The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Thursday extolled Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade’s sterling achievements in the area of aggressive industrialisation of the state despite paucity of fund.

Members of the Institute are in Calabar for a 3-day workshop with the theme “Lobbying and Social Change in Nigeria”

Speaking at the Transcorp Hotel, Calabar, venue of the workshop, while conferring the governor with Distinguished Leadership Industrialisation Award, national president of the Institute, Mallam Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo said: “This award is in recognition of your Industrialisation feats. It takes a combination of education, intellect, dedication, foresight, visionary leadership and commitment to achieve what you have achieved so far in the area of Industrialisation.

“Under your watch, Cross River has joined the global Industrialisation map and this is despite paucity of funds.”

Responding, the Cross River state governor thanked the NIPR for finding him worthy of an award, saying it came to him as a surprise and pledged his administration’s continued accelerated socio- economic development of the state.

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On the theme of the workshop, Ayade called on the NIPR to drive a process for a structural overhaul of lobbying as catalyst for social change in Nigeria, saying unless this was done, “from the Nigerian context, lobbying will continue to be equated with bribery and corruption.”

The governor also made a case for the inclusion of lobbying as a distinct course of study in institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Minister for Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed represented by the General Manager NTA, Calabar, Samuel Olalude, described lobbying as a veritable tool for packaging communications and advocacy for social issues.

According to the Minister, through lobbying, Public relations experts can play an important role in ensuring that messages are communicated accurately.