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Ayade tasks NIPR on regulation of lobbying as profession

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Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade, has charged the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to regulate the practice of lobbying as a profession.

He gave the charge yesterday at a three-day workshop organised by the NIPR with the theme: Lobbying And Social Change In Nigeria, adding that lobbying should not be seen as corruption.

Ayade, who was Special Guest of Honour said: “The use of money to influence decisions is corruption so how do you deal with a situation where people advocate lobbying without necessarily bringing out the essential elements that brings the poison that comes with lobbying?”

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He argued that there was a thin line between lobbying and corruption adding: “Our attitude and orientation in Nigeria does not allow us to clearly see the distinction between corruption and lobbying, except such laws are so strong and stiff.

“And those who will draft the laws, guidelines and framework on lobbying must spell out clearly the essentials that constitute corruption. There must be structural and normative framework that should guide regulation of lobbying as a profession and until that dissection is done, people will simply be marketing corruption.”

Also speaking, President and Chairman of NIPR Council, Mukhtar Sirajo, explained that lobbying was fast becoming a potent tool for advocacy being used by many groups or individuals when particular issues of interest are undergoing legislative process.

He stressed that the workshop would attempt to address the perceived overlap between lobbying and Public Relations (PR), distinguish between the two, while also outlining the objectives of both,” he said.

Chairman, NIPR Education Advisory Board, Prof. Emmanuel Dandaura, stressed that lobbying should be seen as a tool for public relations function, adding that it gives room for negotiation mostly in politics.  

“Without lobbying, governments will struggle to sort out the many competing interests of their citizens,” he said.

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