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ORAN Celebrates Advertising Mogul And Patron, Steve Babaeko, As He Marks Another Glorious Birthday

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As Steve Babaeko, an exceptional media guru and brand colossus, CEO/Chief Creative Officer of full service and digital advertising agency, X3M Ideas, and president of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN adds another year, all executives and members of the Online Reporters Association of Nigeria, ORAN, rejoice with him and congratulate him for a very successful year of breaking barriers and upping the ante in the advertising world.

Respected for his uncanny ability to stretch the limits of creative possibilities beyond impossible frontiers, his brand new concept of the way the advertising industry now works is a master-stroke of brilliance which has greatly improved the industry as reflected in more informed consumer choices and uncommon methodology of digital illumination. His overflowing chest of both local and international awards also speak volumes about the content of the digital advertising gurus character.

As it is synonymous with all epics, the patron of ORAN, Steve Babaeko’s life bears testimony to the power of valour and bravery in the face of daunting challenges. According to a story he once told ORAN excos during a visit to his X3M Ideas Lagos office three years ago, Babaeko had gone against all the odds to come down to Lagos without any ties to the city except that the land of his destiny had beckoned and he cloaked himself. With his sheer talent and creative brilliance, within a short period of introducing his special gift to the Lagos advertising world, a legend was born.

In a special feature done on Babaeko in 2021 when the Advertising Mogul turned 50 years old, before building a name that has now become synonymous with Nigeria’s advertising industry, Steve Babaeko, born on June 1, 1971, spent his childhood with his family in Kabba, Kogi State, Owerri in Imo state and Kaduna state.

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Babaeko, which literally means Lagos lord was not his family name. It was the first name given to his grandfather by his great grandfather to honour a Lagos lawyer who won him a significant court case against the monarch of his village. The generation after, including Steve’s father, who served in the Nigerian Army, adopted the name as their last name.

According to him, his parents were not wealthy.

While his late father served in the Nigerian army, his mother was a trader who turned their small room into a beer depot. Steve had tough times growing up as the eldest among his parents’ six children.

“We all lived in a room,” he recalled in an interview with The Sun newspaper, “There was this little curtain dividing the room. So, there was a frontal part where we had chairs, my dad’s table with his stereo system and records, and a few things. Adjacent to the frontal part, we had the iron bed where my parents slept, and under the iron bed, there were mats. So, whenever we wanted to sleep, we would bring out the mats and sleep. It was tough. If you ate once a day, you were lucky. It was really tough growing up.”

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It was in 1981 that he got the first real glimpse of his family’s poverty status.

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“I was only 10 years old when I realised, for the first time in my life, that my family was acutely poor,” he told Forbes in 2019.

This reality helped him through the many rough patches he experienced and fueled his ambition, driving him to make the most of any opportunity.

It also fueled his determination to go to school amidst the adversity he faced from an uncle who believed his education at a government college was too expensive for the family. He asked Steve to drop out and register as an apprentice at a fridge repairer workshop.

But he was confident about proving his uncle wrong.

Despite the adversity, he bagged a degree in Theatre Arts from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Kaduna. After the mandatory national youth service, Steve recognised that for him to bring any of his dreams to fruition, he would have to move far away from home. In 1995, he packed his bag and moved to Lagos, where he would have to squat with a chef at Durban hotel, now Golden Tulip, for two years.

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“The moment I made up my mind that I wanted to be an advertising practitioner, I knew I had to come to Lagos because all the major advertising platforms are in Lagos,” he recalled, “Of course, the biggest fear was, would I even find a job? Lagos is notorious for breaking you if you are unlucky. I was apprehensive because I didnt want to fall on the side; I didnt want to be one of those people that Lagos ends up breaking. For those two years, Steve would stand before a mirror daily motivating himself. For me not to be successful in this town, then the beach must dry up.”

He saw in Lagos, the city where his dream would thrive, and the city enhanced his growth, fame and fortune.

The Advertising Journey

After settling in Lagos, he hunted for a job for two months before eventually landing his first advertising job with MC&A as a copywriter/radio-TV executive. He spent five years on the first job and moved to Prima Garnet Ogilvy, where he spent another five years before he was seconded to 141 Worldwide (now Nitro 121) as Creative Director for seven years.

At Prima Garnet Ogilvy, he met Yetunde Ayeni, one of Nigeria’s leading photographers, who became Mrs Babaeko in 2006 and mother of his three boys.

