Setting Agenda For The AAAN AGM/Congress

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Ikechi Odigbo, President, AAAN and Steve Babaeko, VP, AAAN.

The 47th Annual General Meeting/Congress of the Association Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, coming up in the next few days is said to produce the next President for the association.

As delegates will make cast their votes in selecting the new leadership that should chart the next course for the association, it is important that they understand the kind of leadership they deserve, they need and require to navigate the tough business terrain occasioned by the rampaging Coronavirus virus, a poor economic climate and other vagaries associated with the creative business in Nigeria.

As a refresher, the past two administrations of the AAAN led by Mr. Kayode Oluwasona and Ikechi Odigbo have both done great jobs in engaging the older generations or better put, founding members of the association who seemed to had hitherto tactically distanced themselves from the association. The association therefore needs a people’s person, a unifier and someone who will continue to ensure that the unity that has made the advertising industry a toast to other subsectors of the IMC industry continues to grow.

Current realities like the novel coronavirus pandemic, the controversial National Broadcasting Commission code, the effect of the harsh economy which may lead to a number of advertising agencies getting delisted from the association’s list, among other issues, require that the association needs someone with just a passive interest in its affairs to be in the leadership position of the association.

So far, there is no official statement from the association revealing contenders for the next leadership of the association. However, if one can mathematically eliminate contenders and pretenders from the topmost position of the highest post of presidency of the association, one man stands out-Steve Babaeko, CEO/CCO of X3m Ideas.

This is based on the fact that if feelers from the grapevine emanating from the leadership of the association is anything to go by, the incumbent President of the association, Ikechi Odigbo may not be going for a second term. Recall in 2018, following what looks like an unwritten or better still, unspoken agreement that seems to be the norm within the ranks of AAAN, the former Vice-Chairman of the association, Ikechi Odigbo was elected unopposed as the President of the body.

Consequently, the most competitive position at the 45th AAAN AGM/Congress held in Abeokuta at ParkInn by Radisson was for the Vice-Chairmanship position of the association vied for by the former Publicity of AAAN and LAIF Chairman, Steve Babaeko, and Managing Director of Culture Communications, Yomi Benson.

Babaeko was overwhelmingly elected the Vice President of the association, winning Yomi Benson by over 50 votes. Other members voted into other positions include Wale Akintunde, Treasurer, Jenkins Alumona, Publicity Secretary and Tope Jemerigbe, Assistant Publicity Secretary. The erstwhile President of the association, Kayode Oluwasona automatically returned as an Ex Officio while Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, Feyi Olubodun, Onuorah Molokwu, Biodun Adefila and Chief Odun Fadoju are other Ex-Officio members of the Association.

For this year however, it appears like the norm may repeat itself as Babaeko who is the Chief Executive Officer/Chief Creative Officer of X3M Ideas may head to the polls unopposed. Industry observers have said that the emergence of Steve Babaeko as President of the AAAN will be the best thing to happen to the association this year. This is perhaps for myriads of reasons. Chief among these reasons for many stakeholders in the advertising sector is Steve Babaeko’s steadfast dedication and hard work to his duties within the leadership of the association.

For years, Babaeko’s visionary leadership of the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Management Board has seen the annual creative fiesta grow from strength to strength. LAIF was also not suspended for whatever reason during his tenure. Asides that, Babaeko has had a good track record of experience having held leadership positions within the ranks of the AAAN.

As a global advertising figure, Babeko has also placed the Nigerian market on the global map having been named among Adweek’s 100 Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for 2019. He is also the first Nigerian to sit on a panel at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in France. This is significant because this is the first time a panelist from Africa will be taking that stage in the 66 years that Cannes Lions has been running. Remarkably too, He was also a member of the jury for last year’s global creative mundial, where he joined peers from other agencies across the globe to judge works from across continents.

Additionally, Babaeko has been recognized by Forbes Africa as one of the two leading marketing communications voices in Africa. According to the reports by the prestigious frontline global publication, Babaeko’s strides in the Marketing Communications space “is indisputable proof that with the right skillset and a progressive team, Nigeria’s marketing communications industry has the potential to attain, and corner a multi-billion-dollar piece of global Marketing industry.”

Interestingly, with such a man at the helms of affairs for AAAN, it is very certain that not only will the association survive the tough times the industry is grappling with, it will thrive and excel among the markets within the African continent and beyond.

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