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The other side of re-branding Nigeria

By Christian Nwachukwu

SINCE the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Professor Dora Akunyili came up with her project to re-brand Nigeria’s image, there has been sporadic responses about whether or not the project would succeed. So far, the scepticisms expressed by some people are far more than optimisms.

This is because, perhaps, in Nigeria we sometimes tend to look at the bad side of things without caring what the good side can make for us.  We have so much dwelled on the negative aspects than positive ones, knowing full well that it is only through positive issues that we can move the country forward.  We have always liked to kill every conception at its inception, without giving room for its trial.

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 mobilizations.
But they all had premature death because we used our negative traits to kill them.

Even the Nigerian media that ought to be the pace – setters of the societal norms and value are not free from that avoidable negative coverage of the country affairs. Some sections of the media often dwell on explosive and sensational issues about Nigeria in their reports 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.  This is why some of our leaders have chosen to steal from the public coffers because those who did not do so have also been criticized and condemned along with the bad ones due mere to political differences and variant interests.

We like good leaders but hardly do we emulate their good attributes.  We have always gathered together at symposia, workshops, seminars and meetings to remember and celebrate the good attributes of past heroes as the late Aminu Kano, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Murtala Ramat Muhammed, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and host of others.
Yet, we do not try to do or emulate what made them heroes in our country.

We are today putting up our voices and vituperative pens against the re-branding of Nigeria project because as I said, nothing works in Nigeria.

To my mind, I do not think the antagonists of re-branding Nigeria have given any plausible reason why re-branding Nigeria cannot work.  Some people are of the opinion that Professor Dora Akunyili should first re-brand herself before re-branding Nigeria.

Incidentally, this is the same woman that dealt serous blows to drug pushers and saved the country from the agony of fake and counterfeit drugs.  If Professor Akunyili had not re-branded herself, how would she have succeeded in the drug issue that brought her acclaim  both at home and abroad?  Why do we forget things so quickly?  More over, it is the collective image of Nigeria and Nigerians that is at stake and not that of Akunyili as an individual.

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 time.  It means re-packing something that has gone out of fashion or has outlived its usefulness.  Our present attitudes and behaviours as Nigerians can no longer sustain 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 everyone have been concentrated in the hand of very few through corruption, stealing, self enrichment and other forms of manipulations.  The leadership and the led  should also know that patronising corrupt politicians cannot make the country to be great.  The followers also have an important role to play in the transformation of Nigeria through patriotism.

Still, there is also another opinion against re-branding Nigeria which believes that since Nigerians are corrupt, coupled with bad leadership, the re-branding Nigeria project will not succeed.  No! I beg to disagree.  I should think that all these views against re-branding Nigeria are mere expressions of frustration and in most cases, are indications that Nigerians hardly see anything good in their country.  This is why similar projects failed in the past.

Mr. Nwachukwu, a commentator on national issues, writes  from Abuja.


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