I have been to places, I have seen things, but believe me I have never seen a slogan as positive and beautiful as Nigeria Good People… Great Nation!
Wait, pause and ponder over the hullaballoo generated by the rebrand campaign in most quarters. Well it’s understandable, considering the level of moral decadence, high level of criminal tendencies in our youths, endemic corruption, procedural lapses in government agencies, ethnicity, sectionalism and above all the Unquenchable thirst for fame, power and respect not minding whose ox is gored!
For starters, the content of the rebrand campaign was not clear enough for the citizenry to digest, even yours truly was somewhat confused about the relevance of such a project, as I took out time to study the rebrand slogan: Good People Great Nation, questions began fighting in my head, wanting to know if Nigeria is really a great nation blessed with good people.
What are the challenges and demands of taking this nation out of the doldrums? The multi million naira question I guess for every Nigerian worth the name as we have been faced with multifaceted problems that have infiltrated our DNA resulting to an impediment in our quest to move forward as a people and as a nation. We have been beleaguered with tales of corrupt exhibition by those saddled with the mantle of preserving our rich cultural heritage as epitomized by the Ahmadu Bello’s, the Awolowo’s and the Azikiwe’s of blessed memory. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace Amen!
Nigeria belongs to all of us regardless of our cultural and religious differences, it’s on record that Nigeria consist of over 250 ethno religious groups and among the most ethnic diverse countries in the world, yet we are all called Nigerians, not white or black Nigerians, not royals or outcasts Nigerians, but all Nigerians. This attribute alone is worth celebrating, that we have risen above ethnic and religious sentiments to live together as one. There is no other country in the African continent that can boast of the aura of peace and tranquility experienced in Nigeria, despite its complexity, and in some cases the religious and ethnic uprising experienced in a few states.
The challenge I see ahead of us is simply the “mindset reorientation”. A situation and time, when Nigerians will begin to talk positive about Nigeria, when Nigerians will have faith in Nigeria and a situation where Nigerians will rise up in defense of Nigeria. Rebranding Nigeria campaign which aims amongst others to bring about the aforesaid is not rocket science, but simply put: common sense, common sense in that, when we begin to do what is right and desisting from acts inimical to our continued growth and progress.
Doing what is right entails, individual change, positive thoughts about the country, selfless service, patriotism, faith and belief in the country. The Americans will not go an extra mile for us, neither will the Europeans. Nigerians have to do it for Nigeria to make progress and reclaim its position in the league of great nations.
This was where the need to rebrand the country aroused from; it could also be termed keeping faith with the nation, but the pertinent question is what is a Brand? And why do we need to Rebrand?
A brand is a name or trademark connected with a product or producer. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as "cultural accessories and personal philosophies. Hmm! What a definition by Wikipedia, but as a Nigerian I was not satisfied with the above definition, I resorted to further research, aha! The Dictionary of Business and Management defines a brand as: "a name, sign or symbol used to identify items or services of the seller(s) and to differentiate them from goods of competitors." a satisfactory definition? Hmm! Wait "A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer". Good definition but it can be better in this; a brand is the totality of consumers experience, perception, benefits and values. It also refers to the tangible and intangible asset/value of the country as perceived/experienced by its various stakeholders.
A brand is also a collection of symbols, experiences and associations connected with a product, a service, a person or any other artifact or entity. Brands have become increasingly important components of culture and the economy, now being described as "cultural accessories and personal philosophies"
Rebranding on the other hand is the process by which a product or service developed with one brand, company or product line affiliation is marketed or distributed with a different identity. This may involve radical changes to the brand's logo, brand name, image, marketing strategy, and advertising themes. These changes are typically aimed at the repositioning of the brand, usually in an attempt to distance itself from certain negative connotations of the previous branding, or to move the brand up market.
The picture is getting clearer, but what readily comes to mind at the mention of Nigeria? Some include but not limited to: Bad leadership, fraudulent acts (419), corruption, greed and a failed state battling with the reverberation of our past misdemeanor. These attributes combined together calls for sober reflection in Nigeria. You will agree with me that a lot of work needs to be done paramount a perception change and mindset reorientation that knows no leader or servant, no Ibo Hausa or Yoruba but Nigerians regardless of our status in the society.
