Steve Babaeko, CEO/CCO, X3M Ideas (middle) flanked by HODs (L-R) Niyi Awosanma, Nelson Ononiwu, Taiwo Agboola, Oje Ojeaga, Folahan Salam and Sunkanmi Atolagbe at the agency's third anniversary dinner in Lagos recently
Penultimate Friday, Steve Babaeko led his team to the remand home for the boys popularly known as ‘welfare’ in the Oregun area of Lagos. One wonders, what on earth could be the problem or what could these restless creative minds be looking for in this transit home, where recalcitrant young minds are kept for the purpose of reformation before being handed over to their families or new homes.
Possibilities are that the agency could be on a recce mission in preparation for another uncommon TV commercial which has becomes the agency’s signature tune or it could be on a real shoot session! Sadly, none of these fits into X3M Ideas’ mission to the home this time around, the mission is totally different from the normal business “runs” that usually culminate in smiling to the banks. Of course, the laws of the land forbid exploiting such premises or exposing in the press pictures of inmates for whatever reason.
Beyond business, here to Impact life
One key factor that necessitated the early morning “mission to the boys’ home” that early Friday morning is the agency’s history with August 1st. X3M Ideas opened its doors for marketing communications’ business on the 1st of August 2012. This suggests that it was the agency’s anniversary and it decided to once more demonstrate its ingrained DNA, giving back to the society, as a way of appreciating God, man and society on an auspicious occasion like the anniversary. “The essence for us is to affect life and humanity” says Steve Babaeko, CEO, X3M Ideas. Though, the visit was done a day ahead of August 1st anniversary date.
Affecting life and humanity especially in the area of educating young Nigerians, is not new to the agency. It has consistently demonstrated the ‘doing good attitude’ from inception. With each anniversary that passes - three years back-to-back, the environment is carefully scanned to reveal the most pressing need(s) for certain people and how the agency can lend what have become very impactful helping hands to make life better and restore hope.
So far in this regard
The agency on its first year anniversary renovated and handed over a block of 5 classrooms at the JSS 2 Block, Opebi Junior Secondary School, Awuse Estate, Opebi, Ikeja. It was a complete facelift that included stocking the classrooms with furniture for the use of teacher and students.
In 2013, Babaeko explained that agency was motivated into committing resources into the CSR project as a means of giving back the society, “in recognition of the fact that education they say, is the best legacy. We hope to affect the future of these children by providing a conducive learning environment for them”. Bearing in mind that an organization or individual does not need to be extraordinarily rich to give back to the system, the CEO of X3M Ideas promised that his agency will be “consistent in doing good at every opportunity to better the lot of the society and the younger generation in particular”.
For the agency’s second anniversary in August 2014, an environmental scan pointed in the direction of IT for students as a way of the helping students act out their expected roles as digital natives. Of what use is a digital native with no knowledge of ICT and use of computers? Hence, two schools were selected and ICT equipment were given to the school to beef up their computer laboratories.
The principal, Oregun Senior High School, Oregun, Lagos, Mrs. Toyin Kuti and her is Vice, Mrs. Idowu Deniga received on behalf of the school two Units of Laptops (pre-loaded with the required software/computer applications), one unit of Multimedia Projector, one unit of Tripod Projection Screen and 10 units of UPS.
In the same vein, Community High School Wasimi, Maryland, Lagos also got two units of Laptops (pre-loaded with the required software/computer applications), one unit of 2HP air-conditioners and 10 Units of UPS for its ICT classroom. Addressing representatives of the student of the two schools at different presentations, Babaeko advised that the students should avail themselves the best use of the tools with a view to learning to become solution centers as they grow up in life.
L-R: Principal, Lagos State Special Correctional Centre for Boys, Oregun, Mr Toyin Lukman- Kotun; Chief Executive Officer, X3M Ideas, Mr Steve Babaeko; Head, Correctional Centres, Lagos State, Mrs Bukayo Odukoya; and Director, Social Welfare, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos State, Mr Musbau Abdulai at the handover of renovated lavatories by X3M Ideas Communications to the boys home in Lagos.
A different spark for 2015
The current year’s initiative had a different spark, the chosen area of intervention wasn’t the normal school with normal kids. The Lagos State ministry of social welfare department under the Ministry of Youth and Social Development runs the “Remand” home for boys, Oregun, Ikeja and four others as intervention to reform children and teenagers (Nigerians) who have the propensity to become criminals. “The government believes it’s better to invest in corrective measures for these children from different homes and parts of the country today rather than having to grapple with full blown criminals they are likely to become in the future” says Mr. Musbau Abdulai, Director, Social Welfare, Lagos State Youth & Social Development.
