Preparation is heightened as the family of the founding President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria, (ADVAN), Olaniyi Stephen Babatunde and the integrated marketing communications industry get ready to celebrate the life and legacy of the late founding president Advertisers Association of Nigeria.
Babatunde who died on July 23rd, 2022 would be committed to the mother earth on September 1st, 2022 at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Omole Phase I, Lagos. The night of tributes holds on August 30th, 2022 at the Foursquare Gospel Church, Omole Phase 1, Ikeja.
The late founding president of ADVAN was born on 12 December 1948 in Oro-Ago, Kwara State to the family of Elder Solomon Ayantoye Babatunde and Mrs. Comfort Ayodele Babatunde (nee Olatayo) had passed a month ago.
ADVAN, in a statement signed by Mrs. Ediri Ose-Ediale, CEO ADVAN announcing the death said, “Celebrating the legacy of the Founding President of ADVAN. Mr. Niyi Babatunde, the first president of Advertising Association of Nigeria has passed on. His legacy, which ensured advertisers in Nigeria have a voice, will forever be celebrated. Rest in Peace our dear president.”
Similarly, announcing his father’s death, Dotun Babatunde who wrote: “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another one – he believed in me. Rest in Peace.”
He started his primary school in SIM/ECWA Primary School Oro-Ago. After this, he followed his uncle, Mr Alfred Olatayo, who was a teacher to Idera where he continued his schooling. He was a top scholar who was promoted from Primary 3 to 5 and completed his primary education as the best student.
He gained admission to the popular Titcombe College, Egbe in 1962 and was there until 1966. During his time there, he was always in ‘A’ class which was reserved for the best students in the year. He was a keen sportsman while at college and was a member of the basketball team that won the Northern Region Basketball Tournament. He attended Federal Government College in Keffi from 1967 to 1968.
From 1969 to 1972, he studied at the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) as a UAC scholar to study Business Administration. He bagged a first-class degree, won an award as the Best Graduating Student in his course and was retained to lecture in the department. He then gained admission to the London School of Economics (LSE) to study an MSc. in Finance and Accountancy on a Federal Government scholarship from 1974 to 1975.
He was a seasoned professional and a natural leader who started his career with UAC Nigeria in 1975 and served the company in various positions. He was a Brand Manager and Marketing Manager for the company in Nigeria and the United Kingdom respectively. He later became Divisional Managing Director for A.J Seward (a division of UACN), Marketing Director of Unilever Nigeria Ltd and Personal Products Director for Lever Brothers Nigeria Plc (now Unilever Plc). He was appointed Customer Service Director in 1998, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.
Critical to being successful in his career were the transformational projects he led. Some of the most notable were the revolutionization of customer portfolio, the generator project and the successful relaunch of Lifebuoy soap in the UK during his internalization program all of which improved turnover, operations and profitability significantly.
A very celebrated achievement of Babatunde, was his critical role, alongside other visionary professionals, the setup of the umbrella body for Advertisers (organisations that promote their goods and service through marketing and advertising).
He was the founding president of Advertisers Association of Nigerian (ADVAN). The ADVAN platform ensured Advertisers as critical stakeholders in the marketing sector, had a respected voice to support development and professionalism in the industry. Mr Babatunde accommodated the association and ran its affairs from his office premises for the first few years of the association’s establishment. He tenaciously braved the ripples and discordant tunes in the industry, which the establishment of ADVAN created
Today, from a membership of 28 companies on inception in 1992, the membership strength of the association has risen to over 100 top advertisers’ membership base.
ADVAN members, account for about 90% per cent of the country’s marketing spend.
At the twentieth-year celebration of the association Babatunde had said “Twenty years down the road, I think even doubting Thomas’s and sceptics at the time will agree that ADVAN has gained strong strategic relevance, which has ensured not only its survival but also enhanced status in the industry and is not the dreaded cartel or self-serving association envisaged at the onset. This has in no small measure earned the association not only recognition but also acceptance and respect.’’
After retirement, Mr Babatunde made his experience available through his marketing consultancy OSB & Associates. He contributed to the development of his community with his appointment as the Executive Chairman of First Heritage Microfinance Bank where he served for 10 years. During his time, he successfully transformed the bank’s status from a Community Bank to a Microfinance Bank and successfully increased its capital base in line with CBN requirements.
On till his death, he continued to serve his community and local church through the sponsorship of several projects in his home town Oro-Ago in Ifelodun LGA, Kwara State.
It is expected that industry icons and practitioners will be at the night of tributes to testify to Babatunde’s stellar attributes as a professional.
He is survived by his beautiful sweetheart Wumi and blessed with four children and grandchildren.