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What strikes me in him was his energy and friendliness – Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko

She was working for a photo studio at Opebi. She is a photographer and unarguably one of the best. They made a presentation on how they could partner with Prima Garnet.

“I was like this babe is incredibly beautiful, but beyond the beauty when I finally got to know her, I was like this woman is beautiful from the inside as well, and that was it,” Steve said as he recalled how he met Yetunde.

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When he decided to ask Yetunde to marry him, his creative skills came to play again in his romantic life as if he was handling an advertising campaign.

Yetunde grew up in Germany, where her mother came from, and Steve decided to take her to a place in Germany where she had lost a shoe years before they met.

“She had told me a story about a bridge where she lost a shoe. I took her there and said something stupid like this same place where you lost the shoe, I want it to be the same place where you would find a husband,” Steve said.

Photo: Google

For more than two decades, Steve has been actively involved in creating some of Africa’s most iconic advertising and marketing campaigns. Still fresh in memory is the Proudly Nigerian campaign for British American Tobacco, the Now You’re Talking campaign for Etisalat, and You Need A New Bank campaign for Diamond Bank, among many others.

Jenkins Alumona, a marketing communications expert and CEO of Strategic Outcomes Limited (SOL), revealed that what sells Steve easily is his understanding of all the pillars of advertising work.

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“I had no doubt he was going to do very well. He comes across to me as a leader, a natural-born leader.

“From the client service part to the strategy part to the creative part. When one person understands the three, the person stands out,” Alumona said.

The Birth of X3M Ideas

Alumona says when Steve left 141 Worldwide in 2012 to start X3M Ideas, some people wished him well, but many didnt.

“When you are leaving an agency, there would be those who do not wish for you to leave, both superiors and subordinates. Its not unusual.

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“Steve hadnt set out to start his advertising agency. Although he had floated X3M Music in 2008 while he was with 141 Worldwide, and regularly promoted music artistes, X3M Ideas came when Steve clocked 40 in 2011. He started in August 2012 with eight staff, after 17 years of exposure to the ins and outs of advertising.”

“I was only 10 years old when I realised, for the first time in my life, that my family was acutely poor”

“To be honest, it never crossed my mind that I was going to own an agency. It all happened circumstantially at best being unplanned or not dreamt about,” Steve said.

The seed money that started X3M Ideas was the fund Steve had kept to buy himself the latest model of Range Rover Sport when he clocked 40 in 2011, but Yetunde, his wife, convinced him it was not the right decision at that time.

“I told my wife, I know you are not happy with this decision, but I am going to pay tomorrow, and my wife told me something she had never said before. She said, ‘Steve, do you know you are being stupid?’ I was like, what do you mean? She said people who buy N8m worth of cars usually have N80m in their accounts. How much do you have? I guess I was a little upset at what she said, but I came to my senses and realised that she meant well,” he said.

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Yetunde said buying the car would have given him the feeling that he was already there, although he wasnt at the time.

“The car would have been a setback, but it (X3M Ideas) would have still happened, maybe at a later time,” she revealed.

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Between 2012 when he started X3M Ideas, and now, Steve has become one of Africas most admired advertising CEOs.

From the first take, it was obvious he would move from challenger to market leader, Adebisi Idowu, former Vice President, Marketing, Etisalat Nigeria (now 9Mobile), said.

Idowu gave the nod that landed X3M Ideas one of its first most significant accounts, Etisalat Nigeria, when it started in 2012.

“Steve approached me personally and told me he was setting up shop. Incidentally, some fifth columnist had told him that I was the only one between him and the brand transition to his agency,” Idowu said, “The discussion was for five minutes, and he had my full support. I also had the ears of the then CMO, who asked for my opinion that same week before sealing the deal. I had the power of influence, and I’m happy with the decision I made that night. The next day was the beginning of history.”

One of Nigeria’s leading creative photographers, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, said when Steve left 141, he had no doubt he was going to do very well.

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“He comes across to me as a leader, a natural-born leader. Once you attain that leadership tree starting on your own, there’s no brainer in terms of how successful you can become,” Amadi-Obi once told Neusroom.

Seven years after X3M Ideas started, a PwC report in 2019 says Nigerias Advertising industry had grown to become a $450 million industry. At that time, Steves X3M Ideas had cemented its place in the top league of agencies accounting for a large chunk of the revenue.

