The National body of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Journalists under the aegis of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) in Lagos, has applauded the stride in attainment of Fellowship position conferred on two management staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
The Fellowship investiture to the duo of Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Reuben Muoka, and Head, Media Relations in the Public Affairs Department, Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan, has been described as a call to duty, as it places them on the pedestal of being reference points to anyone ascribing to PR professionalism in Nigeria.
Speaking to the Fellowship award, the National Chairman of NITRA, Mr. Chike Onwuegbuchi noted that the awards are very befitting as Mr. Muoka and Dr. Ibietan have shown immense professionalism in their PR roles both in their present capacities at the NCC and prior.
Mr. Onwuegbuchi however challenged them to remain an example of what PR professionals should be, both in conducts and duties.
He also advised that they, in their various capacities, should endeavor to mentor and train younger Nigerians in the act and art of public advocacy and situation management in order to keep their legacy alive in decades to come.
While acknowledging the teething display of PR qualities by Mr. Muoka during his years as a journalist with Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Onwuegbuchi noted that he was instrumental to the training of those that served under him and mostly stood as a liaison between his media house and the public.
Mr. Muoka, who is the Director of Public Affairs Department at the NCC, holds a M.Sc. and a Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos with M.Sc specialisation in Public Relations and Advertising. He had earlier obtained a Bachelors degree in Performing Arts from the University of Ilorin. He is also an Associate of the Registered Practitioners of Advertising, (arpa).
Mr. Muoka was formerly the Communications Editor in Vanguard Newspapers during which he also chaired the League of Communications Correspondents. He also worked for MTS First Wireless, Nigeria’s first mobile network operator, where he rose to the position of Deputy General Manager. In 1999, Muoka received a fellowship involving a Pan-African training and tour, leading to the award of a Diploma in Journalism, at the instance of the Egyptian Ministry of Information, and the African Journalists Union (AJU), in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Ibietan earned a PhD in Communication from North-West University in South Africa. He had earlier obtained MA in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, a BA in Communication Arts from the University of Uyo, and a Journalism Diploma from the Moscow-based International Institute of Journalism, Abuja Campus. A noted advocate of freedom and democracy, he was Freedom House Nigeria Project’s Regional Media Researcher in the Niger Delta until his appointment in 2006 as Special Media Assistant to the Federal Minister of Information and Communication, during which he popularised the use of new media for public communication in Nigeria. He is a member of the African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) and the International Institute of Communications (IIC).
Ibietan joined the NCC in 2008 and was deployed to Legislative and Government Relations (LGR) Department where he was frontline liaison staff of the Commission with the National Assembly. He also served as Manager, Media and Public Relations and later, Senior Manager, Media Management until January 2017 when he was redeployed to the Public Affairs Department (PAD’s) emergent Online Media and Special Publication Unit, and subsequently designated as the head of the Unit. He also worked at the Consumer Information and Education Unit of the Commission’s Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) until his redeployment to PAD. He became an Assistant Director in January 2021 and was appointed Head Media Relations in July 2022.
Their Fellowship status at the NIPR is seen as a boost to their career.
Established in 1963, The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), is the professional body of qualified Public Relations Practitioners. The Law mandates NIPR to regulate the practice and direct the development of Public Relations as a profession in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) is an umbrella body formed in 2013 to harness the thoughts of ICT journalists in Nigeria, and contribute to the development of the industry and the economy at large. It also has a primary objective of catering to the welfare of its members to ensure conducive and progressive ICT media industry. The association, which has its registered office in Lagos, has a Chapter in Abuja.