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Re-branding: Nigerians should tell our story, not foreigners — Akunyili

By Princewill Ekwujuru

“Nigeria and Nigerians are not as bad as the world take us and that should not stop us from  telling our story. We have to tell our story to the world, no one knows our story like us.”  declared Minister of Information and Communication Mrs Dora Akunyili.

Prof. Dora Akunyili said this  when Brand Writers Association of Nigeria (BWAN) hosted her  to it’s maiden Talkshop on the way forward for the re-branding Nigeria project and why the  project must work.

While advancing reasons why Nigerians must help push the re- branding project, she said that  for a very long time, the  image problem of Nigeria has not been properly addressed. Only  War Against Indiscipline (WAI) worked a little, but it was not sustained, “of course, if   you remember during WAI, we were focused, we were orderly in our true essence, we were  actually ourselves, but today, this cannot be said of the country.”

Akunyili
Akunyili

“For too long we have suffered in this country, “personally, I don’t want our children, our  grand children to continue going through what we are going through today. The international  communities have be defining us based on the behaviour of a few criminals in our midst, we  actually allowed the bad behaviour of these horrible people to criminate our collective  innocence, people talk about us almost all the time as very corrupt people, unruly,   in-redeemable people, a country were nothing works, and these things have stocked so much,  that in all efforts, in all public  places, all over the world, once the green passport is  sited, you become a marked person.”

Continuing, she said, “you are asked to stand aside, you are not given the benefit of the  doubt and we started accepting it as if it was alright, because if it was not okay, why were  we not saying something about it openly and concretely, even during Heart of Africa project,  it was never addressed and it continued to an extent that even when people wanted do any  advert on corruption they use Nigeria.

Some things are still working in Nigeria, the country has not ben ungovernable, in some of  these countries there grave crimes taking place, it is never reported, even if reported it  is in there local media, this because they are too cautious of their image.

But, if not for the re-branding Nigeria project we wouldn’t have stopped Sony from that  advert. It is because of the spirit of re-branding that people started reporting what Sony  is doing, and we are re-branding, saying that we are criminals. They had to stop because we  complained. If Sony had done this two, three years ago nobody would have reported it.

“It is clear that we have an image problem, everybody accepts that; and something needs to  be done  to enhance our image, So,  it is not enough only to put our roads in place, get  pipe borne water constructed, or bring the railways back  to life, or enhance our  electricity supply and so on. Even if we have all the roads in Nigeria fixed, electricity  runs  24/7, and the internet still says it is too risky to do business in Nigeria, foreign  investors will still find it difficult to invest in Whether branding or no re-branding there  are too many things we are to do for our country Nigeria. Re-branding or branding a country,  re-branding is something that goes on from generation to generation, because we cannot stop  renewing, it’s a sense of renewal, always trying to renew. It is a continuos process, she  stated.

Stressing further, Akunyili said, “all what I want to plead with Nigerians is that we do  whatever we are doing the right way. We need to project our country as a good product we can  sell. What is happening with the re-branding project now is struggling to market a product  that is not marketable. It posses a very difficult problem.”

“The Ministry of Information is not branding Nigeria, Nigeria is already a brand, So many  countries re-branded, South Africa did, using the slogan, it is possible, Kenya, Malawi did,   Angola after 21 years of civil war did.  India has, when India was  re-branding they used a  slogan.”  Using the slogan Good people, Great Nation’” is a tonic to ginger Nigerians. So if  we are re-branding we must do it differently, it must not go the way of all the others.


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