Expansion and Growth

X3M Ideas, with branches in Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia, holds a big part in Nigeria’s $450 billion advertising industry and in the global creative world.

When the company started in 2012, Etisalat was one of its first and biggest clients. Steve had led the campaign for the launch of the telecom company in 2008 when he was at 141 Worldwide. In 2017, X3M Ideas resigned from the Etisalat account and added Nigerias second-largest telecom company, Globacom to its portfolio.

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Presently, X3M Ideas has Dangote, Multichoice, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO (Peak Milk) among many others in its portfolio.

To understand Steve fully and how he has been able to drive the growth of X3M, one needs to know how he does his work like someone who is going to get fired if he doesn’t do it, despite being the CEO.

To the legion of his fans who are primarily undergraduates and young professionals in the creative industry, Steve Babaeko is the representation of the personality they dream of becoming in the creative world.

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Olori Sekinat unshaken despite monarch’s second wife, several girlfriends (Video)

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Olori Sekinat Elegushi, the first wife of Elegushi of Ikate land, Oba Saheed Elegushi has opened up on her marriage to him.

While speaking on cheating in marriage, Olori Sekinat concurred that there is no man that doesn’t cheat. Justifying her husband’s philandering ways, she reaffirmed that all men cheat and as such, doesn’t see it as a deal breaker in her marriage.

The wife of the monarch admitted that her husband has girlfriends, but she is unbothered by his affairs because she knows she is number one. According to her, her husband puts her first and she remains unshaken because she knows her position as his wife.

She added that even when he got a second wife, she wasn’t moved because she remains the first and no one can take her place.

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“There is no man that doesn’t cheat. All men cheat. Even though my hubby has girlfriends, he respects me and out me first. No woman can shake me because I know my position as his wife. I remain the first. No one can take my place”.

How Oba Elegushi’s decision to take second wife broke me – Olori Sekinat opens up

Olori Sekinat seems to be contradicting herself, as days back, she opened up on how her husband’s second marriage broke her.

The Queen recounted how her husband’s decision to pick a second wife, Hadiza Yakasai, in May 2019, broke her emotionally.

In an interview with Kemi Ashefon, Olori Sekinat said the news of a second wife came around when her mother died. Yet, she said she still had to deal with the fact that the man she loved was marrying another woman. Read more here.

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Oba Elegushi married Sekinat in 2003, and they have three daughters.

 

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HealthGarde holds annual stakeholders convention in Lagos

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HealthGarde International has held its third year anniversary, in Lagos on Saturday, January 28, with attendees cutting across Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, aiming at boosting the company’s market penetration for 2023.

The network marketing company is an African company dedicated to improving people’s quality of life by creating wealth through health and at the same time promoting physical wellness.

In a media chat with Freelanews, the chief operating officer of the company, Lovelyn Bassey, stated that the convention is a way to reward top achievers.

“Every year, we have an international convention, where we recognise top achievers in our company from the world. We look at the body of work they’ve done within one year and then reward the top performers,” Bassey said.

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While speaking further on the importance of HealthGarde in an African society, Bassey stated that the company also targets self-sufficiency for women as one of its focal points.

“One of the biggest messages that we try to send across as a company is that women have a voice and can also bring the bacon home. They don’t have to be a burden to their husbands but a partner by also contributing in the home. This way, the husbands don’t need to drop dead by overworking themselves to cater for the financial needs of their families alone.”

On her part, the chief executive officer of the company, Nneka Nwarueze, revealed that HealthGarde is neither a ponzi nor a get-rich-quick schemes.

“HealthGarde is a networking marketing of international standard and founded by a Nigerian in 2019. As a matter of fact, it is the first international network marketing company by an African woman. I’ve been in network marketing for over 20years with majority of those years spent representing SwissGarde for 17years until it ceased operation.

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“In order to provide an alternative for entrepreneurs, who depended on the business SwissGarde for sustenance when it closed shop, we started HealthGarde,” Nwarueze revealed.

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The founder also disclosed that aside from the empowerment provided by the network marketing company, an affiliated foundation has successfully empowered over 300 women.

“HealthGarde is also the first network marketing company owned by a Nigerian that has a foundation. And with it, we have been able to empower over 300 women on various programmes.

“Currently, we have four university graduates and about 15 pupils in primary schools, who graduated through our scholarship programme and are currently on one respectively.

