Leadership is innate. A leader is born and not made. To lead, self-confidence and high self-esteem are quite essential. This aptly captures the rise and rise of public relations, event management and brand strategy expert, Ehi Braimah.
Right from his youth, Braimah had exhibited natural leadership qualities. In the late ‘80s to early ‘90s, he was elected president of a group of young professionals tagged: ‘The Glamour Boys’. And talking about glamour, the ‘boys’ lived it to the fullest, often hanging out at popular celebrity hotspot, Nightshift Coliseum, Ikeja, Lagos.
In an obvious carryover of those days, many till today refer to Braimah as ‘Presido’. So, it’s not a surprise when last year he was elected president of Rotary Club of Lagos, District 9110. Now, as his tenure ends this month, only God knows what lies in wait for Braimah in terms of higher service to his fatherland.
Braimah attended Government College, Ughelli, Delta State. From there, he proceeded to University of Benin where he earned a degree in Industrial Mathematics and much later an MBA from University of Roehampton, London.
In 1988, he joined Complete Communications Group, publishers of Complete Football, Complete Sports and Climax magazine thus kicking off a career in journalism.
After three years, Braimah took up an appointment as Head, Media Relations at Ideas Communications Limited. He was there, rising to the post of General Manager until 1995 when he teamed up with Whitewood Group.
In May 1999, having acquired enough experience in Marketing Communication, Braimah teamed up with a partner to establish TQA Communications Limited where he served as executive director until October 2008.
Twenty years down the line, Braimah sits atop Neo Media & Marketing, a company he founded in 2008. He’s also Chairman/CEO of Lagos-based Adna Hotel. A member and fellow of many professional bodies as well as mentor of Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), Braimah is a consultant to an array of multinational companies including PZ, Unilever, Cadbury, Promasidor, Nigerian Breweries and Coca-Cola amongst others.
Rotary Club of Lagos
Braimah became the president of Rotary Club of Lagos on July 1, 2018 but he was not installed until July 6. For him, however, it has been a whole year of activities, promoting the ideals of the club, touching lives and providing humanitarian services from one end of the city to the other.
He said: “We launched our first project on July 18, 2018 when we donated medical equipment to Onikan Health Centre and Maternity. The equipment worth almost N700,000, and 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 and you decide to buy books for their school library. We were very fortunate to have a good friend of mine, the CEO of Ideas House Marketing Communications, Kunle Salami, who made provision for 500 mosquito nets worth N1 million, because part of my agenda was to provide 1,000 mosquito nets to fight malaria. And this came under disease prevention and treatment. We also gave mosquito nets to primary healthcare centres in Sura, Araromi, Kareena and Lagos Island. 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 were interest-free. This took place in three markets including Oniru Market. We powered Ita Marun with solar power and provided them water and palm kernel crushing machine. Before then, they were crushing their palm kernels manually. We also gave the women micro-credit loan of N20,000 each. Aside this, we equally trained them on how to manage their businesses.”
Areas of focus
Apart from providing mosquito nets and empowering market women, Braimah’s Rotary club also got involved in other areas such as peace and conflict prevention/resolution, provision of water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, as well as economic and community development.
“We have 97 clubs in the district led by District Governor, Kola Sodipo. 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, as well as economic and community development.
“We supported library project at Ereko Methodist Primary School and donated books to some schools in Surulere and Mushin. We are also 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,” he explained.
Aside being a man imbued with natural leadership abilities, Braimah was equally well prepared for the task of leading Rotary Club. “One may ask why I was found worthy to be the president since I joined Rotary Club of Lagos in 2012,” he said. “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 well in communities and touch people’s lives. So, don’t be surprised in future if I become president of Rotary International.”
In Nigeria, Rotary has four districts, including Braimah’s District 9110, which covers Lagos and Ogun States. Other districts are 9125, which covers the north and the remaining parts of the west; 9141, which covers south south, and 9142, which falls under southeast.
And talking about mentorship, Rotary has a system whereby youths are nurtured and their leadership skills honed.
“In Rotary, we develop leadership skills; we have Rotaract clubs in secondary schools, which is part of Rotary International. The idea is to help young people develop leadership skills. We also have Rotaract clubs at the university level, and Rotary clubs could charter them. Our club was chartered on May 30, 1961 thus making me the 58th president of the Rotary Club of Lagos.”
Life of service
As Braimah rounds off his tenure this month, is he fulfilled leading the Rotary Club of Lagos and what’s next on his sleeve? His response: “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.”