Most of the children were picked off the streets as delinquent children while few of them were handed over to the home by their parents because of the traits they were exhibiting, the Director revealed. These kinds of children need a decent environment to be reformed and grow into law abiding citizens and become leaders of tomorrow. This informed X3M Ideas’ decision to give a facelift to the home’s three lavatories for the use of the boys in the home, their care-givers and instructors.
While the Director and his team conducted the visitors round the various departments including leader works, photography, tailoring, computer and electrical Electronics, he revealed that government is stopping at nothing to give the children a hope for tomorrow and the nation a respite. He encouraged other corporate organizations to strengthen the Lagos State government’s effort as being done by X3M Ideas.
The Mentor and His Mentees
Beyond the donations, one important part of the X3M Ideas’ annual CSR initiative is its mentoring component. Like a new generation pastor, Steve stood in front of his very attentive audience and echoed “You are the only architect of your future. No matter what the people have called or labelled you, your destiny is in your hands. You can become whatever you want to become”, while the boys enthusiastically mouthed “Yes sir”.
He cited Mike Tyson who was picked from the streets and became a world champion. With rapt attention, the boys listened as Steve further relayed his personal journey to the top of his chosen profession. “I came to Lagos in 1985 with only N500, no home, no job and no experience but with determination to succeed and become somebody in life. Today, I give glory to God”. Steve expressed his desire for the mentees to be able to say in the near future, “I passed through this home and still conquered the world”. It is possible, he says and the boys nodded their approval beaming with a renewed hope.
Doing good is good business
Away from the annual anniversary CSR, “doing good” has become the agency’s way of life. Perhaps that also informs its relative success and swift growth of the 3 years old X3M Ideas. It’s attracts very young, revolutionary, quality work force; impressive businesses and has also won credible creatives awards right from its year of inception.
The agency collaborated with the Babatunde Fashola’s government “Horn Free day in Lagos” by creating pro-bono, the logo and campaign for the social project as a measure support for the laudable initiative. To demonstrate the agency’s total commitment to the project, Steve also led his X3M team to activate the project by serving as ‘traffic officers’ on major road intersections in Opebi area on the horn-free day. For this, the former governor acknowledged the impressive contribution of this agency to his government’s initiative for a saner Lagos. See video here….
In like manner, the agency became the ‘creative agency’ for the project alert - the initiative to fight against and discourage scourge of female/wife battering. It delivered exciting campaign that vividly brought this blight to the consciousness of the society. All these are instructive on the attitude of an agency.
Bayo Owosina, winner, Innovative Staff of the Year Award and Francesco Angelo, CMO, Etisalat at the anniversary dinner
Too much money?
In Steve’s words, “No, we are not that rich” referring to the agency, if it’s about that we wouldn’t have started this from our first year, he declared. However, the fact remains that you do not need to be stupendously rich to offer a hand of assistance both as individuals or corporate bodies. Really, if one considers the pressure and demand s of doing business especially as a start-up and growing concern in this country, one is most likely to shy away from supporting initiatives and engaging in CSR projects. “We took a conscious decision to make this part of our being from day one of our existence. It is ingrained in DNA, it is our attitude, it is our way of life as an entity”. This cheering attitude includes welfare for staff and showing appreciation to outstanding members of the team. Welfare is a given decimal at X3M Ideas and its subsidiaries.
The drums were however rolled out at the 3rd Anniversary dinner where deserving staff were recognized and rewarded amidst sumptuous winning, dinning and parting of backs for what has been a 3-year of creative disruptions and breaking barriers. Staff, clients/ partners and associates gathered expressed the hope that the next three and beyond will convey more exciting barrier breaking creative disruptions, providing strategic marketing solution to discerning clients.
An Agency in a hurry?
Steve’s words, “don’t know about that. The only thing I know is that we have our plans, we prepare and take advantage of opportunities when they come. No magic wand! We prepare and work very hard to be the best in what we do. So far the Lord has been good”.
And the Awards go to...
The award winning staff include Adebayo Owosina (Most Innovative staff of the year); Nnamdi Okeke Most Punctual staff of the Year; Taiwo Agbola, (Best Dressed Staff of the Year) Samuel Uduak (Night Worker of the Year) while the Up-coming Staff of the Year was won by Vivian Nwadike. Other winners are:Femi Taiwo won the "Copy Writer of the Year"; surprisingly Odutola Adenike made it a double winning - Most dedicated Staff of the Year and Most Hardworking Staff of the Year.