Nigeria within the past twenty years has witnessed an abysmal rating among comity of nations. The military leadership and the poor democratic institutions have rubbished Nigeria’s image abroad. The rot in the system caused by high level of looting have left virtually all sectors of the country in shambles. Various indices of growth show that Nigeria is in the lower rung of the ladder. For instance unemployment rate has been high over the past years, caused by acute power outages and inaccessibility of capital for entrepreneurs. Manufacturing companies have been closing every year churning out millions of people. The Niger Delta crisis that is-in-view is damaging the country’s image abroad. Advance Fee Fraud has been on the rise, with foreigners being mostly the victims.
With the unfanciful image of Nigeria been portrayed; if you look deep down you will notice that all the negative stories been carried about Nigeria is either a half-truth or not true at all. The present government is not sleeping at all. The three tiers of government most recently have been impacting their constituencies. The Federal Government through its seven point agenda has tried a bit to instill sanity in the polity. It’s parastatals like: National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), etc have been on the vanguard of fulfilling their mandate.
In the state level the Governors have tried to fulfill their campaign promises. States like Lagos, Rivers, Delta and Anambra have been a model to other governors. Take Lagos for instance: within the past three years the chaotic nature of Lagos has been turned into a semi-London. Lagos island is neat, developed and radiant, Oshodi is also wearing a new look, coupled with many other cities within the metropolis. Governor Fashola has within two years of leadership tarred many roads, equipped schools, provided pipe borne water, provided ICT centres,etc.Due to the pace Lagos State has set other state governors are competing in terms of development-ICT,education,healthcare,road construction,etc.
With this recent development suffice to say that Nigeria is in the brink of reformation. For Nigeria to reposition its standing in the comity of nation its image need to be laundered. This brings an interesting term ‘Rebranding’. Rebranding in a lay mans language is repackaging a product. A good product in order to improve its turnover will have to rebrand so as to attract more customers. Nigeria that was once a bad product need to rebrand in order to improve its image.
Recently the Minister of Information and Communication Prof Dora Akunyili announced the rebranding strategy of the Government. The project was launched by the president Umar Yardua and $1m was allocated for it. The announcement brought a lot of media hype, resulting to media chats, forums and gossips. Some people were in support while some were not.
Prof Dora Akunyili in the defense of the project acknowledged that the country’s image was in shambles. As the Chief Image maker of the government she wants to restore the former good name Nigeria enjoyed. Her intentions are not to sing praise but borne out of her desire to uplift the image of her country she loves so much.Judging from her success in her previous appointment (DG of NAFDAC) you will realise that she has a strong likeness for her country. As DG of NAFDAC during her extensive travels abroad she came to the conclusion that there was no place like home.
Ever since the Rebranding project started she and her team have been spreading the message locally and in diaspora. The whole world has to know some good things about Nigeria: the good weather, intelligent people, low tax regime, good tourist attractions, etc.In her campaigns she has been urging Nigerians to believe in themselves. She said that her major duty is that she will encourage reporters and media organizations to project the good things about Nigeria, while at the same time responsibly report the negatives in the system.
One of her other reasons for the Rebranding project is for the country to utilize its strategic position in West Africa. She postulated that Rebranding will make Nigeria a hub for business activities. There are a lot things foreign investors can put their capital: Agriculture, healthcare, road construction, ICT, telecommunications etc.
At this juncture one might ask if this grandiose project will fall to the tarmac like the ‘Heart of Africa’ project. Let me give you a brief lecture Prof Dora Akunyili has never failed in any of her pursuits in life. She has lived a supernatural life. She is a successful mother, successful lecturer, successful administrator, etc. It is interesting to know that at the moment she is the most celebrated woman on the planet earth-she has over one thousand awards at her kitty. With this luck on her side I believe the project will be successful.
The Rebranding project if well pursued will attract the country foreign grants, loans, technical assistance, goods, etc. The most populous black nation will rise again.We need Nigeria more than Nigeria needs us. We should think of what we can contribute to Nigeria than what we will receive from it. It is not in packing our bags to Europe or US that our economic problems wll be solved; rather it will end if we put our time to pursuing qualitative things.