Useful Lessons I Learn from PR master – By Adeyemi Ibrahim Olarotimi
This is a lesson of life from Yushau Shuaib to campus journalists.
I doff my brows for a distinguished public relations practitioner in Nigeria, Yushau Abdulhameed Shuaib. I have been accused several times on campus of being a critical radical campus journalist, who does not know how to compromise saying the fact and nothing but the fact.
Now, I have come again to say some facts about the iconic public relation practitioner, and to reveal some lessons of life that Nigerians must learn from his life and style. But then, I will agree that my mouth may be too stinky for me to cut a cola nut and share it with anyone, and whenever I speak with my malodorous mouth, I fart some unpleasant odour of facts and truth to the nose of crime perpetrators. Those facts are what the evil-minded ones will always want to trample at all costs.
There are thousands of birds in the bush, but the peacock seems the best. There are countless and numberless of public relation practitioners in Nigeria, but Yushau Shuaib seems to be distinctive and exclusive. Let the village rats hear and tell that of the city, I do not intend to use high-faluting phraseologies to paint his personality with hyperbolic words of aggrandisement, but to express my encounter with the encounterer of the spymaster, Yushau Shuaib.
I have met him before I knew him, and I have known him before I met him. Yes, I have met his public relations crusading towards peaceful coexistence in Nigeria and read some of his thought-provoking write-ups that engineered the castigation of injustice, sycophancy and hypocritical hypocorism before I met him mano a mano.
Moreover, I have doctored and mastered his just-published book entitled: “Boko Haram Media War: An Encounter with the Spymaster.” I have read the front and back of the book, which unveils some open secrets about Shuaib and his charismatic profession. I deem it germane to share some of my experience with him so far.
However, since “experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lessons afterwards,” let me whisper some lessons of life from Shuaib to want-to-be journalists and writers.
LESSON NUMBER ONE
Dream while you work; don’t dream while you sleep and snore. Thousands of students dream and have mountainous aims to become icons in the future. Many want to become iconic journalists, writers, and what have you, in the nearest future, but only very few work as they dream. They rather sleep and wait for faith and fortune of God to come. I will affirm that efforts of man corroborate with his fortune and fate. Why don’t you learn from Shuaib, who was inspired to be a public relations practitioner during his university days? He did not only dream, he worked towards his dreams by engaging himself in campus journalism actively, in spite of the fact that he studied mass communication. Tell yourself today: ‘I can do it’. And you’ll see yourself doing it.
LESSON NUMBER TWO
Let your passion overshadow your interest in journalism. It’s said that passion is the only weapon a journalist has over evil-crafters. Many people have interest in good things yet, they are not making it. What they lack, as I have confirmed before I affirmed, is passion, commitment and dedication. Kenneth Blanchard had rightly differentiated between commitment and interest. He said: “There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you only do it when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” The secret behind the success of Yushau Shuaib in his profession is his passion and commitment that overshadow his interest in his PR job. He once said: “Writing is my hobby, PR is my profession.” Make your passion your profession today, and you will enjoy your life tomorrow.
LESSON NUMBER THREE
Prepare to fail in life, so as to succeed in the long run. One of the problems of the want-to-be writers is that most of them are afraid to fail; they are afraid to write something that may provoke jest. But then, a cradle that is afraid to fall will fail to walk. Failure is inevitable in life! The path to success is always full of torments and failures. That is why Dr Tai Solarin said: “May your road be rough this year.” Behind any successful man, there must be a failure. Shuaib faced many challenges in life as a writer and as a public relations practitioner. The adage that says there is no sweet without sweat and no paean without pain is a fact that must be told. Series of awards and glory, which has been recorded in the book of history for Shuib is traceable to lots of persecutions and failures he has encountered. It is very important to note that “failures and mistakes can be a bridge, not a barricade to success.”
LESSON NUMBER FOUR
Be brave like a lion; be fearless even to kill an insane lion. So many people know the truth, but to say it is the problem. Bravery is the quality of a successful person. It is good to be harmless as a dove but to act like a lion. A brave person must be able to do things that are as risky, as attempting to kill an insane lion. When Shuaib wrote a thought-provoking essay and was told to apologise for stating his candid opinion, he declined and he was forcefully retired prematurely from the Public Service. He was brave enough to stick to his wording and stand by it. Shuaib, the PR lion said: “Dasuki attempted to influence my return into the civil service, but I was reluctant. I had decided to rather work for the government but not inside government, so as to enjoy my liberty of self-expression and doing what I like rather than being another subservient civil servant.” I wholeheartedly agree with what he said, because it is better to be a lion for a day than to be a sheep forever. Long ago, people would say wealth lay in lion’s mouth, but now wealth lies in its intestine. So, he who will kill the lion must also be a lion.
To cap it all, Shuaib is a mirror of greatness to infant journalists, writers and public relations practitioners. As he grows, he trains and empowers youth who are willing to follow his path. He is a personification of simplicity. Shuaib is not like the well-fed who do not care if others are dying of hunger.
Nevertheless, it is possible to have pages without history, but it is impossible to have history without pages. Those who made pages in the book of history are those who have served selflessly, those who did not only grow but grew others.
John Ruskin said: “True leadership always begins with servanthood, while selfishness always ends in self-destruction.” Shuaib is not just a PR practitioner; he is a lector and mentor for thousands of people in Nigeria.
•Olarotimi, a student of English Language, is president of National Association of Campus Journalists, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.