Let me start by expressing my gratitude to the organisers of this award ceremony – the Board and Management of Marketing Edge magazine for the invitation and honour. I must tell you that I am impressed with everything happening here today and, more importantly, by the fact that we are making history in Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa.

Also, my special gratitude goes to the veterans of the marketing profession who have toiled to build – and give relevance to – our trade. Yes, our trade, because in my role as the Chief Marketing Officer of Lagos State, I rely on the expertise of the Brand Creators and Marketing Communications Consultants to achieve my goals.

Let me pay tribute to the memory of our own Uncle Ted Mukoro and Sir Sylvester Moemeke, giants of the profession who have gone to join the body of saints triumphant. I salute some of the living legends of the Marketing Communications industry across the aisles of Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Experiential Marketing. High Chief Olu Falomo, Sir Chris Doghudje, Chief Dele Adetiba, Chief Biodun Shobanjo, Sir. Steve Omojafor, Mr. Udeme Ufot, Mazi Mike Okereke,Mr. Emeka Maduegbuna, Mrs. Julia Oku Jacks, Mrs. Iquo Ukoh and Mrs. Bunmi Oke to mention but a few.

Indeed, the roll call of giants is too lengthy for me to list out in the few minutes I have been allotted to speak. If I have not mentioned your name tonight, rest assured of my profound respect for you.

I say, thank you very much for your roles in making the marketing communications profession respectable.  I cannot deny that our nation, our State and indeed the industry have benefited immensely from your professionalism, ingenuity, and knowledge.

During the trying days of our stay in office, I benefited immensely from the strategic counsel of members of your trade who work with me internally and those who provide strategic counsel to me externally. Let me promise you one thing today, I have become the Marketing Ambassador of your profession amongst my colleagues in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and indeed to our government at the national level. We all need your craft.

Let me specially acknowledge the leadership of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR),the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) and the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), for your sacrifices and contributions to the development of the marketing communications profession in Nigeria. 

Today is for celebrating ourselves, our craft and achievements as marketing communications professionals. Over the last 5 decades, the marketing communications profession has evolved remarkably to become a window for the world to see the creativity that resides within us.

Year-on-year, our creatives harvest laurels from international festivals around the world because our industry is fully developed to lend its resources to the imaginations of ‘creative rebels’ like Lanre Adisa, Steve Babeeko, Kelechi Nwosu and Israel Jaiye Opayemi,who lead a generation of fertile minds to create exciting campaigns that put our country on the global map.

The communal understanding that sustains peaceful co-existence and interaction in our society also benefits from the know-how and advisory support of public relations experts, who are largely based in Lagos State.

This is to let you know that I am a part of the marketing/marketing communications family. I know the importance of the industry and I am committed to its continued growth. That is the reason we are building a resilientand livable City that you and your clients will someday be proudof.

I am not unaware that there was a time many of you needed to fly to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg before you could shoot a good TV commercial for your clients.

Today, the story has changed. Let me assure you, it can only get better from here. The infrastructure we are creating are gradually giving you the scenic settings you require for great Television Commercials that can earn more prestigious laurels from across the world.

When we were crafting the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda, the Creative Industry where you play and the Technology sector are some of the sectors we had in mind at the conception ofour Fibre Optic Project.

You are the group of professionals who need to send files and folders in terabytes and gigabytes from one part of the world to another. With the laying of 6000 km of Fibre Metro Network across Lagos, our government is surely giving your operations the needed leg to showup at the appropriate places at the right time.

Also, let me assure you of our administration’s readiness to support the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards. Since our name is involved, we will provide thesupport to make it greater than ever before. Let us begin to use the platform of LAIF and similar initiatives to draw the attention of the world to Destination Lagos.

Our readiness to support marketing-related initiatives is not limited to the Advertising sub-sector of the industry. It is open to various specialist areas that make up marketing. At the center of what we do as marketing professionals is creativity. And that is what our government is committed to promoting and encouraging.

Just before I leave, I enjoin you to help tell the story of Lagos through the brands you manage. Every year, at the annual Cannes Festival, the winning campaigns are not the ones which tell the stories of commercial brands. They are the ones who tell the stories of people and places. They are the ones that tell the stories of the triumph of the human will and spirit above adversity.  I appeal to you to help tell the story of Lagos as an amazing Destination Brand in your campaigns.

I thank you for listening, and congratulate all awardees.

God bless

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