From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has said that the 2023 elections and peaceful political transition could be jeopardised and breed chaos if the Nigerian economy continues its downward spiral.
NIPR noted that many citizens might be pushed into desperation and become economic refugees in their own country.
This observation was contained in the communique issued and signed by Chinedum Emeana,
Public Relations Officer, NIPR Rivers State chapter, at the end of the July 2021, edition of the Professional Development Series of the Rivers State Chapter of NIPR with the theme “Managing a New Normal: Bank Staff in Nigeria Expand Stakeholder Role to Chase Loan Defaulters.”
This theme was inspired by the viral video of Heritage Bank staff gathering at a Nigerian Senator’s house on a self-help loan recovery effort, possibly in a bid to keep the bank afloat.
Former National President of NIPR and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GRAIN Consulting,
Amaopusenibo Bobo Sofiri Brown was the lead presenter and led a robust discussion on the subject matter with participants comprising members of NIPR, public and private sector establishments, and academia.
The programme observed that economic instability was a “more pressing danger to national unity,” as the economy across the states, is driving citizens to desperation.
Participants expressed regret that while leading nations in the world are creating incentives to stimulate their economies to achieve high productivity and be more competitive, the Nigerian government acts as if the economy does not matter,” while urging citizens to be ‘concerned because the economy is our present and future.’
The communique noted that growing unemployment and mass poverty in the country indicates that the economy is being crippled by lawless behaviour, self-centred focus and monopoly of public revenue by a few who hold political power.
Participants also called on Nigerians to rally around Heritage Bank staff by making urgent demands on state and federal governments to keep the bank afloat by making people accountable for their reckless behaviour with depositors’ funds which threaten the employment and security of law-abiding citizens, and the survival of the banking industry.
The communique, therefore, urged the NIPR chapters in all the states of Nigeria to provide credible platforms for citizen groups, who appear to have no voice or feel powerless like the Heritage Bank staff, to stand as active stakeholder groups and learn to use legitimate means to ensure that business organisations are run with efficiency and competitiveness in order to guarantee employment and other positive benefits in the economy.