Â It could be said that the first Public Relations Officer of the University of Nigeria was its founder Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He wrote several articles in the Press and gave many speeches to justify the establishment of the University. Here is a Foreword he contributed, marking the silver jubilee of UNN titled, â€œUniversity of Nigeria 1960â€“85: An experiment in higher education.â€
Vision, Mission and Objectives
To communicate the vision of the University of Nigeria which is not only responsive to the needs of the society butÂ also the demands of global education and knowledge, in line with her basic objectives of seeking the truth, teaching the truth and preserving the truth.
To create a positive image of the University in the minds of her various public through sustained internal communication, media engagement and proactive management of information about the University.
The Public Relations Department of the University shall utilize communication to:
(i)Â Â Â Create a positive image of the University in the minds of her various publics
(ii)Â Â Promote the University to the world
(iii) Facilitate communication with her stakeholders in order to keep them abreast of developments in the University as well as involve them in the decision-making process.
(iv) Create awareness about the Universityâ€™s vision, develop and sustain both vertical and horizontal communications on issues concerning the University and the stakeholders.
(v)Â Â Â Identify crisis situations before they define themselves in form of crisis.
(vi)Â Â Manage crisis where they eventually erupt.
(vii)Â Function as a lead agency for re-orientation to check skepticism, self-doubt and cynicism among the University staff and students.
(viii)Â Â Â Create a channel for continuous communication between the administration and students on the one hand, and the administration and staff on the other hand.
(ix)Â Â Â Position the University both locally and internationally as a global player in the generation of knowledge.
(x)Â Â Â Serve as a strategic agency in communicating the Universityâ€™s contributions to knowledge and academic excellence.
Information and Public relations as a department metamorphosed from the Registry. Since the inception of the University in 1960, Information and Public relations department had been under the supervision of the Registrar.Â The primary function of the department was to publish bi-monthly or monthly information bulletins on issues of interest to the University Community. The unit occasionally reacted to some issues touching on the image of the University in the Press. Public relations function was ad hoc at that time was not really given proper attention.
However, in 1975, the situation began to change. The first Public Relations officer Mr. Dike Ogu was appointed to give a more serious and focused attention to Public relations matters. With the emergence of Mr. Ogu , a new eraÂ in public relations function startedÂ in the University. The office was now empowered to discharge its statutory function of maintaining a two-way communication between the university and its various publics. For instance, it was now a lot easier to inform the internal public comprising staff and students of any issue affecting the University. The improved communication reduced stories from the grapevine and created a better environment for teaching and learning for all the stakeholders in the University.
The highpointÂ Â in the development of Information and Public Relations department in the University came on June 4, 1990 when the then Vice-Chancellor Professor Chimere Ikoku transferred Information and Public Relations department from the Registry to Vice-Chancellorâ€™s office with Mr. C. Gozie Arazu as the University Public Relations Officer. Since then, access to management information became easier as the Public Relations officer was invited to Management and other strategic meetings in the University. The public relations officer became part of the decision making process which enabled him to inform the various University publics properly and accurately on issues affecting the University.Â Of course, this is in line with the management function of todayâ€™s public relations practice.
Under the present administration, headed by Professor Bartho Okolo, the Information and Public Relations department has been given a very big boost. First the Vice-Chancellor has engaged an experienced public relations practitioner, Mr. Gabriel Ndu to oversee the department as the Communication secretary to the Vice-Chancellor. The department is being restructured for effectiveness. It will have five functional areas with appropriate personnel to effectively key into the vision of the University when the exercise is completed.
The areas include, Electronic Communication Unit, Internal Communication/Community Relations, Press Relations, and Protocol/Event Management. Also the Information and Public relations units of campuses at Enugu, including College of Medicine and Aba shall be strengthened to meet with the communication challenges of the time.
To improve internal communication, faculty liaison officers have been appointed to work with the Information and Public Relations department to properly coordinate information management in the University.Â Â Â The invitation has also been extended to Centres and Directorates of the University.Â The goal for all the effort is to improve both internal and external communicationÂ Â in order to help the Administration realize its vision of creating â€œa functional, globally competitive and research focused University of Nigeria which is not just an ivory tower, but responsive to the needs of society while delivering world class Education and Knowledge.â€
Public Relations Officers from 1975-2011
1.Â Â Â Dike Ogu
Pioneer Public Relations Officer,Â 1975 â€“ 1987, 1992-1995
2.Â Â Â C. Gozie Arazu
3.Â Â Â Dr. C. Osita Uzuegbunam
4.Â Â Â Samuel Onuora Ezeugwu
July 23, 2003 â€“ January 9, 2008 (in acting capacity)
5.Â Â Â C. Gozie Arazu:
January 2008 â€“ July 2009
6.Â Â Â Michael O. Asogwa
August 2009 â€“ September 2010 ((in acting capacity)
7.Â Â Â Dr. Nnanyelu Okoro
Ag. Public Relations officer
September 2010 â€“ April 2011
8.Â Â Â Gabriel C. Ndu
Communication Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor
April 2011 â€“ Date
The Information & Public Relations Department is headed by Mr. Michael O. Asogwa, the Communication Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor.
1. Michael O. Asogwa is an Assistant Registrar in the department. He joined the department in 2006 and holds B.Ed, M.EdÂ degrees from the University and a Diploma in Mass Communication.
2. Chukwudi A. Udeji is a Senior Executive Officer in the department and holds a B.Sc. degree in Science education from the University. He joined the department in 2005.
3. Hilary C. Attah joined the department in 2009 as a Higher Executive Officer. He holds B.Sc. in Social Work & Community Development of the University of Nigeria.
4. Mrs. Dorothy U. Emenako is a Higher Executive Officer in the Department. She holds a BA degree in Religion of the UNN. She joined the department in 2007.
5. Gregory N. Ezeme is an Assistant Executive Officer. He has a Diploma from Federal School of Social Work, Emene, Enugu. He joined the Department in 2006.