Posted by Olaniyi Abodedele on Thursday, January 23, 2014 Under: Feature Articles
The issue of re-branding Nigeria is never ending, initiated by the then Minister of Information and Communications Prof. Dora Akunyili in 2009, it generated a flurry of reactionary postures from professionals, brand and communication consultants, other stake holders and patriotic Nigerians alike.
The campaign anchored on a sensational logo and slogan competition thrown upon to the public was hailed by some as the magic wand that will propel Nigeria to Brands Paradise, while also attracting opprobrium as simply another blind step in the wrong direction. The whole frenzy was just another tactics devised to siphon the wealth of Nigeria into private coffers.
Without doubt, globalization has intensified competition not just among industries, markets, and investments but among nations. In the wake of the issues of cyber crimes, drug and human trafficking, piracy, money laundering, embezzlement, ritual killings, spiritual manipulations and all forms of corruption that have marred our national identity, we cannot fault the idea of rebranding though, but is Nigeria a brand? Do we need to change the identity of Nigeria or rather; we need to re-orientate Nigerians towards a national re-birth? As far as I am concerned nothing is wrong with Nigeria, rather a lot is wrong with Nigerians.
First let’s have a look at what the word re-branding means. Rebranding is the creation of a new look and feel for an established product in order to differentiate the product from its competitors. Rebranding efforts may include a name change, new logo or packaging, and updated marketing materials that includes the latest industry buzzwords. The goal of rebranding is to influence a customer's perception about a product or service by revitalizing the brand and making it seem more modern and relevant to the customer's needs. So are we saying in other for the world to have a good image of Nigeria, we need to change the name, flag (logo) and who we are? No I totally disagree. What we need is re-orientation, our perception to life, what we see and define as success, our love towards each other, unity amongst ourselves, support for one another, be proud of whom we are, protect and die for the name Nigeria positively.
“Nigeria is a child. Gifted, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed and incredibly wayward,” – these are the words of Chinua Achebe, in his publication, The Education of a British-Protected Child: a collection of essays which was excerpted in the Guardian on 23 January 2010. In the same piece, he goes on to say, “Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting.”
Is Nigeria gifted? Yes. Is Nigeria enormously talented? Yes Is Nigeria prodigiously endowed? Yes. Is being Nigerian abysmally frustrating? Yes. Is being Nigerian, unbelievably exciting? Without a doubt, YES! The frenzied atmosphere of the country is never ending.
Characterized by a convulsed existence, a turbulent history and a chaotic present, what could be more exciting about a nation which is blessed but abandoned by its own children?
Meanwhile, as we allow imperialism to submerge or culture, our heritage and who we are, we lose not just the moral fabrics that are married to our cultural heritage but our national identity derived from it. Having become a society that priorities wealth over integrity, mediocrity over talent, our youths upon whom our nation’s future rests have embarked on a wild goose chase for the Golden Fleece, crushing our collective identity in their lust for materialism. We must return to the roots – the family circle and begin from there. How do we raise our children? Do we forget that paradoxically, the child is the father of the man? When Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t care who my grandfather was; I only care about who his grandson will become” it was an introspection into the past in order to lay the future’s foundation in the present.
We must begin to harness the power of positive thinking – that which is locked inside of us. On the other hand, people in government must understand that re-orienting Nigerians towards a national re-birth starts from the top. There is still a sightless continuum in the relationship between ‘Nigeria’ and ‘the Nigerian’. There is a loud absence of a social contract between government and the people. This is as a result of the dearth in leaders who execute the business of governance with transparency and selflessness. We need true and selfless leaders in our country. The domino effect of this will become a citizenry that looks up to its government as a reliable leadership structure that holds in dutiful trust the well-being of the masses. In the light of this, the citizens on their part become naturally obliged to their nation. Developed economies of the world thrive on this Rousseauan philosophy. Patriotism is not commanded but earned, just like trust is earned. Nigeria must adopt more scientific approach in its re-orientation of Nigerians towards a national re-birth effort or else we will end up with achieving nothing but what may be termed for want of better description – the doughnut effect.
Keep in mind that we have a rich cultural heritage, and have made some great contributions to the world of art and culture. From the ‘Benin Bronzes’ , festac 77 to Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ben Okri , late Ken Sarowiwa and, from my generation, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, we have made our mark. However, when it really counts, what we are really known for is instability.
I have watched the recent political dance in my country of birth with excitement, shame, and a sense of anger. Again and again, 160 million people have continuously let themselves down. It seems majority of the population have become so used to corrupt and inhuman system that, they excuse the bad governance or else get blindly religious about it, saying, ‘God will make things better.’ I am tired of this unending hope and hunger for real change. Let us collectively stand up and fight against those giving Nigeria a bad image.
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