‘I’ve always believed in serving humanity’
Ehi Braimah is a public relations, marketing and brand experience professional, who identified and developed a talent removed from his original background. From Government College, Ughelli, Braimah proceeded to the University of Benin and after a degree in Industrial Mathematics, he committed himself to a career in journalism and marketing communications. He has acquired enormous experience in media relations, sports, entertainment & leisure marketing; event management and brand strategy.
Over the years, Braimah has consulted for a plethora of multinational organisations including Nigerian Breweries, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Cadbury, PZ, Promasidor and CardinalStone Partners amongst others. He commenced his career in 1988 with Complete Communications Group, a publishing company noted for Complete Football, Complete Sports and Climax, a general interest magazine. He served there variously as reporter, senior staff writer, general editor and editor until 1991.
He moved to take up appointment as Head of Media Relations and subsequently as General Manager of Ideas Communications Limited in 1991. He served until 1995 when he joined Whitewood Group where he was instrumental to the rapid growth and rising profile of the event marketing and management, media relations and brand development arm of the Group until he quit in March 1999.
By May 1999, Mr. Braimah co-founded TQA Communications Limited and served there as Executive Director until October 2008. Today, he’s the Chairman/CEO of Neo Media & Marketing, a company he founded in 2008, as well as Chairman/CEO of Adna Hotel in Lagos. He has been a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) since 1993.
He is a mentor of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP); Honorary Fellow of the Business Process Management Institute, Trustee of the Experiential Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) and Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN).
In order to enhance his professional career, he earned an MBA from the University of Roehampton, London. Just last year, he was elected president of the Rotary Club of Lagos, District 9110. With the sole purpose of bringing together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service, as well as advance goodwill and peace around the world, Rotary Club has touched many. And as the new president of the Service Club, In this interview with ENIOLA DANIEL , Ehi Braimah spoke about his love for humanity and commitment to promoting the ideals of the club.
Tell Us About Yourself?
My name is Ehi Braimah. I am the President of Rotary Club of Lagos and the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Neo Media and Marketing. I became the President of the Rotary Club of Lagos on July 1, 2018, but my installation was done on July 6. Since then, it has been a roller coaster; I’m in my eight month in office.
How did you prepare yourself for this task?
In Rotary, we develop leadership skills; we have Rotaract clubs in secondary school, which is part of Rotary International. The idea is to help young people develop leadership skills from a young age. We also have Rotaract clubs at the University level and they can be chartered by Rotary clubs. Our club was chartered on May 30, 1961, making me the 58th president of the Rotary club of Lagos. One may ask why I was found worthy to be the President since I joined Rotary club of Lagos in 2012. There’s a system of mentoring in Rotary; we go for training and we spot talents, mentor them. So, through that process, those we believe can lead the club to achieve a higher purpose, are elected. Rotary is all about service and that is why we say vocational service is the essence of rotary. We do good in communities and touch peoples’ lives. So, don’t be surprised in future if I become president of Rotary International.
In Nigeria we have four districts, our district (district 9110) covers Lagos and Ogun States. The current District Governor is Kola Sodipo and we have 97 clubs under his district; my club is one of them. We also have three other districts in Nigeria; 9125, which covers the north, and the remaining parts of the west, 9141, which is South South and 9142, which falls under Southeast.
What have you been able to achieve so far as president?
Actually, there’s a grooming process for you to become a president in Rotary. For me, I have what I call the presidential mandate; the things I want to do. Not just project and club activities, but also membership engagement. So, just like I’ve been doing, I will do more to raise the profile and the glory of the club. Giving my background too, I have been able to really increase, the profile of the club because public image is also very critical in running Rotary. My plan is to build the brand of Rotary through creating and promoting what we do.
We launched our first project on July 18, 2018, where we donated medical equipment to Onikan Health Centre and Maternity worth almost N700,000; that falls under the area of maternal and child health support, which focuses on saving mothers and children.
Before you execute any project in Rotary, you go into the community and ask them their most pressing needs not what you think they need. It’s possible they need water but you buy books for their school library. We were very fortunate to have a very good friend of mine, who is the CEO of Ideas House Marketing Communications, Kunle Salami, who made provision of 500 mosquito nets worth N1million because part of my agenda is to provide 1,000 mosquito nets to fight malaria. So, that one comes under disease prevention and treatment. We have also given mosquito nets to primary health care centres in Lagos Island, Sura, Araromi, Kareena. Nigeria is one of the three countries in the world, alongside Pakistan and Afghanistan, still having cases of polio, but Rotary is working so hard to lift Nigeria out of the list.
In the area of empowering local market women, we gave them micro credit loans, which are interest-free in three markets including Oniru Market. We powered Ita Marun with solar power and provided them water and palm kernel crushing machine because they were only crushing their palm kernel manually. We gave the women micro credit loan of N20,000 each. Apart from giving them money, we also trained them on how to manage their businesses.
With the alarming rate of out of school children in Nigeria, is there anything your administration is doing to bring the number down?
There’s little a club can do; we have 97 clubs in the district. Every club comes up with their own plans in the six areas of focus, which are peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy and economic, and community development. We have supported library project at Ereko Methodist Primary School and we are still going to donate books to schools in Surulere and Mushin. We are looking at providing them with chairs; some of these schools have dilapidated furniture. One of the plans we have is to partner with Dowen College to build a learning resort centre at Ita Marun. Like creating a place where you have volunteer teachers coming like thrice a week; we deal more with public schools.
What drives you as a leader?
I’ve always believed in serving humanity, giving selflessly. I don’t only have enough, but I’m ready to do more. The hand of the giver is always on top. Generosity comes with its own blessing, it’s like a magnet attracting good things. Those who work for charity live longer; you feel fulfilled when you touch another person’s life. I’m fulfilled as a Rotarian and President of my club. I will continue to serve after my tenure because the reward for hard work is more work.