This when embraced will open doors to a mental and psychological reorientation of our way of life. The change we so yearn for, must originate from home and that’s why the rebrand project should be given a chance to flourish.
The campaign scope when juxtaposed with the present realities facing us as a nation will make a discerning mind nod in appreciation for the birth of a noble idea/initiative.
Some school of thought will readily assert that the problem with Nigeria is our leaders that have continued to churn out baseless policies and awful leadership laced with maladministration and corrupt practices. Very well in place, But on a second thought, I say all is guilty not trying to absolve the leadership of the country from a large chunk of the blame, as we were not coerced into accepting the legitimacy of a flawed electoral process.
What about the ordinary man on the street who thinks about cheating his next door neighbor at the slight opportunity? What about the market traders that sells goods with their impulse? What about the Okada rider and taxi driver that charges exorbitantly, depending on his mood? What about our business men that travel to china and demand for sub standard goods? What about our business men who deal in fake drugs while endangering the lives his fellow country people? What about the students of our schools that engages in examination malpractices? What about our lecturers that molest female students with sex advances for high grades? What about the civil servant that out of sheer wickedness hides his colleague’s file to deny him promotion? What about that jealous neighbor that poison the kids of another family out of envy? What about that police man that demands for gratification from bus drivers? What about that bank that sold shares and withheld certificates for 8 months and in most cases return monies back to investors without interest? What about that drunk driver that knocks down a fellow human in traffic and instead speeds away? What about me that disobeys traffic rules with impunity because of my uniform? What about you that read this piece and refused to change your attitude?
The chain is complex and complicated; the people likewise the leaders should be accountable, these little things we ignore now are the monsters that will threaten our existence tomorrow. The Reorientation must start from the mind, which the rebrand project preaches. Sentiments should be put aside if we must move forward; the personality of the supervising Minister should not be an issue, but rather the motive of the campaign and its intended outcome.
That corrupt government official was once an ordinary citizen and had life experiences that shaped his thought pattern, that 419 kingpin was once a kid that had life experiences, that thief was once a kid that grew up with an orientation which shaped his behavioral pattern.
The challenge we are faced with is arresting this anomaly from the mindset, I think it’s more of a psychological approach than a physical approach, in the sense that our attitude and disposition towards one another is at heart of our trials and tribulations. Not until we put the love for one another and love for the country, first and above all other endeavors, rebranding Nigeria will be an exercise in futility.
Our leaders must rise up to the challenge and ensure that all organs of government are in tandem with the rebrand message. The citizenry must lend credence to government policies, as this gives it an 80% chance of success. Anti corruption agencies should not be barking dogs, they must gain the trust of Nigerians by prosecuting corrupt Nigerians and not necessarily government officials, as the monster called corruption transcends stealing money, but it encompasses negative actions and inactions in our everyday lives.
Political office should not be viewed as an avenue for self aggrandizement, but rather an avenue to contribute to the growth of the nation through selfless service to the people. Questions must be asked should an individual display wealth above his means of livelihood, government officials or business men, no one should be left out. Candidates seeking elective positions must have a blue print for development, of sound mind and unquestionable antecedents. Voting should be premised on the charisma, content of character and manifesto of individuals rather than party line.
The federal character syndrome should be abolished as it has set us back rather than uplift us. Experience, expertise and qualification should be the yardstick for appointment into sensitive positions of authority. Tribalism and ethnic sentiments should be relegated to the background as this is the United states of Nigeria, where the Hausa man will see the Yoruba man as a friend and a brother.
Therefore the need to rebrand became imperative as the brand called Nigeria is in shambles. Just like most organization will do in the face of challenging market situation, repositioning and re strategizing will be employed to make the brand stronger and better. This is what the rebrand campaign is all about. The brand called Nigeria was once the giant of Africa, but today the reverse is the case hence the need for re strategizing and repositioning for optimal results.
Nigeria must reclaim its once enviable position and for that to be possible there is a need for rebranding.
Nigeria …Good People… Great Nation
Ocheja is the Managing Consultant of Labari Media Limited.