Home Opinion NIS officers dancing in uniform is PR opportunity missed – Anthony Elikene

NIS officers dancing in uniform is PR opportunity missed – Anthony Elikene

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Babandede, Nigerian Immigration boss

The Nigeria Immigration Service is reported to have queried its officers, who participated in a music video challenge.  According to Assistant Comptroller General of the NIS, Iam Haliru, “the viral video clip tagged #BopDaddyChallenge, has caused the organisation a lot of embarrassment”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZJVMwzwvxs.

Public Relations practitioner, Anthony Elikene ANIPR, is one of those who do not agree with the decision to use punitive actions against the officers involved. Elikene believes rather the agency should tap into this rare opportunity to position the NIS as an organization with a human face.

According to him “All over the world, you will find videos of the military, not even paramilitary, using music and dancing to share their humanity, to show they are also one of us. Because you are now on the uniform it doesn’t mean you cease being human. This is just one of the ways to express love for the job.

“So many people have been complaining about how they are treated by immigration officers and the police and an opportunity like this falls on your lap and your decision is to punish the people that made it happen. Check out this link and you will see soldiers from America, Israel, Britain, India, and countries in Africa dancing with their uniforms because they love their job and they are celebrating their humanity – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktQVTBd8YIs. Some danced to Michael Jackson’s ‘They Don’t Care About Us’.

“In London during the Nottingham Carnival, Daniel Graham, a police officer for many years, showcased his talent at the carnival. He was proud to be a talented policeman and dances while putting on his uniform to the circular music every other person including those he protects dance to. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNLi_q8g23k. He also participated in ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ with his uniform and people loved and voting him into the semi-final.“

He continued further “Another set of policemen in London also used dancing to calm and entertain a large crowd https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuyxEJPAk5A and during the Running Man Challenge in the UK, a set of Police Personnel in Kingston Police danced on YouTube and it trended with 156 million views, the police department got involved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaZtUn4oPsQ and took ownership of the campaign which was initially started by just two new police recruits. Imagine if the recruits and other officers that participated were Nigerians.”

In Panama, the Police sang and danced in the streets to entertain and support the people as the lockdown continued https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAkZQUDZ4xs While in Spain a policeman played the guitar to entertain people as they remained indoors due to the coronavirus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEpkUawiLKA.

“I watched a video of a black American policeman sparing (boxing) with a teenager in the ghetto and the video went viral. The policeman was called by neighbours because some young men were having a barbecue and playing music and when the policeman got there one of the boys challenged him to a boxing match and they both wore gloves and everyone had fun and someone captured it on video, uploaded to YouTube and it trended. The policeman was rewarded, not punished, for showing a human side in policing as the police department stole the show by rewarding the policeman as it claimed it’s a force that loves the community https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJV5PDmua80. Remember the police department didn’t start this but found a way to benefit from it.”

“Doctor Philip Adler, former Georgia Tech and management professor, said as I paraphrase “how you react to a problem determines if it will get better or get worse”. The management of the NIS must learn how to benefit from crisis and how to de-escalate issues through strategic decisions. The decision to punish this obvious brand loving staff is not great. If you become very punitive you will lose opportunities for blending with the public and even employee relations.

“I have watched the NIS staff video several times and failed to understand what this is all about as the officers were well dressed, well covered and no one was nude. I can say it is a progressive content and shows they are proud of their brand. Any proactive organization would key into the acceptance generated by this content to promote the organization itself.

“I expect any PR to make this to an organisational campaign by doing another version involving the big bosses in the establishment. This video is a goldmine for building goodwill and instead of rewarding this love for brand displayed by the staff we are making them scapegoats for loving their job and being human.”