Advertising icon, High Chief JAS Kola Oyekan exits

• Life and times

It was American author, Mark Twain who said: “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

Just last Saturday, OAAN Chairman Board of Trustees, High Chief JAS Kola Oyekan hit platinum as he celebrated his 70th birthday anniversary in high spirits. A few years ago, the advertising guru went through a kidney transplant and came out unscathed hence the need to celebrate life when the time came.

Bubbling with joy and verve that Saturday, the highly social ‘Adele Olu of Ilaro’ who loved partying, danced to melodious tunes in his hometown in Ogun State but barely 72 hours later – on Tuesday, April 26th 2016, the distinguished gentleman answered the Maker’s call. The irony of life!

No wonder English poet and cleric, John Donne, once said “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee”.

The news of his demise was received by the advertising world with great shock. “Adele, O dabo. so you merely invited we your friends to your ‘send-forth’ party disguised as 70th birthday on Saturday, only to depart the following Tuesday. Adieu Kolawole, omo Oyekan. May your soul rest in the bosom of father Abraham”, said Chief Ipoola Ahmed Omisore, the man who succeeded the deceased as former OAAN President.

Managing Director of Marketing Edge magazine, Mr. John Ajayi also expressed his grief on the High Chief’s demise depicting the deceased advertising icon as frank and honest in all positions, a reporter’s delight as well as very great man of easy and smooth disposition. “Hmmmm. Alas, a mighty tree has fallen. His death at this critical historical conjuncture is no doubt a terrible loss to the Nigerian advertising. He was no doubt an icon in the Nigerian OOH where he held the fort for over four decades of his career sojourn. As one of the journalists that covered his politics and practice in the Nigerian advertising industry, I learnt quite a lot from this very great man of easy and smooth disposition. He was amongst the last of the first rated third generation practitioners who saw the direction the industry was moving early and quickly retreated to allow his son to take charge”.

A seasoned advertising professional, Oyekan had his first stint with the glamorous ad world working at Nigerian Advertising Service (NAS) in the early 70s where he rose to become a senior manager. In 1977, the late Oyekan with some friends who also worked in advertising formed the Advertising Social Klub of Nigeria (ASKON) where he became pioneer president.

Years later, he established his own company called Colour Image Publicity (CIP) which he handed over to his heir, Tunde.

Endowed with a burning desire to make an impact in his chosen field of endeavor, Oyekan got involved with the Outdoor Contractors Association (OACAN) till it was renamed Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN). Naturally, he became president of the rechristened OAAN between 1998 till 2002 and then chairman of the association’s Board of Trustees (BOT).

He belonged to the International Advertising Association (IAA) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers Of Commerce, Industry, Mines & Agriculture (NACCIMA), Ogun State chapter where he played strong roles.

Despite his strong pedigree in advertising, Oyekan was still a man of culture and tradition. He is described as one who loved to be in the midst of older citizens where he tapped into their wealth of wisdom and experience. He was also very committed to the progress of his people; hence his installation as the Adele Olu of Ilaro, a high office that positioned him as second in command to the Yewaland paramount ruler.
He acted as Olu of Ilaro-in-council following a chieftaincy tussle in the town.

He even displayed traits of activism especially in the demand for the abdication of the then Olu of Ilaro, late Oba Adekambi Tella due to some challenges the Oba then had. There, he displayed tenacity, boldness and sacrifice.

A very sociable individual, Oyekan belonged to many clubs and societies like the Yoruba Tennis Club, Island Club, Yoruba Council of Elders as well as community clubs in Ilaro town, Yewaland and Ogun State.

Described as a charismatic leader, Oyekan was also very diplomatic and an expert on the use of native intelligence in handling knotty issues.

Academically, Oyekan had no tertiary education but through hard work and professionalism in the advertising field became a Fellow of the Profession of Adverting (frpa) which is the highest level any advertising professional can reach in Nigeria. He was also on the governing body of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). He was also an honorary doctorate degree holder of St. John’s University, Taiwan.


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