Of Saka, porting and logic of history


Afeez Oyetoro popularly known as SAKA “I DON PORT O”

An interesting debate has been raging on in the communication and advertising sub-sectors in the last couple of weeks. It was stirred by the sudden and dramatic switch of camps by artiste Hafeez Oyetoro, alias Saka, from Etisalat to MTN.  This   controversy is similar to the occasional hullabaloo that always accompanied  the defecting of a notable Nigerian  political figure from one   political party to another.  ‘Saka’ is a popular character that was specially created to market Etisalat by its ad agency, and was highly successful in that regard. But quite suddenly, on the heels of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s   Mobile Number Portability campaign recently, MTN cleverly got  him to “port go” and thus he  deserted  Etisalat in a manner that seems to have left a sour taste in the mouths of not just some people in the advertising world but also many observers.

Yet, the question remains whether any real breach of professional ethics had been committed by either the artiste or   MTN as a company, given the fact that ‘Saka’ is believed to have had no written or verifiable contractual accord with Etisalat.   The lessons that could be drawn from this   include: (a) the need for written contractual understanding or agreement to seal important business relationships between an artiste and his employer.

(b) The need to remunerate artistes adequately so that they would think twice in the face of tempting offers by competitors.

(c) The need to adopt impact measurement as a vital component of any major or successful campaign and

(d) The need to avoid the temptation to underrate any artiste  because in a dynamic world like advertising, the least expected model may prove the ultimate ambassador of a brand.

But, above everything else, the dramatic “porting” of Saka and its   impact so far on the latter’s portability campaign and the obvious shock and tremor it has left in the other camp count as a big plus for artistes generally who may henceforth no longer be taken for granted by those who hire  them.

Nevertheless, having made great waves in so short a period, not a few observers believe that Saka’s time was really up, because any further campaign on the side of the same brand would certainly be affected by the Law of Diminishing Returns.

All in all, one should salute the regulatory wisdom of the NCC for wittingly or otherwise affording Nigerians an opportunity to let off steam and rewind via a veritable dialogue or discourse as an unexpected result of the introduction of the long-awaited Mobile Number Portability campaign.

In fact, the controversy promises an unintended consequence of boosting the portability campaign at little or no cost to the regulatory body. What’s more, it is all happening at a time when the players in the political arena certainly may be tinkering with what they know best: swapping of political platforms—a situation which in political parlance they variously term “carpet-crossing” and “decamping”

There is no doubt that “carpet-crossing” and “decamping” have  offensive or negative connotations compared with “porting” which has now crept into our political/business lexicon, thanks to the NCC.

Read more HERE


Culled from The Punch


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