Well-grounded in marketing communications, Kikelomo Atanda-Owo has been impacting the sector for over 18 years with her versatility. Atanda is also the founder and host of “RealTalkWithKike” on radio and TV.
Her impact extends beyond her profession as she supports single mothers and widowers through “Kike Hub Foundation”. The CEO of Z- Edge Consulting, which specialises in organisation, strategic market planning, and supply chain consultancy among others, talks to Azuka Ogujiuba about the state of things in the Nigerian communication industry, way forward for Nigeria in terms of good image, her take on PR/Advertising practices in Nigeria and vision for Z-Edge among others
With over 18 years in Marketing Communication, do you think we are getting ad copies, rebranding, and general image building right in Nigeria? Tell us about the quality of work being put out by the industry
Speaking from experience, Nigeria is gradually advancing in these areas. More experts are delving into these areas of communication. Thus far, we are being compared with advanced countries with higher expertise in integrated marketing communications. We can get better. However, the structure is one thing that sets us back. Part of it is the legal framework for and parenting of content because of content piracy and content theft.
What’s the one thing you wish your clients or Nigerians understand about PR and advertising?
Advertising and Public relations in Nigeria is another sphere entirely. In advertising, we are pulling our wits but in public relations, I think we are still grappling with professionalism and sensitivity and that plagues almost every institution. At the federal governmental level, the way the government communicates with the people shows poor PR in terms of sensitivity and professionalism. Even in private companies and business enterprises, company managers and owners don’t care about their customers and clients in the public. They shove a different kind of rubbish at them when they want to exhibit their monopolistic tendencies that put buyers or end-users at their mercy. For advertising, we can get better but at PR, we are below standard and we need to advance our ethics in PR.
What’s the vision for your firm, Z-Edge Consulting?
The vision of Z-Edge can be spoken about from the idea that led to its birth. First of all, Z-Edge is a legacy for generations. The name Z represents Zion my first child and beyond its primary functions and values that the company gives in terms of consulting, executive training, procurement, foreign resource facilitation, and event management. Z-Edge is the generational legacy of professionalism and value. The vision is to ensure that the legacy of Z-Edge transcends generation and continues to give value to humanity across the globe with professional standards.
Kamala Harris became America’s first black vice president, the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history. Do you think this is feasible in Nigeria given the fact that Nigerian politics is male-dominated? Also, how do we get more women to participate in politics?
This is a topic I’ve grossly debated and discussed on my show and platform more vigorously in March when I dedicated the full month to promoting African women and their exploits. The response is this: Yes, it is feasible for Nigeria to produce a female Vice President given the terrain of the male-dominated political landscape. However, the factor required is time and participation. There are several women in the political sphere of Nigeria and they haven’t been doing badly. They have been conscientious and compassionate about Nigerians. However, for a female to get to the position in question, it requires a track record of integrity from the few female politicians on the stage now, the tenacity of non-participants to get involved in politics, and further sensitisation of the female public on its possibility. Women need to understand and accept their core responsibility of creating the desired change they want to see in our society. The understanding of their roles and the assumption of that obligation will enable this to come to pass.
How best do you think we can tackle the increasing cases of rape in Nigeria?
In my opinion, it has to be tackled from multiple angles – The angle of law, the angle of our artistes, and that of institutions. I know and understand that our laws are weak and very slow to acting and prevailing on rape crimes. If the penalties can be stiffer, quicker, and highly transparent, we will see fewer rape cases. Secondly, our art media promotes sexuality and sexual objectification of the female gender and all these lead to sexual crimes. When music stars promote these obscenities, objectification, gender-degradation of our girls in their videos, it makes it easy for perpetrators of this kind of crime to see it as a cheap offense.
The third but the most powerful angle to tackling rape cases is to address our cultures and values. Our value system is hugely eroded. If individual families can work on the values and standards that are inculcated in their kids, the human products we get from our social institutions will be better
The abduction of school children in the Northern part of the country is becoming more alarming by the day. If you could sit one on one with the President on this issue, what would you suggest to him as the way out?
Well, for a fact. He has been too docile for my liking in terms of his leadership approach. I think he needs to be forthcoming with stern actions of dealing with those perpetrating the crime of insurgency, abduction, and banditry. Secondly, he is not paying attention to the youths. The perpetrators of these crimes are youths and it simply tells us one thing. They are not being engaged properly and optimally. If there were job opportunities and the industries are working to earn a decent livelihood, I’m sure we will be able to eliminate these challenges of insecurity. Thirdly, inequality should be brought to the least. Some of the agitations that lead to kidnapping, insurgency, and banditry are the marginalisation and unfair treatment of some groups. Justice and equity of resources sharing can help eradicate these issues.
