Covid-19 : Act fast and Be Proactive - Dr. Sulaimon Osho, US-based Communication Scholar Charges PR Practitioners - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Covid-19 : Act fast and Be Proactive - Dr. Sulaimon Osho, US-based Communication Scholar Charges PR Practitioners

By: Waheed Ogunjobi

As the world continue to battle the ravaging corona-virus which has continue to rattle all professions and sectors of the world economy, a United States of America-based Communication scholar, Dr. Sulaimon Osho  has advised Public Relations practitioners to act fast, by focusing on short-term needs for survival, be rational to have crisis communication plan and think ahead  as well as be pro-active as a way out of the management of Covid 19 crisis.

Dr. Osho who made this remark  in a lecture delivered at a Webinar organized  by the Ogun State Chapter of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) with the title ‘’ Public Relations and Covid-19  pandemic’’ said the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic has confirmed the definition of  crisis management  as “an unpredictable situation, an unforeseen calamity, a period of anxiety, a moment of danger, difficulty or uncertainty, especially in the administration of a commercial or non-commercial organisations’’, saying Pubic Relations professionals must rise above the challenges. 

Dr. Sulaimon Osho, Communication Schorlar,  Las Vegas USA

According to Dr. Osho  Public Relations practitioners at this critical period of pandemic need to minimize Information Technology and cyber risks and maximize remote working efficiency ;ensure the safety of staff, to work remotely and prioritize scarce access or capacity. 
He said this should be supported by  protecting  the physical and emotional health of employees and partners, saying that supporting the health of employees and business partners in Covid-19 pandemic lockdown demonstrates the organization’s integrity and values, which will motivate them to work, and make them committed and loyal to the company.

Dr. Osho further recommended thus:  ‘’Build Resilience and dynamic crisis management capacities. This is setting up a decentralized Effective Communication Teams to keep the company running with agility;  rapidly adapt to new information, risks, and opportunities, and set a new realistic priority; Conduct Stress testing and plan for extreme contingencies,  while saying that  Covid-19 has rendered every detailed plan irrelevant hence , stress testing is very crucial in this circumstance’’
He also called for the prevention of operational problems and the need to  build critical decoupling which means ensuring operational stability, possibly lowering some standards of performance, and removing policy constraints that are not realistic or practical in emergency situation. 

The Communication scholar listed the challenges of the Covid-19 for Public Relations to include world economic recess , extreme disruption of businesses , Intensification of economic implications on the corporate world, uncertain time frames. 

 Others include , addressing immediate concerns, preparing for multiple contingencies, grapping for genuine information for expert advice on the plague, tackling  misinformation on mass media and new media on Covid-19,  Keeping the business running in the face of the global lockdown, Keeping an eye on short-term and long-term horizon, exacerbation of poverty, famine, hunger, disease, and squalor among others.

 Dr. Osho further enjoined practitioners to stay close to Clients and protect their commercial franchise, saying  supporting key commercial relationships and business partnerships in crisis situation of Covid-19 will build long-lasting relationship and ties.

According to Dr. Osho, a study conducted by the College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida,USA and Peppercomm   has confirmed that every organization is prone to crisis, and Covid-19 has come as unnatural crisis in an unprecedented blanket outbreak in the entire universe within three months.

It stated further that Science and Public relations as problem-solving process truly failed from predicting the outbreak of the plague, which manifest the inadequacies of knowledge and that despite the global lockdown, the case study has proved that public relations practice is resilient in every situation to assist the organization to survive, operate, and discharge responsibilities to the internal and external publics to sustain goodwill, maintain corporate reputation, uphold mutual relationships, and public image.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Lekan Togunwa in an opening remark had expressed the hope that practitioners would be empowered ‘’ to cause a shift  in their various areas of influence, improving the business of Public Relations and influencing the world through talents and skills’’.

Mr. Lekan Togunwa, Chairman NIPR Ogun State Chapter .

He stated further : ‘’ At this critical time, our efforts is crucial to rebuilding lost hope, improving lives and building reliable and robust economy for the good of humanity’’

‘’This new normal , in my opinion , should spur us into becoming better practitioners who hold dear the principles of practice , whether or not we are being watched’’, he further stated.

Also, the National President of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Mallam Mukthar Sirajo who was also part of the webinar commended the Ogun State Chapter for always blazing the trail ,  charging that just as Covid-19 is a novel virus, the webinar  should  come up with novel PR approaches to beat the pandemic.

National President , NIPR, Mr. Mukthar Sirajo 

The Immediate Past Chairman of NIPR, Ogun State Chapter, Mr. Tope Adaramola had earlier, noted that there is no way anyone can talk about the impact of the pandemic on Public Relations, without taking a look at the impact on all sectors of the economy , saying it has affected the Public Relations publics in all aspects.

Mr. Tope Adaramola, Immediate  Past Chairman, NIPR, Ogun State Chapter 

He raised the question about what type of professional should the practitioners be and what type of message should be communicated at this crucial period, saying that the most critical element to human life is survival and health, hence the most probable communication messages should revolve around ‘’how to stay safe’’.

The webinar was well attended by members of the Ogun State Chapter, of the Nigeria Institute  of Public Relations, and members from other Chapters, Journalists, Broadcast Journalists and other interested parties from Ogun State and beyond.

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