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Primer on an emergent core of business and communication

Primer on an emergent core of business and communication

Wole Adamolekun and Rotimi Olatunji (2022), Social Responsibility And Sustainable Development. Ibadan: Malthouse Press. ISBN978-978-58298-8-4. 309 pages.
Nothing beats a buffet served at the right time to nourish and stop hunger. Adamolekun and Olatunji’s (2022) Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development fits into this analogy. The book has come out just in time to meet the need for relevant literature for the new courses arising from the National Universities Commission’s splitting of mass communication into seven cognate courses.

The National Universities Commission (NUC) split the Mass Communication degree program into seven programs in 2019. Public Relations Studies emerged as a distinct course. Others are Journalism and Media Studies, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film and Multimedia Studies, Development Communication Studies, and Information and Media Studies.

A central argument was the need for increased specialisation to equip graduates with industry-specific skills, improve their job prospects, and advance research output in the new disciplines. These laudable objectives have since faced the formidable reality of inadequate literature and human capacity.
Social Responsibility And Sustainable Development book advances research into one of the specialisms of public relations, Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. It meets a need.

Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development by Wole Adamolekun and Rotimi Olatunji (2022) is a comprehensive book that explores the overlapping interests of these two critical concepts. The authors argue that social responsibility and sustainable development are inextricably linked, and that businesses and other organisations have a moral obligation to contribute to the sustainable development of the societies in which they operate.

The book’s ten chapters cover the theoretical foundations of social responsibility, motivations for social responsibility, social responsibility in the traditional African context, the role of business, stakeholder engagement, and case studies of social responsibility and sustainable development initiatives from around the world.

The authors locate Africa in the discourse on social responsibility, stating, “Indigenous African societies demonstrate collective and communal involvement in the business of social responsibility even before any contact with the Western social responsibility practices.” Enter the African philosophies of Ujamaa and Ubuntu. “The distinguishing feature of Ujamaa is that a person becomes successful through the people or community.”

They define CSR as “the voluntary attempt by corporate bodies to develop a convivial relationship with their host communities through giving back to the society.”
Adamolekun and Olatunji take a broad approach to social responsibility, arguing that it is not just the responsibility of large corporations. Instead, they say that all organisations, regardless of size or sector, have a role in promoting social responsibility and sustainable development.

They then expound on the role of business in social responsibility and sustainable development: The authors argue that companies have a moral obligation to contribute to the sustainable development of the societies in which they operate. They also say that social responsibility and sustainable development are good for business. By investing in social and environmental programs, companies can improve their reputation, attract and retain employees, and reduce costs.

Adamolekun and Olatunji argue that stakeholder engagement is essential for effective social responsibility and sustainable development initiatives. They define stakeholders as any individual or group affected by or able to affect the organisation. Stakeholder engagement can be used to identify and prioritise social and environmental issues, develop and implement social responsibility and sustainable development initiatives, and monitor and evaluate the impact of these initiatives.

One of the book’s key strengths is its focus on the African context. The authors argue that African businesses and organisations have a unique opportunity to contribute to sustainable development, given the continent’s rich cultural heritage and growing economic importance.

The book also includes some practical case studies of social responsibility and sustainable development initiatives worldwide. These case studies provide valuable insights into how businesses and organisations implement these concepts. Some draw from their work or consulting experiences.

The book Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development is a resource for anyone interested in learning more about these two critical topics. It is well-written, informative, and provides a practical perspective on implementing social responsibility and sustainable development initiatives.

It benefits from Dr Adamolekun’s considerable corporate practice experience. An associate professor of mass communication at Elizade University, Adamolekun has forty years of experience in Corporate Communications, Downstream Oil Sector Operations, Microcredit Administration, Youth and social Mobilization, Human Resources Management, and Entrepreneurship.

Rotimi Olatunji is a Public Relations and Advertising Professor and the immediate past Dean of Lagos State University School of Communication (LASUSOC). He received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree (First Class Honours (Archaeology)) from Obafemi Awolowo University (Ife) and his postgraduate degrees (M.A. & PhD) in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

 

There should be a sequel: The Unending Appeal of The Son of the House
Cheluchi Onyemelukwe (2021): Parresia Publishers Limited

• WINNER of the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2021 • SHORTLISTED for the Chinua Achebe Prize for Nigerian Writing 2021 • SHORTLISTED for the Scotiabank Giller Prize 2021. WINNER of the SprinNG Women Authors Prize 2020 • WINNER of the Best International Fiction Book Award, Sharjah International Book Fair 2019

At the end of this novel, the cliffhanger of many interesting turns elicited a desire for more from me. It is just as well that The Son Of The House is so riveting and dramatic that it will make the screen. Fittingly so, our Nollywood loves sequels, and films come in parts one to three.

