29 candidates are Fellows of the Institute, nine are Members, and one is an Associate Member.

The NIPR Act requires the elected Governing Council members to create an Electoral College to elect the association’s President and Vice President, who will also serve as NIPR’s Chairman and Vice Chairman for two years.

Fellows Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun of the Lagos Chapter and Dr. Ike Neliaku of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chapter are the leading candidates for institute leadership.

I’m loathe to get involved in candidate politics, but the two main gladiators are great PR professionals whose professionalism, skill, capacity, and work performance I can attest to.

I have known Dr. Ike Neliaku since 1994 when I was posted to the Federal Ministry of Information as a staff member after receiving the 1993 Presidential National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) award and automatic Federal Civil Service employment.

Neliaku, who had received the same prize in 1991, was the Personal Assistant to the Minister of Information and helped me through civil service basics and offered me memorable moral and compassionate assistance to adjust to the new work environment.

I remember how he pushed me to keep writing my award-winning articles. He was pleased with several of my later novels, which he endorsed with the Minister and helped acquire Ministerial forewords. Our Annual Spokespersons Communication Awards (SCA) and book presentations have included him. The latest was the book I released in honour of Professor Ali Isa Pantami, the dynamic Minister of the last government.

Yet, although I know Mrs. Nkechi Ali Balogun as the archetypal woman in PR through her work as NIPR Lagos chapter chair, we have crossed paths at national and international PR events. Her warm remarks constantly encourage efforts, presentations, and performances at such events.

I know that Neliaku and Ali-Balogun are creative, goal-oriented, well-connected, and grounded but have different strengths and goals.

Ms. Nkechi Ali-Balogun is the Principal Consultant/CEO of Lagos-based NECCI Ltd, a PR agency and NIPR Fellow. She was Head of Corporate Affairs at NEXIM and Equitorial Trust Bank.

Her first degree is in English/Education, and her master’s is in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, awarded her an MBA in Management.

Neliaku earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Jos in 1989, a Master’s in Political Economics, and a Doctorate in Development Studies from the University of Abuja. After serving as Special Assistant to the Ministries of Communication and Cooperation and Africa Integration, he became Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria from 2010 until 2015. He is Rightangle PR’s Executive Vice Chairman and Nigerian Prize for Leadership’s Executive Secretary/Governing Board Member.

While NIPR members, mostly from the Lagos axis, say Nkechi’s track record is steeped in competence, unwavering ethical values, and proven leadership ability, Abuja PR professionals describe Neliaku as emotionally intelligent, relationship-driven, skilled in managing different interests, and tested in managing power and public assets.

Before the election, both candidates published their platforms. Neliaku’s 9-point Agenda aims to grow the NIPR, whereas Nkechi’s was 7.

In “Let’s Make History Together,” Nkechi outlines her vision for the institute, including “‘Caderisation’ by strengthening professional cadres to ensure excellence at all levels; organizational renewal, by breathing new life into our institute; a befitting secretariat by providing NIPR with the infrastructure it deserves and increased revenue generation by sustaining and expanding initiatives.”

She also promises members “Digitization through embracing technology for efficiency and reach; Enhancing Chapter Capacity and Cooperation and Global Recognition and Affiliations”.

Neliaku plans to construct the first African Public Relations University in Nigeria, having performed project feasibility and viability studies with the Education Advisory Board as a finishing school for PR professionals.

He said he wanted to “reposition the National Secretariat for better administration; boost membership value and professional development; ensure digitalization of the institute’s activities and raise its national visibility; empower state chapters for greater profitability and sustainability.”

Neliaku also wants to “ensure regulatory compliance and strengthen the rank and status of NIPR Fellows; develop special projects for sustainable revenue generation; initiate the development of the Nigerian Reputation House in Abuja; and facilitate the establishment of Africa’s First Public Relations University in Nigeria.”

Both candidates have assured colleagues they have the reputation to make NIPR a beacon of professionalism and quality.

I wish my sister, Nkechi Ali-Balogun, and my brother, Ike Neliaku, the best in today’s AGM and election, but I encourage them to regard it as a contest among siblings rather than war, as this will strengthen their relationship and that of the perception and reputation management industry.

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