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A discourse on rebranding Nigeria

Now, re-branding presupposes a defect or deficiency which requires repairing or remaking to meet a certain expectation. And by the way, at the mention of…

Now, re-branding presupposes a defect or deficiency which requires repairing or remaking to meet a certain expectation. And by the way, at the mention of the word re-branding, two things easily come to mind:  products and standards.

 But how about the re-branding of a nation and her people?  This would seem to be a different ball game. But is it really? To be sure, we should answer these questions: What is wrong with us as a people that we require re-branding? And should it be the same re-branding that is essential to product quality? Could it be that the problem with us detracts from our personality, our hopes, aspirations and expectations?

To be on the right track in this re-branding project, it is advisable to allow the SON professionals to take up the matter in their laboratories. Allow them to place Nigeria under its microscopes. When this is properly done, they may discover that our country needs re-branding on three major planks: the economic, political and social planks.

On the economic plank, the one which affects our quality of lives directly, the SON is already at work. The political plank should appropriately be taken up by the Information Ministry under Prof. Akunyili. The re-branding here should be two pronged: One, to make our politicians faithful to their Oath of Office, especially as it concerns the service they pledged to render to the people and two to wean these politicians away from the primitive capital accumulation which many of them now indulge in.

There should be a novelty here. For a change, the Information Ministry should endeavour to talk to those in government on the need to abide by that Oath of Office and to refrain from the excessive and primitive accumulation of wealth through corruption.

The social plank of the re-branding concerns Nigerians themselves. The political and economic planks dovetail into this social plank. Here, all hands must be on deck, so to say. Here, the objective should entail far more than re-orientation. Reengineering would seem to be the more appropriate term. And the goal should be the creation of a new social character and a new society, whereby the two support and reinforce each other.

The foregoing may appear a little too abstract. So let us be more explicit. Our basic premise is that this re-branding must be about us. And it has to be done first from within. For instance, what we truly are and how we present ourselves to the world may not be the same. One such area of difference may be between the reality and the façade; that is, the difference between what we ought to be and what we really are. Let us consider this, what is the reality of life of the average Nigerian? Is it what it ought to be?

It goes without saying that if the average Nigerian enjoys improved standards of living, self sufficiency and prosperity; we would not need to use loud speakers to tell the world that we are the giant of Africa. The basic problem which detracts from our personality, prestige, esteem and reckoning is that our country is deemed to be very rich, yet majority of our people live in abject poverty. This is a core challenge for the political plank re-branding. Thus, in this re-branding project, we must be wary of projecting a fine front or façade while the inside is rotten and despicable. Ultimately, the goal of this re-branding should be to reposition Nigeria and her people such that their comfort, happiness and prosperity would enchant the outside world and make our country highly esteemed.

No doubt the Information Ministry has a crucial role to play; being the “Spokesperson” and image maker of our country. But to make this project an entirely Information Ministry affairs runs the risk of narrowing the project idea and potential. When properly handled, this project should aim at creating a total man, a total Nigerian of high quality or status; in other words, a Nigerian who is satisfied with his/her status and derives pleasure and pride from being a Nigerian. This is the main condition our country needs to qualify for greatness.

Halilu writes from Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna

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