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US-trained PR expert, Arsenal fan… meet Issa-Onilu, the new APC image maker

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On Friday, the All Progressives Congress (APC) announced Lanre Issa-Onilu as its new national publicity secretary, taking over from Yekini Nabena who had been in acting capacity since Bolaji Abdullahi left the party.

The new APC image maker is a specialist in strategic public communications planning, with years of experience in corporate and political communications as well as policy analysis and development issues.

What else do we know about the man that would handle the party’s image as it strategises for the 2019 polls?

US-TRAINED SCHOLAR

Issa-Onilu studied mass communication at the University of Lagos, after which he proceeded to obtain an MS Certificate in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University in the US.

He also studied at New York University where he took courses in advanced public relations and media audience research.

He has also attended several seminars and conferences in the US and UK, including at the prestigious World Advertising Research Council (WARC) in London, UK.

Standing right behind President Buhari on a visit to Aso Rock

PUBLIC RELATIONS EXPERT

The new APC spokesman also has years of public relations practice to his name — surely would come in handy while taking charge of communications at the ruling.

He is an associate member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and member of the Public Relations Society of New York.

He is also a corporate member of the International Communications Conference (ICC) at the Baruch College, State University of New York, and is also an associate member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON).

SEASONED JOURNALIST

Issa-Onilu has worked variously as a media relations executive and journalist for up to 15 years and, according to his professional bio data, he also has experience spanning over 13 years working as a policy and development issues strategist, public perception analyst and communication planner.

He joined the Comet Newspapers in Lagos as a news editor and — just like the current spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — worked at THISDAY newspapers, as an assistant editor (Sunday) and later group politics editor.

He also worked for the World Investment News (Winne), France, for the production of a special report on Nigeria’s democratisation process, published in the June 1999 edition of Forbes International Business magazine.

Issa-Onilu recently scored hole-in-one on Hole 8 Green at the IBB Golf Club, Abuja. Spot the man with the club

PUBLIC LECTURER

Issa-Onilu has written many papers and delivered lectures on public communication, crisis communication and reputation management as well as integrated marketing communications.

He also delivered a paper on ‘How to prepare a marketing plan’ at similar workshop in 2008.

Outside the shores of Nigeria, he has also spoken at various lectures and conferences regarding communications and public relations, including at the Baruch College, State University of New York, US, where he spoke on crisis communication and reputation management, before an international audience.

ARSENAL FAN

The new APC image maker is a supporter of Arsenal Football Club in the English Premier League. He is also an amateur golfer. His hobbies include reading and travelling.

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