The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, has dealt a heavy blow to the professional integrity and credibility of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) by going against its well-thought-out recommendation on the appropriate qualifications and experience required of spokesmen of security services and government departments and agencies.
This is as the Nigerian Navy has just announced the resumption of office of one Commodore Adedotun Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, as the Director of Naval Information and Spokesman of the Nigerian Navy.
A Council member of NIPR who pleaded anonymity told PRNigeria that the professional body would take legal actions against the Nigerian military for the illegal appointments of non-professionals for public relations practice.
“The law establishing NIPR makes it a criminal offence for anybody to practice public relations by whatever name without certification or licensed by the professional bodies. The law provides for imprisonment, fine, or both.
“The new appointee of Awwal Gambo of the Nigerian Navy is a total novice in the communication profession as far as the NIPR is concerned as he has no background, training or experience in Public Relations, Strategic Communication or Media Practice. There are set parameters of knowledge you need to acquire before you can practice public relations.
“This development flies in the face of the consistent advocacy and repeated calls by the NIPR to ensure that only properly trained and recognized PR professionals among servicemen and civil servants should be appointed to head the Media and Publicity departments of security services and other government departments.
“It seems the Nigerian military, especially the Naval Chief Awwal Gambo has a disdain for PR practice. In the Navy headquarters and other branches, he appoints qualified and certified accountants, lawyers, engineers and Doctors to head relevant departments such as Accounting, Legal, Engineering and Medical Departments among others. Can he send a PR officer to head any of such professional branches?
Meanwhile, in a statement confirming the new appointment, the Director of Plans of the Navy, Rear Admiral JD Akpan, stated that the non-professional officer actually resumed office on Friday, February 18, 2022 about 24 hours after PR practitioners had raised concern over the planned appointment.
The release stated that Commodore Ayo-Vaughan is a member of the 43rd Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Masters Degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He also holds Masters in Defence Management, Command and Strategy, Ecole de Guerre, France and Post Graduate Certificate in Data Science and Business Analytics from the University of Texas, USA. He attended the French War College (Ecole de Guerre), Paris, France for his strategic course.
The officer is a member of a lot of professional bodies except NIPR or any other media or information-related one. The bodies he belongs to include, Nigerian Institute of Management, the Nigeria Society of International Affairs and the Royal Institute of Navigation, UK.
Until his present appointment, he was the Commandant, Nigerian Naval College, Onne.