This Day (Lagos)

7 July 2012

Nigeria: Communication - A Tool for Good Leadership

Besides communication engenders citizen's participation in governance, they also agreed. In his keynote presentation at the 39th Annual General Meeting and Congress of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital recently, the Managing Director of Insight Communications, one of the leading advertising agencies in Nigeria, Mr. Jimi Awosika, argued that such political philosophy must be well thought out of what we want to become as a nation. That it must be simple, iconic, believable and compelling.

"Our national agenda must cover what I believe to be the four critical questions of nation building. Who are we, what do we aspire to be, what will stand us out and how do we want to be perceived. This national agenda must become the bedrock of policies, legislation and acts of government. Then it must inform the adopted communication model, and now drive consistent communication of the same," Awosika said.

He said that other countries like Americans through "the American Dream" made theirs believable by concerting the different arms of government, aligning with the appropriate communication model and striving for political congruence. Little wonder Americans feel so patriotic about their country.

Speaking on the theme "Engaging the Nation Constructively: The Role of Strategic Marketing Communications in National Governance," he maintained that Nigeria has an urgent need to rediscover her sense of national pride. "It must be the end result of the proper articulation and engagement of the Nigerian citizenry with the National Agenda. I would like to humbly submit that this should be foundational to crafting our national agenda.

"It must be such that it lifts up the spirit of Nigerians and make it to soar high. It must be delivered across relevant communication channels, and consistently so too. It must permeate the components of our policies and legislative processes. We need a national agenda to build the Nigerian spirit again." he added.

He said when this is done effectively; it stands a good chance of building and maintaining a competitive national identity both internally and externally - to the lasting benefit of all stakeholders.

For the ad men, Awosika said time has come for them to turn their craft and skills towards aiding government in building the Nigerian brand. "We must begin to engage government differently as communications experts. Our horizon must extend beyond the expected engagements during campaign seasons. We must seek to sit at the table of governance, and begin to engage the government in developing the Nigerian national agenda. We must aggressively expand our role to emerge as agents of nation building, for the responsibility to deliver on the appropriate communication model for this nation rest with us," he emphasised.

Earlier in a welcome address, the out-gone president of the association, Mr. Rufai Ladipo, said the AGM was to serve as a platform to evolve policies, articulate options and identify strategies for addressing national issues, particularly those that border on marketing communications and Nigerian economy at large. Beyond offering marketing communication services to the private sector, Ladipo said agency roles extend to fully engendering proper understanding of government policies and revealing to the public ways by which they can participate, benefit and contribute to economic growth.

The high point of the congress was the emergence of Mrs. Bunmi Oke, the chief operating officer of 141 Worldwide as the association's president. Oke, who was unanimously endorsed by her colleagues, takes over the mantle of leadership from Mr. Ladipo Rufai who quit office after just a year stint due to reorganisation at STB McCann, which swept him off as the managing director of the creative agency; the plank on which he contested and won the number one ad man position.

THISDAY had reported penultimate weekend that Oke would seamlessly step into Ladipo's shoes having received the blessing and endorsement of her colleagues in the industry. Before her elevation, Oke served the association in different capacities, including the immediate past vice president, member LAIF Management Board and Chairman for LAIF Awards since 2010. Kelechi Nwosu, the TBWA/Concept helms man steps in as deputy.

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