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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Public relations were brought into existence by the ever increasing complexity of economic, social and political problems. Public relation has to be recognised and accepted as the useful tool of any organised society in conducting a peaceful election. Public relations were used many centuries ago in England, where the King made use of the Lord Chancellors as ‘Keepers of the king’s conscience’. These chancellors surely offered to historical counterpart of today’s public relation practitioners. Although, there are different views on what constitutes the range of Public Relations activities and what terms to use for them. Philip Lashy’s (1973) universe presents these activities such as corporate relations, government relations, media relations and community relations.
Ajala (2001) in her Public Relations in search of professional said that for an organisation to gain favourability, there should be public relation input in all department of the organisation, it is only in such situation that public relations would be a management function encompassing the following such as anticipating, analysing, and interpreting public opinions, attitudes, future trends and issues which might have impacts on any sections of the corporate operating and most importantly establishing and maintaining a two-way communication between the organisation and its various public in order to prevent misunderstanding and conflict. Also, in principles and practice of public relations, it is observed that those misconceptions of public relation pose a great challenge to public relations practitioners and professional association like the Institute of Public relation (IPR) United Kingdom and Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to promote a more informed discussion of what the practice involves. Since the promulgation of Decree No 16 of 1990 on the establishment of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, the commitment to and the search for excellence in Public Relations practice have become obligatory for public relation practitioners in Nigeria. Generally, it is expected that the result of this research work will be of immense significance of the conduct of the 2011 general election in Nigeria. This research findings is about the working relationship between the internal and external public i.e. government and the populace (duo of voters and aspirants)
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Public relations have become a vital activity in modern organisation. There should be public relation input in all department of Electoral Commission so that Public Relations practice would be a management function so as to establish and maintain a two-way communication between the organisation and its various public. It is against this background that this study is aimed to know whether the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an Electoral body has a Public Relations Department. It is also aim to know the role of Public Relations in the 2011 General Election and how effectively it has been in carrying out its functions in conducting a peaceful election in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose, important or the objective of this study or research work need to be stated here i.e. the function or purpose of public relations in the 2011 general elections. Some of the functions are:
– To ensure accurate, impartial objectives and balance news in the 2011 general election.
– To encounter the argument of those with an insincere opposing view about the role of public relation officer in the conduction of Election.
– To promote the good images, ideas or political issues in Nigeria to the public.
– To assist the government and it’s public to express opinion and articulate their views.
1.4 Research Question
– 1. To what essence did public relation serves as medium of communication to reach large audience in educating people during election.
– 2. Those Nigerians has good knowledge of education about the newly introduced electronic voting system?
– 3. To what assurance are the public a bar credible election in Nigeria?
– 4. How effective are the strategies of the public relations is capable of solving the national problem?
– 5. What is the people’s opinion, on the need for mutual understanding between INEC and the general public’s?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of the study is to help the public relations practitioners department of the Electoral Commission to achieve effective performance in discharging of their duties. The study is undertaken with the aim of providing some information and knowledge for the internal and external publics i.e. the government and populace i.e. the duo of votes and aspirants. Also, this study will help the public relations organisations to know whether they are achieving their objectives as regards the conduction of election in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work will cover the role of public relations in the 2011 general election. This study will also review literature that has direct correlation with the topic of this study.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study would be limited because of the following constraints:
a. Time factor: This work study is an academic work therefore a speculated time has been stated for its completion.
b. Financial constraint. Inadequate literary materials: Most of the literary that are close to the researcher are poorly equipped this would limit the available chance for extensive literature review.
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