Endings are not always bad. Most times they’re just beginnings in disguise. – Kim Harrison
Kim Harrison couldn’t have better captured the present moment in the industry where we’ve lost three important professionals in the space of three months. On July 23, 2021, the third Chairman of Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria, BJAN/Advertising & Marketing Editor of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Princewill Ekwujuru lost the battle, after a ghastly accident on Lagos-Badagry Expressway at Alakija area of Lagos on July 6.
Ekwujuru was 56 years old. His passing didn’t come as a huge surprise, particularly, for those who knew about the accident that left him in a coma for 17 days. The BJAN chairman’s demise rocked the integrated marketing communications boat. The industry was ready to pay anything for him to stay alive. There were donations from everywhere- X3M, Oracle Experience, MIPAN, OAAN, CMC Connect, Airtel, Brand Communicator, Strategic Outcome Limited, Brand Eye, Chenist Consulting, Foodco, Ideas House, Noah’s Ark, Integrated Indigo, Abelinis, Ikem Okuhu, Yinka Adebayo, Gboyega Akosile, APCON, and GDM Consult, among numerous others. Mr. Ekwujuru will be interred on September 30, 2021. The Candle Night and night of tributes organized by BJAN will hold in Lagos on September 24, 2021.
Before our teary eyes over the passing of our chairman could dry up, Bolaji Esan, 35, publisher of Brandspurng.com, was pronounced dead on August 23. The news of Esan’s demise was most shocking because on August 17, we were all in a BJAN meeting preparing for Ekwujuru’s funeral. Esan was appointed into the security committee for the Lagos Candle Night on September 24. He was full of life, very meticulous, and a professional to the core. He has been buried in Ibadan Oyo State; may his soul rest in the bosom of the Lord.
Just, as we are getting over the shocks of the sudden deaths of Ekwujuru and Esan, news filtered in that the Chief Customer Officer of Multichoice Nigeria, Martin Mabutho, died in South Africa. The industry was again thrown into mourning. Mabutho, 47, was a visionary marketing genius, who loved his brands, their users, and all the ideas that bring excitement and action. It was an honor to have been able to work with, and learn from him
He joined MNET Africa as a Brand Manager in 2003, and led the marketing and sales effort for DStv Mobile in Sub-Saharan Africa before his appointment as MultiChoice Nigeria’s General Manager, Sales and Marketing in 2013. In 2018 he was appointed Chief Customer Officer, responsible for driving the MultiChoice Nigeria customer group strategy covering customer value management, sales, marketing, customer experience and care.
His big personality, brilliance, warmth, enthusiasm, humor and positive energy, which he brought to every room he entered, will be sorely missed. And our prayers are with his family, colleagues, and friends. May their souls rest in peace!