“However, our network marketing company is not a ponzi scheme nor a scam, which is one of the reasons we’ve been expanding in the last three years of operations. I can authoritatively say that we have bases in South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and United States, while we already have our eyes set on Cameroon.”

The founder also spoke on the uniqueness of HealthGarde products.

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“Our products are exceptional as they’re non-synthetic and we know their origin; they are mainly from African herbs and pocket-friendly.”

The company’s brand ambassador, a Zimbabwean-South African retired professional rugby union player and current world champion, Tendai Mtawarira, said he provided a balance for a company predominantly seen as a woman organisation.

“The services rendered by HealthGarde shouldn’t be seen as only for the female gender. Through my endorsement, men are encouraged to come onboard too and make money selling wellness,” Mtawarira submitted.

According to HealthGarde, the manufacturing of their products have received International Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) registration which verifies that proper methods, equipment, and controls is in place to produce the highest quality dietary supplement products.

whatsapp image 2023 01 30 at 3.45.02 pm

Media and PR Consultant, Dr. Kunle Hamilton, HealthGarde Brand Envoy, Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira, and HealthGarde’s South African PR Manager, Tshego Kekana

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Battle On Buka Street production crew allegedly threatens to battle Funke Akindele

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When the title of the new movie by the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate and popular producer, Funke Akindele, was being put together, little did she and the production crew know that it may take a real life form.

Battle on Buka Street is a 2022 Nollywood movie about rivalry between two adversaries. The story goes that after a lifetime of rivalry, two women find themselves at loggerheads once again when they set up food businesses on the same street.

However, things are beginning to take another dimensions as the movie is getting set to be screened at the cinemas around Nigeria.

According to an anonymous source, the production crew members of movie are already spoiling for war with the producer cum politician over what might seem like an innocent Instagram post to market the movie by Akindele.

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Akindele excitedly took to her Instagram handle to promote the movie, but some of the texts in the narrative don’t seem to sit well with the crew.

“I wore so many hats on this project ranging from story development to screenplay, producing, acting, directing, production design amongst others. It was quite challenging but I enjoyed every bit of it.

“It’s going to be A Buka festive Christmas!!!! Let’s come out in numbers and go see this movie.

“December 16, 2022 is the date! Keep it locked down. #battleonbukastreet, #actor, #director, #producer, #funkeakindele, #FAAN,” she bragged.

 

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A post shared by Funke Akindele Bello (@funkejenifaakindele)

The source informed Freelanews that the bone of contention in the writeup was that Akindele is always in the habit of taking the shine off other people’s work.

“In the body text of this IG post, she claimed to have multitasked in all areas. The crew that worked on the project and signed necessary documents are ready for showdown. They claimed that’s what she does always.

“She is fond of taking credit for people’s professional works on her projects. They are not only going to drag her to court, but also ready to fight dirty.

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“They acknowledged she loves murky waters and they are ready to outperform her in the gutters. Spiritual for spiritual, gutter for gutter, legal for legal,” she said.

Freelanews was also informed that the crew threatened that if the movie should come out and proper credits are not given to the crew, there would be real battle.

“They have started compiling their location pictures, agreement, etc.

“I was telling them not to act on the IG message, somebody might have written the post for her because of her electioneering schedules. I have pleaded that they should wait for the film to come out, check the end credit before taking any action.

“I have sued for peace among the crew, though they told me that’s her style. And that’s why they had recorded all the process in readiness for situation like this,” she said.

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Funke Akindele indeed wears many hats, not only in the new movie about to be released soon as she proudly wrote on her IG handle, she has also been busy on the electioneering campaign in order to ensure victory for her political party in the forthcoming election in 2023.

In July this year, the gubernatorial candidate of PDP in Lagos State, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran (Jandor), chose Akindele as his running mate.

She stated that the new task ahead gives her a much bigger facet of service to humanity.

“With my known career in the entertainment industry spanning over 25years, and the God-given grace to achieve quite remarkable success, I’ve a privilege of access to work and engage with people from all works and strata of life,” she revealed, adding that within the last 25years, she had watched, with great concern, the plight of the less fortunate in Lagos.

Some practitioners in the industry still find it hard to be believe such a personalty could be accused of robbing people off their hard earned credit.

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“I still don’t want to believe all these allegations until the movie is out. I’ll be looking out for the end credits,” another movie producer submitted.

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