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NIMN 2020 Election Debates: Matters arising – By John Ajayi

NIMN 2020 Election Debates: Matters arising – By John Ajayi

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The 2020 election debate organised by the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) on 8 July, 2020, will forever linger in the annals of marketing in Nigeria.

Reason? The debates which sign-posted the climax of campaigns by renowned  veteran marketing professionals jostling for various Council positions of the coveted marketing institute provided Nigerian marketing community  and electorates, who are registered members, the ample opportunity to learn firsthand the intentions and motives of those aspiring to lead the Council in this age and epoch.

Without any equivocation, the NIMN 2020 election debates, and indeed the electioneering process and procedure were quite unique, novel and distinctly rich and robust in all aspects and ramifications.

As a fellow of this great institute and an industry watchdog, one can authoritatively confirm that the entire NIMN election process management, driven digitally, has no doubt, added a fillip and a fresh impetus to the brand equity rating and growth of the marketing body which ironically had hitherto been plagued by multiplicity of challenges and crises.

Recall that the historical trajectory of the NIMN had been such that had disillusioned, not quite a few, as most serious-minded marketing professionals in the country had at one time or the other stayed away from the institute which has been around for almost three decades.

Indeed, the institute has survived all internal and external war of attrition to emerge as one indivisible and organic body with the Act of No 25 of 2003 enacted by the parliament of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Act, also referred to as the Charter, not only vests control and regulation of marketing and marketing practice and profession on the institute, it also confers statutory powers on NIMN to register all qualified and chartered marketers in Nigeria. How far this Charter has been enforced remains an issue for another day. Nonetheless, the preparation for this year’s annual general election which holds next week has been quite unique and innovative.

Since notifications were sent out some four months ago about the NIMN’s desire to conduct its annual general meeting as well as hold elections to fill some vacant Council positions, revered and successful marketers and outstanding professionals have indicated intention to join the  Council of the institute which attained its golden turn-around under the current leadership of Mr. Anthony Agenmonmen.

To those who may not know him, it may be difficult for them to come to quick understanding and appreciation of the serious and strategic brand re-engineering works which the Esan-Edo State-born MARKETING guru had put behind the then ailing and almost moribund National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria. And for a better appreciation of what is currently unraveling at NIMN today, it would not be an out of place discussion to unveil this human enigma and management turn-around guru who may sometimes appear to be running a solo race but in truth and, indeed, has more than a motley of marketing eggheads and well-heeled intellectuals in his informal courts and group of friends and associates assisting him in brainstorming towards making the institute better and greater.

Tony Agenmonmen, a celebrated marketing professional, retired from Nigerian Breweries as Senior Strategy Manager a few years ago. He has since then gone into private consultancy with his niche area being strategic management. Not only that, he has diversified and tested his strategic skills in agricultural business, where today he has become a reference point.

By the time he retired from NB Plc, he had put in 32 years of marketing practice in a multi-national group renowned for its marketing-centricism.

Tony’s foray into NIMN politics was a bit challenging but with his characteristic trademark of a strategist, he beat all his competitors hands down by playing like the dogged fighter that he is, having been initially deprived of a fair competition by the group he succeeded, some four years earlier.

Tony had become a much sought after politician cum active member by the time of the then Alhaji Ganiyu Koledoye led exco, who had wrestled him in Kaduna in 2012. His strategic relevance to the Koledoye leadership which he never antagonised but rather fully supported, informed the huge dose of goodwill he enjoyed from across the different political camps at NIMN and that ultimately facilitated his emergence as the 1st Vice-President of NIMN, and his eventual election as President in 2016 at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan venue of that year’s AGM.

Four years down the line, and as the Chief helmsman, Tony has impacted and impacted. A ready pointer to this assertion is the fact that the gamut of revolutionary and brand re-engineering efforts put in place have paid off as clear proofs. The self-evasive and ebullient Tony Agenmonmen’s leadership qualities, blended with his Midas touch, climaxed in the millennial election contest being witnessed by all and sundry. Though a virtual election, Tony Agenmonmen’s exco had done a pain-staking job in preparation for this historic assignment.

Top on contenders list for the 1st Vice-President position is Mr. Idy Enang, former CEO of Samsung West Africa, former Commercial Director of Cadbury and many other blue chip companies.

Also contesting is Dr. Kachi Onubogu, CEO of Frutta Juice and Services, one of the leading fruits drinks manufacturing outfits in Nigeria. This was after he had served as Group Executive Director in the TGI Group. He has worked with Guinness Nigeria Plc before leaving for Promasidor Nigeria where he worked for several years as Commercial Director. Dr. Onubogu is tested and trusted as well.

Also in the race is Mrs. Ifeoma Emesiana Dike, a career Public Servant and Dr. Umar Mustapha, incumbent 1st Vice President who has a rich and veritable experience working in corporations, marketing organisations and public service. Dr. Mustapha is a multi-disciplinary scholar with impeccable educational background as well as professional degree.

The position of 2nd Vice-President is unopposed with Mr. Chuka Eborah. However, the contest for the Council position is also a little fierce as five contestants are jostling for 4 vacant seats. Contestants of the Council membership are in no mean order. They are, Messrs Babatunde Bewaji, Hope Gbagi, Walter Okafor, Dr. Peter Oriavwote and one Female Marketing Amazon, Mrs. Adenike Olufade, former Executive Director, Marketing at Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

At the virtual debate moderated by Mrs. Bolajoko-Bayo Ajayi, all the contestants gave very good account of themselves. They spoke eloquently with vision. They spoke with zeal, and, of course, they spoke with passion.

For each of the contestants, the height to attain and the direction to go by the institute remain unequivocally clear and straight. With their rich curricula vitae, professional certifications and career heights, these veteran marketers are well cut out for the task ahead.

Watching these galaxy of contestants and renowned professionals unveil their manifestoes as they colourfully did in an almost three-hour rigorous question and answer sessions of online debates attended by no fewer than 500 participants, there was  no doubting the fact that  NIMN has finally arrived at the center-stage of global marketing relevance and digitally wired for the world!

The institute is at least finally blessed with those who will finish the re-engineering and brand-reconstruction projects embarked upon by Tony Agenmonmen and his team. As members go to the polls, I enjoin them to feel free to vote for the contestants of their choice and as conscience directs. None of the contestants is a push-over. The task ahead is not for the amateurs, and there is no room for sentiments.

What works is what is worth; the Nigerian marketers should give the institute the push it desires. It is long overdue, and the time is now! Kudos to all.

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