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Professionally Speaking, Bola Tinubu’s Bike Isn’t a PR Masterstroke! -By Isaac Asabor

For the sake of clarity, the seven processes when passed through will answer the question, “Does PR Work?” They are not processes anyone will pass through within 48 hours as Haruna hurriedly did in this case. He cannot be blamed, because, like most people, he was in a hurry to lampoon those he perceived to be mockers and political traducers.

There is no denying the fact that more often than not the public relations industry does a terrible job of while trying to satisfy its clients. Simply put, strategies adopted by PR experts sometimes boomerang.

Very few people can explain what people in public relations really do. If you are a mechanic, an engineer construction worker, or a driver, everybody unarguably knows your job function.  The reason for the foregoing cannot be farfetched as the results of their jobs are readily measurable and easily explained to the client that his once-damaged property has been repaired. Unfortunately, the measurability of a Public Relations job is ambiguous, and more often than not known to experts in the field as they know at what point to say that the set objectives of the assignment have been accomplished.

As a mass communicator, and a certified public relations professional under the auspices of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) as well as a practicing Journalist, I humbly disagree with Abdullahi O. Haruna’s view as conveyed to the public through his article titled “The Bola Tinubu Bike; A PR Masterstroke” published in Opinion Nigeria and dated October 3, 2022.

The basis for my disagreement lies in his hasty evaluation, and choice of words, particularly the word, “Masterstroke”. As defined in Collins dictionary, “A masterstroke is something you do which is unexpected but very clever and which helps you achieve something”. For instance, the company played a masterstroke in promoting her to director of innovation”. Its Synonyms cut across: an act of genius, victory, triumph.

In as much as I am not in this piece dwelling on the state of health of the former governor of Lagos State and the presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), it is expedient to correct an erroneous impression conveyed in Haruna’s panegyric and emotionally-filled article. It is pragmatic to say in this context that people are merely anxious about handling the economy to a leader that may always be out of the country to take of his health. Aptly put, Nigerians are looking at the implications of managing the economy, once again, in absentia as we have suffered enough in the last 7 years and more. I bet you no Nigerian is favorably disposed to go for the second round of suffering as been experienced at the moment. God forbid, affliction shall not rise for the second time. From whichever way it is looked at, Tinubu is an experienced leader and a goal-getter. We all witnessed how he governed Lagos in the absence of allocations from the Federal Government. Nobody is saying that he is not a good leader but most people’s hands are tied based on the previous excruciating experiences from ill-health suffered by leaders on the economy.  It can even be tolerated if there is a dependable and reliable vice-president.

Be that as it may, let me come back to my viewpoint that your choice of word “Masterstroke” is inappropriate for now. I doubt if you even made any attempt to pass through the seven processes required for you to have passed through before you arrived at the conclusion that the PR stunt is a masterstroke.

For the sake of clarity, the seven processes when passed through will answer the question, “Does PR Work?” They are not processes anyone will pass through within 48 hours as Haruna hurriedly did in this case. He cannot be blamed, because, like most people, he was in a hurry to lampoon those he perceived to be mockers and political traducers.

To answer the question, press clippings have to be carried out. One way to gauge your success is to track the number of press clippings on the issue, including this piece you are reading at the moment.  With this, you can ascertain the media impression, then move on to content analysis. Then to ascertain the website traffic, Lead Sourcing, Market Surveys, and Social Media Mentions, before you can hysterically jump up to announce that the stunt is a masterstroke.

To me, the PR Stunt is a blunder because if the evaluation was professionally done, the writer of the piece would have arrived at the findings that the bike is not for every day and everybody’s use. It is specifically used to attend to patients in the field of Physiotherapy. Then, what is Physiotherapy? “Physiotherapy is the treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a patient’s mobility, function, and well-being. Physiotherapy helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health and fitness. Physiotherapists get you involved in your own recovery”.

Again, it is also expedient to let Haruna know that not a few people are asking questions about when the physiotherapy exercise was carried out, and such facilities are not in Nigeria, particularly Lagos and Abuja.

At this juncture, permit me to say that truth is the most important, if not most necessary, value in public relations. Truth revolves around every aspect of our jobs, from our media relations to our internal communications. In a way, you could say truth is the categorical imperative within public relations. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to get exposure and coverage of your brand. Most importantly, you would not be building a positive, open relationship with your internal and external audiences.

The reason why the truth ought to have been expedient in this case is that nobody is immune from sickness. People get sick and become healthy. Saying the truth can even attract sympathy from the public, and therefrom earn unexpected massive votes from the public. How about that? Given the foregoing where is the masterstroke as the stunt unarguably confirmed what the public were afraid of?

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