What’s your take on the numerous young Nigerians coming out as gays on social media and the anti-gay law in Nigeria?
It is just a reflection of the level of decadence and immorality we have in our society today. I don’t believe it and I advocate against it with all my existence. It is a virus against the code of existence, procreation, and the functionality of humans in our society. Our anti-gay laws are not being enforced let alone to know if it is effective. We have a lot of people parading themselves in the streets and on social media spreading the virus and the insanity of gay and transgender. If these laws are enforced, we can see a tremendous level of sanity.
What would you say is your greatest achievement in life?
I think my greatest achievement is my kids. They are the greatest investments, assets, and a definition of my success. I so much care about society and I believe in individual contributions. The individual quota of nation-building starts from each home and I think my greatest achievement will be producing role models and unquestionable children for the next generation. My children are what will be left of me when I’m gone in terms of my impact on society, the contribution of standards, and the posterity of my empire.
Tell us about your formative years
My formative years were filled with so much experience. I’m at present finalising my memoir. I have been writing for three years.
Give us more insight into your educational background and career?
I am a double master’s degree holder from the University of South Wales and Kingston University. I am a bachelor’s degree holder in a mass-communication from Igbinedion University Okada.
Can we say you were born with a silver spoon?
Yes, I was born with a silver spoon and that spoon has nothing to do with who I am today or what has become other than the platform and leverage it gave me to become who I am. I tell everyone who cares to listen and know that my father was an elite socialite who gave me all the luxuries I could ever crave for growing up. He provided all the exposure I could ever want with the training that I got from my grandmother of blessed memories, Alhaja Habeebat Atanda-Owo.
How did your background shape your life?
It was a loving experience for me and the one that shaped my future. Some unforgettable personalities played integral roles in my formative years. These two are my father and grandmother. My father gave me all the love, nurturing, education, and exposure that I could get in life despite being absent physically and my grandma trained me with enterprising skills in entrepreneurship development. She trained me to be independent and resilient in chasing my dream and following my ambitions whilst the mother who birthed me taught me a lesson to be more present on all fronts for my children.
What was the best gift you remember receiving as a child?
I think the best gift is education. Well, education comes with exposure and training. Those are my best gifts asides from the gold jewelry my late grandmother exposed me to growing up.
What was the most difficult thing that has ever happened to you in all your years and how did you overcome it?
Failed marriage: finding peace, healing and self-realisation to overcome it. It wasn’t easy and the path to self-actualisation was the difficulty after broken marriages. Healing took a gradual process especially my last marriage and that process took tolls on me and my relationships with people.
What do you consider the biggest mistake you have ever made?
My biggest mistake is my failed marriage. That mistake still has a rippling effect on me and my children. Well, that is why it is called a mistake. We learn from it and move forward. I am happy being alive and in a better place…
Are there things you still desire?
A big empire and a multinational company. I am working on making my business global. I’m working on making Z-Edge and RealTalkWithKike a global brand with an international presence in many countries. I’m hopeful that will foster my influence and the contribution I want to give to humanity at large.
What are some of the lessons life has taught you?
Trust lessons. I am too open to a fault. I had to reduce my inner circle of friends. I knew I had to keep a little I could trust because I don’t think I can ever keep a secret or apply diplomacy in my affairs. I let my guard down too frequently and guarding my vulnerability is key. Hence, the reason I’m careful with my smaller inner circle.
What are your plans going forward?
I have tall ambitions. I admire quite a several role models and I aspire to be greater than them. It is double the diligence and triple the resolve, because those role models are juggernauts and they aren’t cooling off anytime soon. To be like the likes of Amanpour, Dr. Abati, Dele Momodu, Bola Adesola, Funmi Iyanda, Allen Onyema, Mo Abudu and still beat them is an imaginable feat, yet achievable feat.
What’s your biggest fear in life?
Not feeling truly loved till I leave this earth. . The fear that I may not experience loyalty, genuine love, and commitment from my partner is my fear, i.e. experience that with someone special in a peaceful home. Likewise, my children understanding what true family foundation should be with the unit of a husband and wife with God’s presence is despair for me.
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