At 50 today, Mr. Ingram Osigwe, managing director of Full Page Advertising Communications Limited, is already a fulfilled man. From humble beginnings, the Mathematics and Statistics graduate-turned-media executive has grown to come into reckoning in the advertising industry.
In this interview, he tells his story.
You will turn 50 on July 30. What has life taught you in the last 50 years?
Life has taught me to be humble and patient, and for one to tread on the path of honesty because, if you imbibe all these features, you will attain your heights in life. My moral philosophy in life has been there is enough for our need but not enough for our greed. When I look at being content, I believe in life you meet honest clients who want to do business with a honest agency. From my background, my dad retired as a school principal; so, he imbibed those virtues in us. He always wanted us to bury ourselves in books and empower ourselves; he always told us to choose a path of honesty and hard work.
Looking back at your life, what are your good and bad memories?
Life is about the good, the bad and ugly. One of the bad memories was when I lost my mother. She was a woman that gave all. In 1993, when I was preparing for my National Youth Service and I needed money to travel to Abuja for camping, I told her. She didn’t have the money because she had just stocked her shop. She had to auction crates of minerals to another woman so she could raise money for me.
I would have loved her to be around to witness me turning 50 years. Another painful memory is the loss of two younger siblings. Very sad indeed. They were all graduates of Federal University Technology, Owerri. One died of pneumonia, while the other was a victim of building collapse in Port Harcourt in 2005.
Also, losing my first child was painful. These are painful memories, but life is all about that; some people cry, some are happy.
What are your likes and dislikes?
I dislike people who are dishonest. There is enough for our need but not enough for our greed. Life is made of three C’s. You complain, complement and compromise. You complain about things you don’t like. When someone does something good, you complement, and things you can’t take, you compromise.
What’s your fashion style?
I am a proud Nigerian when it comes to fashion. I don’t believe that Mungo Park came here to discover River Niger because our forefathers had been going to that stream and had a name they called that stream. We cannot copy European style completely. I don’t believe I must wear suit when going to meet a client on a Monday. You wear what fits you. We have traditional wears that are good fashions and our tailors have gone haywire now. I do more of native wears and I like mostly white.
Could you tell us about your growing up?
Life was very interesting. My father was a schoolteacher. Therefore, my growing up was about books and reading. He used to tell us we should read our books, pass our exams and if we excelled in life, we could buy a box of cloth, bags of clothes and shoes in a day, but that we cannot attain great heights in a day. What he was saying was that one should not allow clothing and material things to be a distraction. Stick to your books and excel and come out with good grades, then you will get a good job.
What has helped you to remain relevant in the advertising industry?
Honesty has kept us afloat. We try our best to be honest with our clients. We tell our clients the truth. Once you are honest, your clients will trust you. Also, always give your clients superior ideas. For a client to come to you, such a person is looking for superior reasoning or other ways that can boost his brand different from what he already knows. So, you must be on top of your game. Some weeks back, a client sent some money to us and we found out that he overpaid us. We didn’t wait for him to call us, we called him to inform him and paid him back. That money could have solved a lot of problems for us but we must maintain our integrity.
How would you rate the advertising industry in Nigeria?
Every occupation has its own challenges. The advert industry in Nigeria has really evolved so much. Lately, we have infractions from some foreign agencies, conniving with unscrupulous people here. Some don’t go through regulatory agencies. When you look at what is happening in the advertising world, the print media is being suffocated because of the advent of the new media. Before a story will come out in print, the story is already online; so the new media is really affecting the print media.
How did you meet your wife?
Those days, a woman was recommended to you and you did the findings about her. You don’t just go and see anybody. It was through that referral we were able to meet. After the referral then brief courtship before marriage.