Kabir Dangogo @70: Celebrating a Veteran PR Guru
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
It is safe to conclude that he was a doyen of Public Relations. Yet, Mallam Kabiru Dangogo is one celebrated public figure, yours truly never dream of meeting someday. Of course, I have heard about his radiant, vivacious and affable personality. I have read the deluge of tributes about him, published by ace writers, on notable tabloids. The way he revolutionized the profession of PR. His brilliant exploits as a crisis communicator cum manager.
Born on February 21, 1949, Mallam Kabiru Dangogo schooled and bagged different academic degrees from both Ohio University, Athens, United States in 1981, and University of Leicester, United Kingdom (UK) in 1987. He was the Managing Editor of New Nigerian Newspaper between 1988 and 1989. He was once a Senior Lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic (KADPOLY) in the late 80s; and then became the Press Adviser, for the United States Information Service in 1990.
After 32 years of working for various corporate organizations, Dangogo voluntarily retired at Union Bank on June 26, 2005, as the Assistant General Manager (AGM) Corporate Affairs.
He is a member of several professional bodies across the globe. In 1981, he was elected a Fellow of the International Radio and Television Society (IRTS) New York. He was the founding President of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) between 1986 and 1988.
In 1996, he received the NIPR President’s Award for Excellence in Public Relations; and became a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in 2000; a Fellow of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in 2005. He also received the Lagos State Chapter of the NIPR Award for Excellence in Public Relations in 2005, among others.
The NIPR Fellow was also a one-time Secretary-General of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) from 2002 to 2006, while also been the Chairman, Nigeria Chapter of the International Public Relations Associations (IPRA) between 2002 and 2006.
Mallam Dangogo was all these, and even more, some years ago. Then, I would soon get to have a chance meeting and acquaint myself with him. At the Image Merchant Promotions Limited (IMPR’s) main office in Wuye, he visited Alhaji Yushau Shuaib. Though Dangogo’s protégé, Shuaib is someone who has since gone ahead to etch his name in gold in Nigeria’s PR firmament. He has won every merit award that is there to be won in the field of PR, especially on Crisis Communication. He has been recognized for his professional excellence and extraordinary accomplishments as a prolific image-maker. Both here, and outside the shores of the country.
Just recently (last October specifically), he travelled to Barcelona, hometown of one of the most glamorous football clubs in the world, Barca. While he went empty-handed, Shuaib, the author of the classic bestseller, “An Encounter with the Spymaster”, came back with beautiful award plaques. But I can’t say if YAShuaib, as my boss will prefer to call himself, got a monetary prize attached with the award he carted away in Spain. If he did, we, his staff, weren’t told.
Sorry. I digress. Back to the tale of Mallam Dangogo’s visit to IMPR office. Like he came, he left quietly, but with an infectious smile beaming all over his face. I would have concluded that the elderly, yet cheerful man was an angel. But no. I was yet to arrive at that conclusion when YAShuaib sauntered into our newsrooms. I was dazed when he, upon entering said, “Mahmud, do you know the man that just left right now? Well, if you don’t know, that’s one of the doyen of Public Relations in Nigeria.”
However, I was excited that though I couldn’t get to speak to him, I saw the inimitable PR juggernaut who I only knew on the pages of newspapers.
Thursday, February 21, 2019, was the day the veteran PR guru turned 70. Again, YAShuaib hosted Mallam Dangogo in his exquisite office, when the erstwhile PR guru came calling. He informed him that the company’s intern, who are mostly students of Mass Communication, would like to have a brief interface with him at the boardroom. But that was not it. Mr. Shuaib had something up his sleeves. He wanted to play a fast one on Mallam Dangogo. Thus, he secretly organized a surprise birthday celebration for his mentor.
At exactly 4pm, the methodical Dangogo was ushered into the boardroom by our swashbuckling Oga at the top. Though an accomplished VIP, Mallam Dangogo, I would say, seemed not to have any air around him. He was at best: humility-personified, as he gently walked in. Amidst revelry, I and my colleagues rented the air with a ‘melodious’ happy birthday song for the septuagenarian Dangogo.
Afterward, he was surprised when calls started coming in through Yashuaib’s phone by top PR practitioners to wish him as the celebrant ‘Happy Birthday.’ First was a call from the President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, followed by another from the President of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mr. Mukhtar Sirajo among others, all wishing him many happy returns.
In a remark, Mallam Dangogo expressed gratitude to the entire staff of both PRNigeria and Economic Confidential magazine. He informed his hosts that he couldn’t recall when he last commemorated his birthday, just as he had even forgotten that day was his birthday because he hardly observed it.
With a sense of nostalgia, he recalled the glorious days of Public Relations, where decorum, ethics and professionalism were the core principles guiding the profession. He then lamented the appalling state of PR in contemporary Nigeria. He pointed out that Public Relations is not just about writing impressive grammar-laced press releases or eloquently speaking English during press conferences. He advised the young staff of IMPR to be hardworking, diligent and strive to abide by the ethics of the profession.
Though it was an occasion to rejoice with the revered Mallam Dangogo, Master Arafat Abdulrazaq, an intern at the company also turned 17, the same day with the veteran crises manager. After an attractive group photograph session, the PR icon was then joined by his hosts to cut his 70th birthday cake. Getting to meet Mallam Dangogo, for a rising journalist like me, is a rare privilege. I pray I should also attain greater accomplishments like Mall. Kabiru Dangogo—later in life. It will, for sure, be a dream come true for me. Till then, I wish to extend my hearty “Happy Birthday” compliments to him, and wish him fruitful happy returns in the years ahead.
Mahmud, a PRNigeria Staff Writer and Associate Editor Spokespersons’ Digest wrote in from Abuja. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org