Mr. Rufai Ladipo
By kasie Abone
It has not exactly been the tradition of in this clime to quit office even at the expiration of tenure. There are many African leaders that are victims. Even former president Olusegun Obasanjo surreptitiously sought a third term in office. But when a man who earnestly desired to lead, prepared himself emotionally, psychologically and functionally suddenly decides to leave office even when he had a choice to do another year, then such action would sure elicit some curiosity.
So, when Mr. Rufai Ladipo, the current president of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) announced that he would not seek re election for a second year in office, not a few journalists at the press conference on the forthcoming AGM and congress holding in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, were shocked. Ladipo had told his audience at the briefing in Lagos that he would not be seeking a reelection.
“It has been twelve months of challenges and exciting experience for me and other members of the executive. We thank you most sincerely for all your support throughout the year and plead that you extend support to the next administration.” He emphasised that constitutionally, he had, completed his tenure but would not be seeking a second term for personal reasons. He refused to give more details but kept clarifying that he did not abdicate office.
The news hit journalists present at the occasion like thunderbolt. Not a few eye brows were raised. Instantly attention was diverted from the subject of the day to the surprising news. People wondered, speculated and conjectured. Here was a man who campaigned vigorously for the position during an AGM held in Abuja about five years ago but lost to Lolu Akinwunmi, current president of APCON and managing director of Prima Garnet. Ladipo took his lost like a good sports man.
He believed he lost to a better candidate. The next election year, contrary to his promise in Abuja that he would be back, he surprised all by not contesting. But at Ijebu Ode last year, Ladipo contested along side Lowe Lintas executive director and Longly Evru of Angels Communications.
But unlike Abuja, Ladipo took the election very serious, so serious that nothing and nobody amused him at the event. His disposition was that of a man that was not at ease with other contestants and who was not prepared to accept failure. And so it was understandable when journalists expressed surprise when he announced his intention not to re-contest. Just one year?
With all the laudable programmes he promised during his campaign. Why abandoned them mid way when incumbent presidents get automatic reelection. It became somewhat a tradition that though the constitution of the association provides for one year term, usually the first AGM in the life of any executive board is not an election year.
Mr. Celey Okogun of NovelPotta Y&R assured that his exit should not be misconstrued. He attributed the reaction of the journalists to the fact that most Africans are not used to someone voluntarily leaving office. He said nominations have started coming in but assured that it would not affect the association in any way.
What will happen at Ibadan next week? Feelers show members of the association are disposed to allowing the CEO of 141 Worldwide and his vice president, Mrs Bunmi Oke step into his position. Ladipo made a veiled reference to that when he informed that the association that he has set up a committee that would encourage more women to practice advertising.
However, it was not all sad news. The advertising academy would soon take off, Ladipo revealed. The image and reputation of the association has improved and the association has concluded plans to break the AAAN advocacy campaign, the membership has swelled by three among other achievements.
The agency would today hold its annual funfair at LASUTH Sports complex, Ikeja. Four agencies, Prima Garnet, Lowe Lintas, LTC JWT and 141 Worldwide, who emerged from keenly contested preliminaries, would lock horns in what promises to be an exciting weekend.