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ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION IN NIGERIA

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Abstract: The study examined the role of public relations in local government administration in Nigeria with a focus on Isin Local Government, Kwara State. Therefore, public relations has remained a powerful tool in building and maintaining good image in local government. The study’s theoretical foundation was Grunig’s Four Public Relations Models. The study used a survey research method with questionnaire as a data collection instrument. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data (frequency and percentage method). Results indicated that local government officials in Isin had come to understand the value of the department of public relations while, The main result of public relations in the local administration of Isin was improved communication, The public was made aware of government programmes and policies, and it helped close the communication gap. According to earlier statements made throughout this research effort, the research suggested that it is crucial for public relations officers to be a part of the management. It is crucial for a public relations head/manager to be a member of the decision-making body because public relations serve as an advisory function to management, and it can only advise people on what they know or participate in. (management).


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

            The concept of “Publics” has become synonymous with public relations. This is simply based on the fact that without publics there cannot be “public relations”. No publics, nothing to relate with. Thus, the whole idea of public relations begins with publics and ends with publics because the public relations stands on the point that organisations, whatever or whichever the type, must maintain and sustain mutual understanding and relationships with their various publics. No wonder it is rare to see any definition of public relations without the concept “PUBLICS” not mentioned. For instance, the most popular acceptable definition of public relations offers by the British Institute of Public Relations states that “Public relations is a deliberate, planned and sustained efforts to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics” cited in (Ogbiten, 2014).

            However, public relations plays a vital role in local government administration by serving as the link between the government and the public. Public relations in local government administration involves managing communication and developing relationships between the government and various stakeholders, including residents, businesses, media outlets, and other governmental organizations. The effective implementation of public relations strategies in local government administration can help to build trust, promote transparency, and improve the overall reputation of the government (Adams, 2018).

            Public relations in local government administration is essential for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is to promote transparency and accountability. Local governments have a responsibility to be transparent in their decision-making processes and communicate their actions to the public. Through effective public relations strategies, local governments can ensure that they are transparent in their operations and that they are held accountable for their actions.

            Another essential role of public relations in local government administration is to build trust between the government and the public. Trust is vital in ensuring that the government can effectively carry out its functions and responsibilities. When the public trusts the government, they are more likely to participate in government programs and initiatives, pay their taxes, and cooperate with law enforcement (National League of Cities, 2019).

            Public relations in local government administration also plays a crucial role in promoting public participation in government programs and initiatives. Through effective communication, local governments can inform the public about the programs and services available to them and encourage them to participate in these initiatives (Adams, 2018)

            Meanwhile. local governments can use a variety of public relations strategies to build trust and promote transparency. One of the most effective strategies is to establish a proactive media relations program. This involves building relationships with local media outlets and providing them with accurate and timely information about government activities. By doing so, local governments can ensure that the media is reporting on government activities accurately and that the public is well-informed (Gilmore, 2020).

            Another essential public relations strategy in local government administration is to develop a strong social media presence. Social media provides local governments with an effective way to communicate with the public, share information about government programs and services, and engage with residents (Bright, 2018).

            By and large, public relations plays a vital role in local government administration. It is essential for promoting transparency, building trust, and promoting public participation in government programs and initiatives. By implementing effective public relations strategies, local governments can improve their reputation, build strong relationships with the public, and effectively carry out their responsibilities.

            It is obvious that the work of public relations is needed in almost in every society, organizations, both the profit and non-profit organizations, to include government institutions like local government In fact, individual in the society also need the service of public relations especially those individuals that are profession or expert such as musicians, athletes and politicians e.t.c. To this end, the research examined the use of public relation practice in government institutions with a particular focus on Oluyole Local Government, Kwara Sate. In this research PR efforts and usefulness shall be revealed especially as it helps in building and enhancing communication in the grass-root.

1.2      Statement of the Problem

            This research observed that in so many organizations, management neither recognizes nor appreciate public relations efforts especially in local government administrations i.e the management, individuals, or government institutions do not realize the potential of public relations activities in building and enhancing a good image and responsive communication for the success of the institution.

            It has also been observed that the management’s attitude is lukewarm and non-challant towards public relations department or unit and it activities, as a result, they don’t want to spend money on its activities such as organizing seminars, workshops, symposium e. t. c, unlike marketing activities.

            Equally, little of a few studies have been carried out on the role of public relations in local government administration unlike the role of public relations in manufacturing organizations and where available, they were either more than a decade which is obsolete (Tom, 1988); (Onojegwo, 2010). Again some of the work was not conducted in Nigeria which makes it a problem to replicate it findings in Nigeria.

          It is against this backdrop that the study investigated the impact of public relations in enhancing the use of public relations practice in government institutions with a particular focus on Isin Local Government, Kwara State.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

  1. To study the impact of public relations in Isin local government Kwara Sate.
  2. To examine if public relations has helped Isin local government in building and maintaining mutual understanding between the council top management and its various publics.
  3. To find out whether public relations unit of Isin local government in Kwara Sate has improved the reputation of the council.

1.4       Research Questions

  1. What are the impacts of public relations in Isin local government, Kwara State?
  2. How has public relations helped Isin local government in building and maintaining a mutual understanding between the council top management and its various publics?
  3. Has Public relations unit of Isin local government in Kwara State improved the reputation of the council?

1 .5     Scope of the Study

            The study which investigates role of public relations in local government administration has been narrowed in scope to Isin local government, Kwara Sate. Thus, the geographical of this study is Isin local government, Kwara Sate. Hence, the choice of this location is due to the proximity to the researcher, inadequate time and fund among other logistics to study much local government in Kwara Sate. However, the demography of the staff and management of Isin local government, Kwara Sate will be investigated such as: age, sex, working experience, academic qualification considered before the distribution of questionnaires.

1.6       Significance of the Study

            The significance of a study on the role of public relations in local government administration in Isin local government, Kwara Sate is as follows:

Improving communication: The study can provide insights into how public relations can be used to improve communication between the local government and the public. This can lead to better understanding of government policies and programs, and more effective implementation of these programmes.

Enhancing accountability: The study can highlight the role of public relations in promoting transparency and accountability in local government administration. This can help build trust between the government and the public, and ensure that public resources are used effectively.

Fostering community engagement: The study can provide strategies for local government to engage with the community, and encourage public participation in decision-making. This can lead to more inclusive governance and better outcomes for the community.

Informing policy: The study can provide insights into the effectiveness of public relations strategies in local government administration, and inform policy decisions on how best to engage with the public.

Contributing to the literature: The study can contribute to the academic literature on public relations and government administration, and provide a case study for future research on this topic.

            Overall, a study on the role of public relations in local government administration in Isin local government in Kwara Sate can provide valuable insights into how public relations can be used to improve governance and promote accountability and community engagement.

1.7       Operational Definition of the Terms

Influence: This refers to the functions or contributions of public relations to local government easy administration.

Public Relations: This is a department or unit that is saddled with the responsibility of planning and sustaining mutual to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

Publics: There are the set of individuals ranging from local government staff, workers, hosting community(ies) associated with Isin local government.

Isin Local government: This is one of the local government in Kwara Sate.


WHAT TO EXPECT: (Format: MS WORD, Chapter 1-5, Abstract, Table of Contents, Questionnaire and References)


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