Posted by News Express | 15 January 2016 | 5,648 times
The business community gathered yesterday to observe a solemn moment at the Service of Songs in honour of the dearly departed marketing icon Mr Ike Emeagwali.
Ik Emeagwali held sway for many years as the marketing guru at the Lagos Business School. He richly earned his position both in terms of theoretical knowledge as well as practical application of the discipline.
Francis Ikechukwu Emeagwali graduated with Upper Honours in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria. He was joint best graduating student. He was in that class that included Prof Pat Utomi and Dr Isah Momoh, among others.
He made his mark in marketing first at Ogilvy Benson and Mather (OBM), one of the pioneer agencies of the day in Nigeria. Ik managed the Nigerian Tobacco Company account for OBM. He was so good on it that he earned OBM plaudits from the client and rapid promotion to Account Manager. Then the real recognition for excellence in client relations management came when NTC decided this Agency representative understood this account so well he was best on client side. NTC lured him to client side.
He rose within NTC, serving as Deputy Managing Director in Nigeria, as managing director in one of the African countries on cross posting.
He joined LBS at inception to teach Marketing. He played other roles, including serving as Alumni Relations Director. It was as Alumni Relations Director that he birthed Footprints, the LBS Alumni Journal.
Ik invited me then to intimate me of his plans for such a journal and asked for a proposal. I did one, and our firm Taijo Wonukabe submitted proposals with dummies for three titles. Our proposal indicated that Footprints would be self-sustaining and build on the mother brand. Since the first issue, this has been the model for running Footprints.
Before then, I had met this caring gentleman at Patike Communications, the entrepreneurial vision of two class mates, Pat Utomi and Ike Emeagwali. I learnt client service and public relations practically from these masters. Ike Emeagwali was always organising tutorials for us rookies, covering sales, marketing, advertising. Pat spoke always on public relations and broad business management, informing of one new book or the other.
As Alumni Relations Director, Emeagwali continued building the LBS brand. He knew brand building and the deployment of various obvious and subtle touch points.
He and his friend Pat were among the first to donate to our alma mater, the famed Jackson College of Journalism, UNN. They donated a car in the 80s and others.
Ike Emeagwali looked out for people. Class mate Dr Isah Momoh recalled as we left the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Phase 1 yesterday that Ike facilitated his entry into advertising at OBM. He was doing well at New Nigerian. Emeagwali was also excelling at OBM. His bosses then said to him to clone himself and bring someone equally brilliant. He looked to his classmate and told him of an offer he could not refuse. He had not only convinced his bosses about having this colleague but had gone ahead to negotiate a remuneration that was vastly superior.
He did this on and on for friends and associates, linking people.
Industry leaders gathered yesterday in his honour. Current APCON chairman Udeme Ufot, BusinessDAY Publisher Frank Aigbogun, former PRCAN president Emeka Maduegbuna and his wife, NTA’s Augusta Maduegbuna, Pat and Ifeoma Utomi, Chukwuma Okolo, Lere Awokoya, Dr Kenny Acholonu and his former colleagues from NTC, OBM, the advertising community, and Pan Atlantic University.
This brilliant and compassionate man suffered an early demise largely due to the failings of our system. An accident in 2005 was not properly diagnosed for internal injuries to the head. It deteriorated and led to strokes and so much suffering that his amazing woman of a wife, Lilian, gallantly managed for ten years. Wonderful woman. Yesterday, as we mourned, everyone who knew had a kind word for this partner who stood by her man.
Funeral mass holds from 10am this morning at Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Phase One.
Ike Emeagwali was a good man. May he find favour in the other realm.
•Chido Nwakanma is Nigeria Chapter President of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). This tribute originally appeared on his Facebook wall minutes ago under the headline, “The Client Service Exemplar departs”.
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