By Michael Eboh
An Advertising and media practitioner, Sir Steve Omojafor, has faulted the recent re-branding exercise by theÂ Minister of Information, Professor (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili, calling on her, to instead, focus on reorientating theÂ countryâ€™s leadership, making them responsive to the needs of the citizens.
Omojafor, Group Chairman, STB-McCann Limited, in his presentation at the Association of Advertising Agencies ofÂ Nigeriaâ€™s (AAAN) 36th Annual General Meeting, in Enugu State, made available to Vanguard, disclosed that if theÂ Akunyili concentrates on addressing the issue of bad leadership in the country, majority of the countryâ€™s problemÂ would be solved as other things would naturally fall into place.
He said, â€œAnd now to the poser: Who needs to be â€˜Rebrandedâ€™. â€˜Repositionedâ€™ or â€˜Repairedâ€™ – Is it the country, itsÂ leadership or the followership? But first, let us identify some contending target groups: At the peak, is a hungryÂ and completely dehumanized followership; then a traumatized Nigerian Youth population with no sense of direction orÂ hope for the future; followed by a productive sector that must provide electricity, roads, water and security toÂ remain in business; and finally, a Nigerian populace whose dreams and expectations in life, have been so shamelesslyÂ dashed.
â€œHonestly should we not get more serious? The Honourable Minister might have succeeded in glamourising the wordÂ â€˜Rebrandinq,â€™Â but how do you re-brand a virtually dead populace or nation? â€˜Repositioning?â€™ From what point toÂ where? The truth, if it must be well told, is that it is the countryâ€™s leadership that needs to be â€˜Repairedâ€™ fromÂ its current state of absolute Dilapidation.
â€œI find the on-going re-branding noise rather superfluous and without any discernible direction. Is the fire burningÂ out, even before it started? Questions again are: Are we worried about the way Nigerians perceive their country orÂ the way outsiders see us? If itâ€™s the former, how can re-branding in its current form make me change my opinion ofÂ my country – when I am dying of hunger, jobless, dejected, no electricity to iron my clothes, no clean water toÂ drink or cook my meal and continue to sleep with one eye open, awaiting the arrival of the next set of armedÂ robbers? It just doesnâ€™t add up.
And if the new branding is meant to change outsidersâ€™ opinion about Nigeria, what is Madam Ministerâ€™s grouse againstÂ the Heart of Africa launched about two years ago? Or rather, why is she so bent on not exposing her own campaign toÂ those same foreigners whom she is attempting to attract to invest in a new and improved Nigeria.
I think she needs to be more decided. Militancy in the Niger Delta has for instance, continued to give Nigeria suchÂ a bad image out there. I am yet to be educated how her current re-branding exercise can restore the much-neededÂ sanity to the area and get the boys off the trenches.
â€œThatâ€™s why one rather strongly believes, that the evolution of a leadership with vision, clear-cut programmes,Â policies and strategies that will give the country a new lease of life is the starting point. Do Nigerians forÂ instance, believe in the current leadership? Not when itâ€™s reported that Senators take home close to N12 millionÂ monthly while members of the House of Representatives go home with close to N10 million.
â€œOr when N1.3 trillion of our N3.1 trillion National budget (about thirty percent) is spent on salaries andÂ allowances of politicians, while poor Nigerians are daily dying of hunger. How then can we have money to payÂ striking lecturers, provide electricity, repair our roads or fix the hospitals? Did I hear them say, they areÂ cutting salaries & allowances? Your guess is as good as mine!â€œIf the President can fix the economy, provide jobs forÂ the teeming youths, supply electricity, fix the roads, ensure security of life and property, bring the schools toÂ international standards, fix the hospitals to provide world-class healthcare, that is the real re-branding we need.Â The truth is that mere sloganeering will never do the job. Focus needs to shift heavily to concrete governmentÂ actions and policies to save Nigerians from the throes of untimely death. Anything to the contrary, is putting theÂ cart before the horse.â€