Our negative perception of things and impatient manner has robbed us of so many good things in this country. As a result of this unfortunate but funny attitude, we are always at the mercy of destructive criticisms, because in the eyes of some people, nothing succeeds in Nigeria except condemnation upon condemnation. For instance, we have had programmes as MAMSER, WAI, WAIC, OFN, HEART OF AFRICA project and many of such societal mobilisations. But they all had pre-mature death because we used our negative traits to kill them. Even some of the Nigerian media that ought to be the pace-setters of the societal norms and value are not free from the avoidable negative coverage of the country’s affairs.
These media often report explosive and sensational issues about Nigeria as if they have another country other than Nigeria. The media practitioners are so pessimistic to the extent that even our good leaders are often not spared of bad journalism.
We are today putting up our voices and vituperative pen against the re-branding of Nigeria project because as I said, we believe that nothing works in Nigeria. To my mind, I do not think the antagonists of re-branding Nigeria have given any plausible reason why the re-branding Nigeria cannot work.
Re-branding Nigeria should be able to change our ugly way of doing things by addressing serious issues that have dragged the name of the country into the mud in recent times. It means re-packaging something that has gone out of fashion or has outlived its usefulness. Our present attitudes and behaviour as Nigerians can no longer sustained us or move us forward. Our national leaders should be able to know that we can no longer feed ourselves and our children because the resources meant for every one has been concentrated in the hand of very few through corruption, stealing, self enrichment and other forms of manipulations. The followers should also know that patronizing corrupt politicians cannot make the country to be great. They should know that they have an important role to play in the transformation of Nigeria to the level of real patriotism.
Still, there are also descending opinions against re-branding Nigeria because such opinions believe that since Nigerians are corrupt, coupled with bad leadership, the re-branding Nigeria project would not succeed. No! I beg to disagree. I should think that all these views against re-branding Nigeria are mere expression of frustrations and in most cases; it is an indication that Nigerians hardly see any thing good for their country. This is why similar projects failed in the past.
Our foreign image is so battered that even an unborn child in foreign land knows who Nigerians are. In order to appreciate the enormity of my point, please, create time to visit any of our international airports in Nigeria, either during arrival or departure of international flights. Some of our security personnel turn their eyes against foreign passengers and reserve their eagle eyes for Nigerian passengers because of the self injurious belief that only Nigerians are corrupt and so the beats go on.
Re-branding Nigeria project also means attitudinal change. We should at the individual level be able to re-brand our bad mind and think positively. This brings to my mind the peddled story by Sahara Reporters and Desert Herald where they sought to blame the Kano State Government for the death of Sheik Ja’afar even when they could not put forward one proof from the security agencies or from anywhere for this wicked allegation that has the potential of casting aspersion on the integrity of good people and precipitating unrest. This is the kind of practice we must shun as good citizens of a country that aspires to greatness.
The Nigerian media and their practitioners should know that publishing lies or half baked truth about our leaders and our country cannot make us great. The bad way of doing things together with the unpatriotic manner of Nigerians is what I think made Professor Dora Akunyili to introduce the idea of re-branding Nigeria’s image, both for outside and internal advantage. It may take long time to achieve this objective; it does not matter provided Nigerians know what it means to re-brand the country.
Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: [email protected]
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