Mojisola Saka: Making a Mark in Consumer Engagements
T here is a new class of highly educated and upwardly mobile career women making waves in the marketing communications sector. One of which and worthy of note is Mojisola Saka the current Chief Operating officer of Soulcomms Limited. She represents the “generation of the 360 degrees Marcomms expert” with her demonstrated expertise in consumer engagements & reputation management which over the years has won for her admiration from senior and upcoming colleagues as well as clients who have benefited from the fountain of her knowledge, deeply rooted strategic insights and practical experience, such that it is hardly possible to list the front-row practitioners in the industry without a mention of her name.
Highly cerebral and very articulate, Mojisola’s approach to her job constantly reflects her personal philosophy of “standing and be known for the best”. This explains her penchant to strive to attain the highest standards for service delivery in strategic communications, engagements and messaging either on advertising, experiential, sponsorships, direct and social marketing or even in perception and reputation management which are her areas of competence.
At Soulcomms, Mojisola (the former banker), demonstrates a focused lead and strong commitment to the team. She runs an open door policy to ensure all are on the same page at every stage of a project the company handles, from planning to execution. Her ability to lead her team from both the strategic and execution perspectives is extraordinary, the reason
Soulcomms records one outstanding success after the other in every project it executes. This may however not be unconnected with her unending quest for improving quality of engagements, service delivery and international exposure in terms of training and working experience.
Afenifere, UPN are One
Adedeji Salau worked with late MCK Ajuluchukwu in the Research Directorate of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) during the Awololwo era. The 71-year old politician, in this interview with Femi Ogbonnikan, speaks on the evolution of UPN and why it is desirable for the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, to identify with the party, ahead of the 2019 general elections, among others
Many Nigerians consider UPN a regional party, because it lacks national spread. Do you think it can make an impact in the 2019 general election?
I t is wrong to consider UPN or any other party in Nigeria a regional party, as every party has to satisfy a national requirement for registration as a political party. The UPN has members in all the states of the federation with their executive committees at the state, local governments and the ward levels. But the tempo of politicking is so low now because the APC government is starving almost everybody so much that the people have no time for politicking. We hope now that the coming general election will challenge people to change the government; the people will change the government and bring in a UPN government that is promising the four cardinal programmes of free education, free health services, rural integration and full employment.
Does your party have funds for the coming general elections?
How much is not enough for elections nowadays. We know the ruling party has amassed billions of Naira or even foreign monies from their foreign partners and sponsors. We are not competing on what they have in plenty with them but what they lack. They have plenty of money but lack credibility with failed promises. The late sage Awolowo once said there would be a time for the masses to fight for themselves. The time is now. The people will be directed by the party stalwarts to choose their representatives and delegates for the elections at all levels, plus donations by progressive elements and our members’ donation.
Isn’t it advisable for your party to enter into a coalition with one of these two major political parties that we have?
We are not considering joining any of the discredited parties. Those of us who decided to resuscitate the UPN are frustrated by the lack of Awoist principles in all the parties. These principles are honesty and dedicated services to the people.
Will your party field a presidential candidate in 2019?
Definitely, our door is open for all offices, including the Presidency. We already have one aspirant for presidency, talking seriously about his aspiration.
Is Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, supporting your party?
Afenifere is the reference pointer to Awolowo’s political movement in Yoruba land and indeed Nigeria. Naturally, Afenifere is supposed to be UPN. At its resuscitation, there was a communication gap. In fact, not too many people believe that the status quo in Nigerian could tolerate a principled party that carries Awolowo’s emblem. Now that the party is formed, it is meant to be taken over by the Awoists all over the country. We true Awoists have come a long way. We have our leaders all over the place; we have cultural affinity; and we do disagree among ourselves and like true democrats, we only disagree to agree democratically.
What has been the disposition of Afenifere to your party?
There is no true Afenifere person that will not like the UPN. We are the same people born by the same father, Awo, and political HID from Ikenne and we are lucky we still have our big uncles like Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Pa Reuben Fasoranti to keep showing the light for many years to come.
Recently, it was gathered that Afenifere was proposing to adopt SDP as a party for the southwest, how truthful is this?
