Yushau Shuaib: A Publicist with Panache

He is a consummate writer and crisis-communicator par excellence. A distinguished public relations practitioner of sterling quality, his ingenuity has won him both local and international recognitions. While pursuing Islamic studies in the university, he took Mass Communication as an optional course – a decision that would later become pivotal to his career trajectory. Behind him are years of shining brilliantly as a public servant. The public relations expert and Chief Executive Officer of Image Merchants Promotion, Yushau Shuaib, tells Funke Olaode what spurred his interest in building a career as a publicist with a great panache.

Shuaib is a graduate of Mass-Communication from Bayero University Kano with a master’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Westminster, United Kingdom.

An author of repute, in the course of his career as a PR person and writer, he has published over 300 media articles and written books including `A Dozen Tips for Media Relations,’ ‘Financial Public Relations,’ ‘An Encounter with Spymaster and Award-Winning Crisis Communication strategies’ among others.

A spokesperson with tentacles across the globe, his crafts, creativity and ingenuity have been recognised globally. For instance, through some of his initiatives, especially the PRNigeria and Economic Confidential magazine, his firm has consistently won the African PR Awards in South-Africa 2016/7, Morocco 2017, Botswana 2018, Kigali 2019 and Tanzania 2020. At the global scene, his firm remains the only PR agency in Africa to have consistently won the Golden World Award of International Public Relations Association (IPRA) on Crisis Management in Qatar 2016, Bulgaria 2017, Spain 2018, Armenia 2019 and 2020. The firm was declared the Most Creative PR Agency Worldwide 2020 by Global Creativity Index GCI and Statista, the world renowned statistics portal.

From public service to the private sector, Shuaib has remained true to himself to dealing with and solving image crises. Why did he choose this path you may ask? And why Marketing Communication? His response: “I come from a family of preachers who are advocates of moral conduct and good causes where communication is the vital weapon of persuasion through convincing narratives. Therefore, I have always admired public communicators who handle tough situations and solve problems.”

“In the process, I developed an interest in reading newspapers which my father bought every day. I later started admiring the writing styles. Even before I took Mass Communication as a subsidiary course. I was contributing articles to campus magazine before I later established Campus Voice Magazine monthly and Campus Express which came fortnightly whenever there are activities like politics, sports and events on the campus. So, I never had interest in Law, Accounting or any of the so-called lucrative professional courses because every organisation or profession needs a communicator. So to me, communication was, and is still, everything and I went for it,” he recounted.

“I thank the Almighty for his abundant blessing on my career path,” he continued. I never thought of working in the civil service. I wanted to practice journalism and public relations. The NYSC honours including the Presidential award that offered me an automatic appointment in the public service changed my orientation. From 1993 when I was offered the initial appointment in Delta State Civil Service, I promised myself to spend only a few years and quit to pursue my passion.”

Shuaib has a clear cut area of operation – reputation and crisis management services to corporate organisations and critical institutions in the military, security, intelligence and response agencies. His background in the civil service became an asset.

A man of vision who is constantly on a mission, one of his initiatives, PRNigeria and Economic Confidential magazine, have consistently won the African PR Awards across Africa including the Most Creative PR Agency Worldwide. For him, the secret to those successes lies in the ability to face challenges and his approaches to solve crises.

“We were declared as the Most Creative PR Agency World in 2020 for the various campaigns we undertook that year with minimum budgets but with maximum result. Our campaigns have different objectives. Meanwhile, each of our campaigns followed the same templates from the summary on the challenges before we define the problem and list the Campaign Objectives. We have to identify the geographic location and target audiences which would guide on the tools to be deployed to achieve the best results.”

Marketing Communication in a digital world needs brilliant and talented individuals for it to survive. Shuaib is of the view that even with social media and digital innovation, organisations should ensure they have incentives that could attract and retain the best hands.

His company is huge. It has made a name for itself. To onlookers, having affiliations with foreign partners won’t be a bad idea. “We are very mindful of the potential benefits of affiliation in the PR industry. We may consider such in future. Currently we observe and operate the concept of globalisation by localising global best practices in our business that makes us compete favourably with the international PR firms and Global brands.”

Shuaib is a workaholic and he is still excited with many of the company’s recent campaigns.

“Our clients are out there. I find it difficult to pick any above others because they all have a common goal for success in their various and diverse campaigns we executed. Meanwhile, I must admit that our crisis communication campaigns are the most successful going by the dozens of awards we bagged at events hosted by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), African Public Relations Association (APRA) and International Public Relations Association (IPRA),” he said.

In recognising role models and aspiring public relations experts, Shuaib and his team recently established award presentations.

The award presentation is a component of Public Relations, especially event management strategies.

“Having covered some of the sectors with constructive editorial and in most cases with criticisms in ensuring that best practices are observed, the other ways of acknowledging and recognising role models for emulation are mostly through awards of recognition. We started with the Campus Journalism Award which is now more popular among student writers in Nigeria. Two years later, we introduced Security and Emergency Management Awards (SAEMA) for that sector and this year we launched the inaugural Spokespersons Awards for PR practitioners and strategic communications in various categories.”

No doubt, Shuaib eats, sleeps and breathes PR through writing and speaking. “It has always been my desire to excel in every branch of Public Relations practice.”

For him, his life is not defined solely by the career path he chose. Away from practicing PR, managing crises, he still enjoys playing badminton and savouring some mouth-watering noodles at his leisure.


Source: ThisDay Newspaper

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