Evolution of Public Relation in Nigeria

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Evolution of Public Relation in Nigeria

By | June 2013
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Nigeria gained its independence on October 1, 1960. In 1963 it became a Federal Republic and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with about 140 million people (2006 national census) and the largest concentration of Black people in the world. One in five Africans is a Nigerian. There are about 250 ethnic groups, with three major tribes constituting over 40 percent of the population: the Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba. Other major ethnic/linguistic groups include the Tiv, Ibibio, Ijaw, Kanuri, Nupe, Gwari, Igala, Jukun, Igbira, Idoma, Fulani, Itsekiri, Edo, Urhobo and the Anang, and there are approximately 374 dialects within these ethnic groups. The official language is English, but indigenous languages are also commonly used, and most Nigerians understand and speak the “broken English” (Pidgin English). The most popular religions in Nigeria include Islam, Christianity and the worship of several indigenous deities.

Formal public relations practice in Nigeria can be traced back to January 1, 1944 when the British colonial administrators established the first Public Relations Department.2
The department was headed by Mr D.C. Fletcher, as the leader of a group of staff, which included a public relations officer, an assistant public relations officer, a process engraver, a press officer, a publicity artist, an antiquities officer, a photographer, a films officer, a radio officer and a confidential secretary. The function of the department was mainly to carry out “public enlightenment” programs relating to government activities. The colonial administrators targeted selected publics, such as Nigerian soldiers who participated in World War II as part of the British Army. After Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, the public relations department was transferred to the newly created Federal Ministry of Information (FMI) where it continued with information activities for its various publics. Typical information and public health campaigns...

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