The sequel for this book would be a first-person narrative about the son. Afam Obiechina was the backdrop in this enthralling novel that I consider Part One. I fantasise we should subsequently hear Afam’s account of his growing up and his life up to this point. It would be akin to the story of Obi Okonkwo in No Longer At Ease, a self-contained sequel to the eponymous Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

However, I go ahead of myself as Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia triggers the imagination. Her book raises many questions. The principal one for the interested reader is, what about this work that has gripped the world and made it a first-class offering like its writer earned in school?

The short answer is that The Son of the House offers a deft exploration of sensitive universal issues that tug at the hearts of citizens and societies. They include the innocence of teen romance versus betrayal, class distinctions, childlessness, and the loss of a child.

The longer is the pre-eminence of the male child in specific socio-cultural settings such as South-East Nigeria, the stage for the book, and the place of women in a patriarchal society.

The blurb of this version offers a good summary with slight editing.

“Julie and Nwabulu, two abducted women, decide to tell each other their stories to ‘pass the time’ while awaiting their loved ones to ransom them. Both women find in telling their stories that their lives intersect at significant junctions. Nwabulu, the one-time housemaid and now a successful fashion designer, finds that Julie has answers to the one ache she has carried in her heart since her late teens. Julie, a septuagenarian who has lived a life of scams, each one bigger than the last, finds that she must now confront her biggest lies”.

The Son of the House runs on two tracks of these women’s stories. The writer explores a wide range of human emotions.

The Son of the House is set in Enugu and covers 1972 to 2011. The author captures with high fidelity the physical and social setting of the city on the hill and the former capital of Eastern Nigeria. Her account shows sensitivity to details.

One of the appeals of The Son of the House is how it treats sociological issues around cultural practices and beliefs without liberal condescension, heckling or sermonizing. The author describes and allows the reader the latitude to draw her inferences and judgements.

It brings current realities such as kidnapping, youth unemployment, and politicians’ character to bear. There are also the place and role of women in a patriarchal society. Julie schemed into the kidnap and pushed for the disclosures that caused her stroke. Unravelling what happened after that is where Afam’s story begins. Julie should be alive to connect the dots.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia reminds me of the griots of old who weaved compelling narratives that taught lessons and values.

The authorial voice in this book is subtle. The language is polished, English, yet very familiar, Nigerian.

The Son of The House deserves all the accolades for the writer. Awards and recognitions include the 2020 SprinNG Women Authors Prize, the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair prize, Winner of the $100000 2021 Nigeria Prize for Literature. CBC Radio Canada listed it in the 35 Canadian books in the summer of 2021. Channels Television Nigeria named it in The Top Nigerian Books of 2019. It earned a shortlist for the 2021 Giller Prize.

Prof Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a law professor at Babcock University. She is a managing partner at Health Ethics and Law Consulting, which provides cutting-edge advice on various legal, regulatory, human rights, and policy issues in the life sciences, health, gender, social, and development sectors.

She founded CHELD, a think tank and advocacy group on health policy. It does considerable work on GBV, Mental health, NCDs, Nutrition, and Migration. CHELD is a member of the Board of Decide, a WHO global network on value for money in health.

Her gender work includes leading the development of Nigeria’s and The Gambia’s Country Gender Profiles, Nigeria’s policy on FGM, and the Health Sector’s Response to Gender-based Violence.

She holds a doctorate in law from Dalhousie University, Canada, and a First-Class degree in law from the University of Nigeria. She is the author of Health Research Governance in Africa: Law, Ethics and Regulation (Routledge).

The Son of the House kept me company from 30 November through 5 December in Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2022, during the stress caused by an airline cancelling the Freetown-Lagos flight without reason or compensation. Grab a copy to read. I highly recommend it.

QUOTES AND TIDBITS

Here’s a selection of exciting titbits and quotations about books to inspire your love of reading:

Bookish Trivia:

• The smell of old books is caused by a chemical compound called 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, also known as “the scent of old paper.”

• The world’s most miniature published book is “A Duel” by Alexander Pushkin, measuring just 0.3 x 0.3 inches.

• The Library of Congress contains over 170 million items, making it the most extensive library in the world by volume.

• The first printed book with moveable type was the Gutenberg Bible, completed in 1455.

• There’s a phobia of books called bibliophobia, although a love of books is a much more common affliction!

Quotes to Spark Inspiration:

• “Reading is a passport to countless adventures.” – Mary Pope Osborne

• “There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

• “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

• “I refuse to believe that any disorder can withstand the syndrome of a good book.” – Amos Oz

• “You don’t have to leave your house to travel the world. Read.” – Jalaluddin Rumi