PR Strategies In Times Of Crisis

By Ikenga Chronicles December 12, 2019

PR Strategies In Times Of Crisis

— Richard Akinnola II

I’m not a member of NIPR, neither am l a public relations practitioner. But l know the generic concept of public relations as a novice. Hence, this example.

Alozie Ogugbuaja, CSP of police was the popular Lagos State police public Relations Officer. Urbane and cerebral, he is a graduate of Mass Communications from University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Apart from being the Lagos police spokesperson in the mid-80s, he also maintained a regular column in the then Sunday Times.

Alozie was a unusual and unconventional police image maker, a move that endeared him to many, particularly journalists and lawyers. I used to go to his office at Oduduwa, Ikeja GRA to drink palm wine. He always had original, chilled palmwine in his refrigerator.

Due to his unconventional mode of operation, police enjoyed lots of goodwill from the public.

I will give two instances where he used his PR strategy to solve two problems.

Lagos journalists held a protest rally over the clampdown of journalists by the military junta. Guess what, Alozie joined in the rally in his uniform! Ordinarily, police would have sent MOPOLS to disperse the protesters but Alozie disarmed the journalists by joining them. This earned him a query by the CP. In his reply, he told the CP that he too was a journalist and that journalism being his first constituency, he had to identify with them. That singular act reduced the tension between the press and the government, as he earned the trust and confidence of the journalists.

In another instance, students of the University of Lagos were demonstrating, barricaded the gate of the campus and were battle ready for the police, which could lead to loss of lives. There was palpable tension.

Alozie convinced the Commissioner of Police to allow him handle the situation. He drove down, parked his car at a convenient distance and walked down unarmed to the gate of the campus to meet the protesting students. A great risk he took. But because of his image, people trusted him. He met the students, spoke their language by greeting them “Great Nigerian students! Greatest of the greatest Unilag students!!” They responded “Great!!!”

He had a rapport with them, tactically disarmed them with his charm and demeanor and the students dispersed.

Why do l give these examples? There are PR strategies that can solve myriad of problems in times of political crisis.