Raheem Akingbolu writes that the recent election of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria was a radical departure from the institute’s unpleasant past

Though it was not the first time the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), would meet to choose leaders, the last Annual General Meeting, which coincided with the institute’s election in Ibadan, Oyo State was significant in many ways.

Principal actors, including the immediate past President, Ganiyu Koledoye, the new president, Tony Agenmonmen, the major contender in the election, Rotimi Olaniyan and all stakeholders, sacrificed a lot to make things work. But of all, Olaniyan’s decision to pull out at the 11th hour saved the day. To many observers, the astute marketer made the greatest sacrifice.

Before the election, there was fear in some quarters that the outcome might again polarised the NIMN and set it back to the old days, when two professional bodies, the Nigerian Marketing Association (NIMARK) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (CIMN) existed as separate professional bodies, competing for membership and authority to regulate the practice of marketing profession in Nigeria for many years.

Need for collaboration

Now that the election is over, there is need for council members and body of fellows to work together and build on the legacy left behind by the former president, Koledoye. Already, with Agenmonmen as president, the expectation is high that he would deplore his many years of experience as active marketing professional and brand manager to reposition the institute. Again, considering the approach of Olaniyan to the contest and his reaction after the election, his thoughts on how to move the institute forward could be beneficial to the new exco.

After Agenmonmen emerged, Olaniyan was quick to adopt the Jonathan’s style by congratulating the winner. He didn’t stop there; he sent powerfully worded messages to members on the need to move forward. Though he admitted that stepping down was a difficult decision for him to make but stated that he had to do it to save the institute from embarrassment and impending crisis brought about by a myriad of problems that were unnecessary in the first place.
“It is a difficult sacrifice for me because I really wanted to serve you but what can I do? Thank you for your support over the campaign, I am confident that our better days are ahead of us. I wish the new president and the council well.”

With the message, Olaniyan thus proved that the NIMN contest was not a do or die. To this end, it will not be out of place for the new president to work Olaniyan and his likes to reposition the institute.

Agenda for new president

While the electioneering campaign lasted, Agenmonmen and Olaniyan worked with manifestoes that could revitalise the institute, if followed.
In an interview with THISDAY, the new president had hinged his campaign philosophy on two things; transparency and integrity. Now that he has become the president, many are expecting Mr. Agenmonmen to live above board and run the institute like a professional that he is.

During the interview, he also admitted that the equity of the institute was abysmally low and promised to boost it. Like he did on brands like Star and Legend while in Nigerian Breweries, the new president promised to turn the institute round. He also spoke on the equity challenge and the need to make NIMN attractive to students, government and corporate organisations in the country.

“I must confess there is really nothing on ground per say. We really need to start afresh. If I were to evaluate the situation using the proper marketing language, I would say the equity of NIMN is weak. But all the great marketers know that that in itself is not something for you to throw up your arms in surrender. The brand is there, same with the people and the resources. All that is however required is to replicate what we did in turning some product into great brands in the institute. At least we have managed brands into greater height. I remembered that at appoint star was in the number one position.

So, if we can turn Legend which was nowhere to a big challenger in the market, turning the institute around for me with great professionals around us, for me is a piece of cake. I don’t see anything stopping us from achieving that dream. What we need to do is to find out what has been lacking, particularly with the quality of people around who are vying to contest in the council, I am sure that in no distant time, you will be very proud of NIMN.I can sure by the time we finished, we would not be talking about an institute that is not known. We actually really want to play in the “champion’s league”.

In the spirit of comradeship, many observers have also urged the new president to pick few ideas from Olaniyan’s manifesto, especially as it concerns positioning and the institute’s funding.