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How advertising can form core part of Nigeria’s economy sector —Abdulsalami

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APCONAlhaji Abdulfatai Abdulsalami is a famous Advertising Practitioner in Sokoto State. He is a Journalist and a registered member of the Advertising Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON). He spoke with OLAKUNLE MARUF on how advertising venture can be nurtured in Nigeria, among other issues. EXCERTS.

CAN you let us into the details of your career so far?

My name is Abdulsalam Abdulfatai, I was born in the year 1963, I attended Wesley Primary School in Ojoku, Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara state. Thereafter, I attended Government Secondary School in thesame LGA and I finished in the year 1980. I proceeded to Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin  for my NCE programme, I majored in Government Economics. After completion, I thought  briefly in one of the Secondary Schools in Kwara State  called, Anglican College of Commerce.

I later proceeded to Bayero University in Kano  in 1987 where I read Political Science and finished in the year 1990. I was posted to Maiduguri for my youth service after which I was relocated back to Lagos after the orientataion.

As a redeployed corp member then, you will have to look for where you can serve in your new State. So, my search led me to TSM magazine, otherwise known as The Sunday Magazine.

The Publisher of the magazine was Mrs Chris  Anyanwu, a former Senator of the Federal Republic of  Nigeria. I joined the company as a Political Scientist, but  I also find myself doing the job of a journalist. I was given the responsibility of the Special Project Officer, and I was able to perform excellently. That was where I started my career as a journalist and advertisement canvasser.

 

As the CEO of FATSAM, what is your idea and vision for the outfit?

We have a lot of ideas that we are trying to  put to shape the outfit. And we thank Almighty God, because  has  worked. Since we established the outfit in  2014 till date, we have been able to get the attention of  people that matters. Maybe because we have been in the  business before, and have clients on ground already. Looking  at the way the outfit is growing, the sky will surely be the  beginning and not the limit. We have set those targets for ourselves with some of my colleagues who are also journalists working with  me. We have been finding it very easy and convenient,  especially in this environment (Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara  states) I am not  trying to beat my chest but I am  saying in these three states, we are the only registered  Advertising Agency with APCON.

As of now, there is  no other practising APCON member, we have some others  working with government media like Rima radio and NTA but not to the extent of having an agency like our own. We have been getting it right since we  know what it entails.

The legal aspect of the organisation, we understand it very well. Before we take advert from people, we know what it entails, when an advert is having some legal implications, we know the procedure to follow. So all in all, we set a target for ourselves  and we thank almighty God that we have been getting it right in the three states. (Sokoto,  Kebbi and Zamfara)

 

What differentiate FATSAM from other advertising agencies?

FATSAM advertising is the foremost advertising  agency based in Sokoto state, and covers neighbouring states  like Kebbi and Zamfara. It is of the fact that, FATSAM is an  indigenous advertising agency in this axis. We have a lot of advertising agency in Lagos, who may not understand the terrain, I started the business here and it was after  understanding the terrain of the business very well that I  decided to come up with a corporate idea on my own.

So it is different from all the agencies in  Lagos, Ibadan or wherever, because it is the terrain of the local  arena in which we understand ourselves very well. We know  the needs of our clients in the area and build on their idea to serve.

Also, looking from the angle of the government  patronage. The three states have been able to relate with us  very well including their parastatals. We also have  companies on grounds and we do understand their needs. We don’t just advertise for  them, we sometimes do some  public relations for them and that is why we are different.

Take for instance, the cement company here,  what we get from them like the advertisement of their AGM,  advertising their products but also on our own we try as  much as possible to see how we can  as a media  organisation apart from advertising products, bring some of  our colleagues together and do some reports on their social  responsibilities for their host communities project.

These are some of the things we do that makes us  unique and different from other agencies. We don’t just  secure advert from our clients. We know some of their needs,  how we can put them in good light and able to follow up.

 You have been into advertising business for a while, how has it been?

The industry is okay, the industry is under the ministry of information while APCON stands as an agency to regulate and take care of advertising practice in print, electronic and other media platforms. The Ministry of Information is the parent body while Advertising Practicioners Council of  Nigeria [APCON] is the body established to take control of the advertising agencies in Nigeria.

The job of APCON is to ensure fairness and  they have been doing that very well. I was asked by the zonal head office of the north west in Katsina State to give them the list of all the agencies that are operating without the necessary documents.

The Agency had been under proper control, take  for instance the sales of cigarette, I don’t think you can switch on your television and see Cigarette being advertise because of its hazard for human consumption. All these were the initiatives of APCON. All advertisement either print or electronic must be subjected to scrutiny to ascertain its importance to the audience.

 

Do you believe that advertising agencies should  be regulated?

Yes I do, without regulations there is no bond to a lot of problems in the society. This is a global world  where an individual can just wake up and advertise any product without ascertaining  its quality. The agency needs a proper regulations so as to have a safe landing.

If it is not regulated, a lot of things that some people will be advertising may cause hazard to the society, I support the medium or agencies to be properly regulated, and I think the Federal Government is no trelenting on this which has being helpful in many ways and I pray they will continue.

 

 Finally, what role do you think the government can play in improving the advertising industry?

Government can still  play many roles in addition to what they are doing now. They will need to follow most of their regulations and realise its been monitored and implemented without fair or favour.

There are some advertisements being published newspapers  that are not suppose to be published. As a  member of APCON, I want the government to buckle up especially in print media. Before you see any advert on television, it  must have pass through the normal scrutiny unlike in the newspapers.

As a member of APCON, you will see some people collecting an advertisement and just send it for print without taking into cognisance the legal, social implications and others. The government needs to do more.

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