This work is aimed at looking into the impact of public relations in First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. First Bank is a corporate organisation with network of branches. Public Relations role in First Bank of Nigeria PLC cannot be over emphasized because the services of First Bank must satisfy the aspirations of its publics. This research identifies how public relations can help in maintaining high acceptable corporate identity, corporate image and corporate communication in First Bank PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. The survey research method was used in this study as the population was picked amongst the internal and external publics of First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. Copies of questionnaire were administered to the respondents to elicit information that helped in the organisation of data and presentation. The researcher showed that public relations can help in uplifting the image of First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. The researcher recommended that First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters should consult a public relations practitioner in dissemination of information to its publics.




Background of the study

For proper perception and understanding of this work, it will be wise to trace the historical background of the bank under study which is First Bank of Nigeria Limited in line with background of Public Relations. According to Edward Louis Bernays, Public Relations is “Practically as old as society”. Patrick Jackson, a publisher of the Public Relations society of America (PRSA) asserts that Public Relations arose from the basic need of building and improving human relationship which existed immediately God created Adam and Eve. The concept of Public Relations has been with man. The creation of Public Relations between the creator and the creature both bought harmony and understanding in their relationship. Public Relations, however, existed during the days of Moses. Moses was a stutter and needed someone who would convey message to the Israelites on his behalf. Aaron, his brother was appointed; therefore, he was a link between the Israelites and Moses. From the biblical perspective, Aaron was a public relations officer. Thus, public relations has been practiced, even if only amateurish, since the beginning of mankind.

In ancient societies, human communication was limited by space and time. Due to the absence of modern technology, majority of the people lived simple lives in farms and small settlement. Therefore, communication flow in the olden days was primarily personal. The potentials and application of Public Relations increased as societies became more urbanised, civilized and complex. As population increased, so did the need problems of Public Relations.  Public Relations as a paid profession began in 1900, when the first public relations agency, the publicity Bureau, was founded. Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, who are both referred to as the father of Public Relations, helped etablish the field as a professional practice in the United State. Arthur W. page is considered the father of corporate Public Relations. The field became more established after world war 11, in part due to talent from war-time publicity efforts moving into the private sector. Trade associations, industry publications and academic journals were developed. Some of today‟s largest Public Relations agencies were founded in the 1950s and began competing globally in Europe and Asia in the beginning in the 60s and 70s.

The 1900s were marked by „explosive growth‟ for the Public Relations field- Internet technologist and social media changes public relations tactics, agencies consolidated and new specialties were introduced such as investors relations and community relations.

Public Relations practice in Nigeria was introduced from Britain through the vehicle of colonialism. The introduction of Public Relations practice in Nigeria was done through the initiatives of the colonial government and its obedient servants. Being an adjact of Journalism, Public Relations became an important element in public communication in the colonial days. The pioneers were non-natives. Many of the existing newspapers were already enjoying patronage of the people and those in government. The government felt the need for another branch of communication which would convey subtly, its feelings to the people without really going through the rigours of mental composition of communication acts. During the Second World War (1940), the government urged for more channels of communication which became more pronounced, especially the need to present and analyse information about the war. This eventually led the government to establish an office of information where correct information about the war efforts was sent out to people through the wireless.

This was in January 1, 1944. Later in 1944, this information office was changed to Public Relations office to really make its functions strictly tailored towards image making and creating favourable impressions about the war itself. The Public Relations office began to play a role which served the Nigerian press and their consumers tremendously. It placed its information facilities at their disposal and provided them with photographs on the prosecution of the war. Two Nigerian newspapers, the West Africa Pilot and Daily Service wrote edition on this development calling for the setting up of a permanent Public Relations office as early as the early forties. It was this Public Relations outfit set up by the colonial government that metamorphosed into the Federal Information Service in 1950.

In 1963, the Nigerian Institution of Public Relation s (NIPR) was established as a regulatory body for Public Relations practice in Nigeria.