Dr (Mrs) Grace Achum is a journalist and public relations consultant based in Lagos. She worked with the then Daily Times of Nigeria and today is the Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief of Businessplus Magazine.
Achum tells EMMANUEL UDOM, what the regime of Muhammed Buhari should do to tackle the many challenges facing our country, and the critical roles trained and certificated public relations practitioners should do at this point in time to clean-up the seeming mess in Nigeria, among others.
Recently, President Muhammed Buhari fired the service chiefs and replaced them with new ones, while there seems to be tension in our land, over insecurity and other issues. What is your take here?
Yes, we must commend Buhari for that moves, though it came too late. But, in truth, the new security chiefs have the options to perform, deliver and write their names in gold, or mess up and face the heat. Trust Nigerians, we are watching.
But Buhari, despite the insecurity situation in our land nominated the sacked security chiefs to the national assembly for approval, as ambassadors. Is this right?
The president has every right under the sun to nominate anybody for ambassadorial position. But, the question as this time is whether or not the sacked security chiefs, who were in-charge, while terrorists and criminals were literally on rampage deserve the nomination.
Off course, there are people out there who are either for, or against the nomination. But, I do think nominations should be done based on merit and performances. Did the sacked service chiefs performed? Gauge the trend, online and offline to get the likely answers.
At this point in time, what should be the role of public relations practitioners in cleaning up this seeming mess in Nigeria?
Thank you very much for this question. With all humility, I am a trained journalist and public relations practitioner with PhD. I was trained by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
Honestly, there are quacks everywhere, including public relations. However, we in NIPR are trained and equipped on crises control and management. We do not make noise, but we are hired in private and public sectors at the local, through state to the federal level.
Trained PR men and women have the capacity to handle critical situations, since we are trained strategically to manage issues and information for individuals, local governments, states, nation, and companies and other corporate bodies, etc.
There are trained and certificated public relations practitioners in the police, presidency, army, navy, airforce, DSS, national assembly, state assembly, companies, non-governmental organizations, media, manufacturing sectors, wherever.
Therefore, at this critical point in time in Nigeria, these practitioners should be hired or brought to the front burner and given free hands to use their professionalism and contacts to solve the many security, economic, social and other challenges presently facing our country.
Truth is that God is the best in public relations as stated in the Bible and in all honesty, Buhari should emulate God, who created our world in order. There is a time for everything under the sun, a time to sow and a time to reap. This is order from God, handed down to man.
If you are advice Buhari today, what will you tell him?
I will advise him to appoint public relations practitioners with media or related background training in journalism and related fields to handle the seemingly insurmountable challenges presently facing our country. Let us put square pegs in squares and make appointments based on merits, track records of performances, etc.