The Afenifere cannot be compatible with SDP, except with UPN. The Afenifere and UPN did not collect a penny from anybody except from its members and financiers, like Rotimi Paseda from his personal donations. I want to make a correction, Afenifere, though is based in the South-West, its membership is all over the places in Nigeria and abroad. And so, its endorsement will be more relevant to the UPN than any other party. Moreover, the togetherness of Afenifere and UPN will be in continuation of the free education and free health services of the old UPN with their beneficiaries in millions as electorates. I want to give you the genesis of the word, Afenifere. It was an acronym of the Action Group formed by Awo and his political associates. For reasons unknown to many, Afenifere did not appear during the more than five years of UPN because the UPN came up with its own apt acronym ‘Egbe Imole’ in Yoruba land and other acronyms in other languages like ‘Aske ‘ in Hausa. The name Afenifere resurfaced during the Abacha years. After the June 12 annulment, Abacha took over power from Ernest Shonekan and it dawned on the political class that another coup had succeeded in scuttling the June 12 agitation. And an enlarged meeting of Yoruba elders was called at Papa Ajasin’s house in Owo, Ondo State. By then, the late Chief Bola Ige had resumed his political activities which he suspended during his “Siddon dey look” period of the SDP and NRC, which the late Cicero of Ijeshaland described as two leprous fingers. In fact, he had held a meeting with patriots, like Chief Dayo Abatan, Ambassador Remi Farounbi, Kayode Akinsanya, among others, during which the name Afenifere was proposed. But the organisation did not take off beyond that meeting before this enlarged meeting in Papa Ajasin’s house. Then, at this meeting, Chief Bola Ige stood to make a motion. As Chief Bola Ige stood, he said at first, you brought Falae, ‘’a o mo eye tosu’’, literarily meaning, we do not know the bird that bred him. That is, we do not know from what political thought he came from but we voted for him. And again, you brought Abiola and we voted for him and that this had ended now. This time it must be made clear that this is Awolowo group, in name and deed and, therefore, I move that this group be called “Afenifere” and it was unanimously accepted and carried. So, Afenifere and UPN are one in Awo. The UPN can be invoked to continue the good deed in Awo and Afenifere, like the biblical three-in-one.
I’m Very Passionate about Kwara State
Lukman Olayiwola Mustapha is a banker and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State. He is one of governorship aspirants of the PDP in the state. In this interview with select journalists, including Hammed Shittu, he speaks about his ambition, his chances, insecurity, among others
Why are you in politics despite being well established in business?
I ’m very passionate about Kwara State and I have no other town, no other place that I can call my home than Kwara State. Growing up, my first experience outside Ilorin was when I went to the university. So, the zeal to make the community and state better has been there for decades. I must confess to you that in my own little way and within the capacity, I have been contributing to the educational development of the state, especially in providing support for indigent students. Apart from that, I’ve also been caring about the health of the people of the state and also I’ve been contributing to the basic things that we take for granted. That’s why we think that we should go into politics so that we will be able to leverage on our past record of achievement in our private capacity and to see how we can broaden the scope and how we can influence positive development and improvement in the lives of our people.
With due respect, I believe that PDP is a platform which we can use to showcase our seriousness in getting this done, and as I’ve said earlier, we want to be better than the current system and to cause a change. Also, the direct hegemony to the government in power is PDP and that’s why we are in it. We have been in PDP for a while, contributing our own quota to sustaining the party and making it a vibrant opposition party in the state. As I’ve said earlier, every democracy must have an opposition. It is the opposition that will keep the government of the day in check and that is one of the cardinal pillars of every democracy and we believe to a large extent that PDP has been able to do this and it is our hope and desire to be in government and be in power in 2019.
What will be your agenda when you eventually become the governor of Kwara State?
Kwara State was created in 1967 on the same day with the likes of Lagos, Kano, Sokoto and some other states and since then, the state has witnessed growth in terms of population, physical structure and all of that. But in basic economics, growth is different from development. A nation can witness growth without development but a nation that is developing must ordinarily grow. We are still lagging behind on a number of issues and not under the illusion that we have not made any progress at all. We want to come up with a charter between us and the state; we want the state to judge us according to our charter. We have five high priority areas, which are education, food and water, infrastructure and lastly, security. And that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t pay attention to other areas. We also know that youth engagement is a major issue in Kwara State and also in the country as a whole. We are looking at how we are going to make the youths interested in becoming entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture, provision of water, health facilities and so on and so forth. We want our people to be responsible; we want to have people of the state that are law abiding citizens and, most importantly, we want to cause a social orientation in our people, to make them see our value and our ethics and also if we are able to increase our economic base and provide institutional framework for people to be able to harness.
How do you handle remarks that you are a tool in the hands of Bukola Saraki?
Let me clarify something, there is no way you wouldn’t be tempted, one way or another. My party people know how I’ve been supportive in one way or another; they know how I feel about the continuous impoverished condition of the people in the state and how I feel about the situation in the state. I believe it is part of all those political thoughts that I’m being sent by someone. But for me, it’s because they couldn’t get anything else to say about me, that’s why they started picking up talks because I worked with Saraki at Societe Generale Bank 30 years ago. Recently, I heard that I was dismissed from a bank, all these just to bring down my name. I’m not bothered, I’m ready, I’m prepared for this. One thing I know is that I’m straight, and I’m still in the banking industry.
What is the situation in the Mustapha’s family in Ilorin over your ambition and that of your brother’s, Moshood Mustapha?
Let me start by saying that I thank God for the kind of family I have. My father is still alive and he’s a great man and a respectable man in the society, and when he talks people listen. Politics to him is something he has been doing for a very long time, and about two weeks ago, he turned 88, so he is an old man. Also about my brother, we love each other and you all know him very well and there is no denying the fact that we are in two different political doctrines and this doesn’t in any way affect our relationship as brothers but we have different political ideologies. We belong to different political camps and for me, politics is not about the Mustapha family and my relationship with my brother, it’s about the impact we make in the community that we are serving. It is a precedent in the family, my father and my grandfather belong to different political parties and also my father and his own brothers, so this shouldn’t cause any havoc in the family. I have an excellent relationship with my father.