Monday, March 30, 2009

Nigerians are a very confident people who believe in themselves. We see success in our lives in the form of individuals overcoming innumerable odds. However, if there is one thing the re-branding campaign, introduced last week by Dora Akunyili, reinforces, it is that Nigerians do not have much faith in their government. That is understandable because over time the government has not fulfilled its duties to the people, many of whom remain poor or lack basic infrastructure and necessities. Since its launch, the "Nigeria. Good People, Great Nation' project hit a few bumps along the way and faced criticism, constructive and otherwise. Although many of Nigerian Curiosity's readers disagree, I personally believe that it is an effort worthy of support because Nigeria's image definitely needs an upgrade.


While I was excited to finally find the logo, I was a bit disappointed. The logo does not reflect the caliber of product that Nigerians already produce. For instance, there are many music videos being made in Nigeria, by Nigerians, for Nigerians. Ikechukwu's "Wind Am Well" or, even the "Aiye Po Gan" video by the artist Ill Bliss are just a few examples of high craftsmanship. These, and many other Nigerians prove that home grown talent is competitive with any on the planet when done right. There are far too many Nigerians, in Nigeria or the diaspora, that could have assisted in transforming this logo into something more polished. The logo, unfortunately, lacks a certain professionalism and sophistication that is necessary to give the re-branding effort credibility amongst Nigerians and the international community. If Nigeria aims to stand out in a positive fashion, this homegrown logo must meet the standards that Nigerians demand and expect. A little more work by talented Nigerians working together would have produced a world class logo. It is not too late to make it better.


And now, the Nigerian Police Force wants to jump on the re-branding bandwagon. According to the Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro,
"There is no way you can re-brand Nigeria effectively and successfully without re-branding the various sections that make up Nigeria; the various organisations, units, ministries, parastatals and the individuals beginning with the Nigerian Police". [sic]
Okiro is correct to suggest that changing Nigeria's image must include a reworking of the smaller units that make up the whole. But, the Police Force does not need the re-branding campaign to improve its own image, especially as the re-branding campaign has a very limited budget. While this might provide a prime opportunity for the Police force to take upon rebranding its image, there are other things it can do to achieve that goal. For the Police Force to lose its reputation as a corrupt organization, it will have to keep crime rates low, come to the aid of defenseless citizens and take care of police officers so as to lessen their need to rely on corrupt practices to provide for their families. The Police Force will have to be associated with success in the form of results to truly transform its image and that is a goal it can achieve with focus and an appropriate strategy.

That same approach - concrete actions with definite results - will also help Nigeria achieve the goal of revamping its image. The arrest and sentencing of individuals like Lawal Nurudeen who managed to defraud an Australian of $47,000 is definitely a step in showing the world that Nigeria will not tolerate advance fee fraud a plague on the nation's reputation. However, to show Nigerians that the government will no longer tolerate incompetency and corruption, the federal government must arrest and detain those who stole from the public coffers. The people once had hope that those responsible for their poverty will face justice, but that hope is beginning to dim. The law must be applied equally to all to provide credibility to the government and its programs.

This administration must also produce on its promises.
The promise made last week by the Minister of Power that more electricity will be generated by the end of this year, must be kept and all Nigerians cannot wait for the manifestation of this promise. The achievement of such goals will help to bolster confidence that this government is capable of addressing the needs of the people. Such confidence will translate into goodwill for the federal government and its programs, such as the current re-branding effort.

Nigerians are not perfect. But, as individuals, they make up a collective group of ingenious, persevering and successful people. They only need their federal government and other political leaders to reflect that very important aspect of Nigeria. When that happens, there will be little need for re-branding as the Nigerian brand will speak for itself at home and abroad. Nigerians, from politicians to the average citizen, have to commit themselves to representing success in order to transform the way they and the world see Nigeria. In the meantime, a better logo would not hurt.

Please read Akin's astute review of blogger's varied reactions to the "Re-Branding Nigeria" launching the first week at Nigerians Talk, a new site that provides a weekly review of the Nigerian blogosphere.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria's Re-branding Effort
- Using Nigerians to Re-Brand Nigeria
- Re-branding Nigeria: Success is the Key
- Rebranding Nigeria: With Britain's Help?
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Significance of Persistent Psychological Paralysis

27 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Anonymous said...

ohhh! am sad about the rebranding one. But you do says good to uplift the place through giving thoughts. Great one! Keep blogging my friend!

Sokari said...

My issue with the rebranding of the country is that it does not come with acknowledging the basics of life are still not being dealt with. Even so I could be a little happy about it because it is a positive and cheerful thought especially when driving giant holes during the rainy season or sitting in darkness for yet another night etc and truly there are some wonderful things about Nigeria and its a damn shame that they are not more visible! Sorry my cynicism overwhelms even me sometimes!

However you loose me completely when it comes to the idea of rebranding the police - a seriously major exercise as in like a baby trying to climb the Himalayas! Did you know that it is policy for every Nigerian police station to have a "torture" officer and chamber? I was told this by a friend who is with the Nigeria Civil Liberties and I have no reason to doubt him.

Danny Bagucci said...

well thought out piece yet again SSD - guess I've ranted here in the past on my thoughts that the rebranding exercise should not be the priority at the moment.. hopefully since it is here to stay, some one on Dora's team will be astute enough to step back from the hype around the rebranding exercise and think critically through some of the key success factors that you have highlighted on here. Thank for sharing.

Sugabelly said...

omg, LOL @ the baby trying to climb the Himalayas!!!

But seriously though, I TOTALLY prefer the Heart of Africa logo. By the way, do you know if now that they've abandoned the Heart of Africa project, I can use the name and logo for my own Heart of Africa project?????

This new logo is BORING. And tired. And now I'm yawning. Bah, I'm going to bed.

We need to end our dependence on Oil, fix our infrastructure, and educate our people so that they will realise that Oil is NOT the answer to ANY of their problems. You can't rebrand a country you haven't fixed. That's like scratching off the expiry date on milk that you KNOW is five years old and putting it back on the shelf for sale again.

Bad Nigeria!! Bad!!!

Akin said...

Hello SolomonS,

You are making progress, you have found the logo but where is the website?

Like I said in the opening paragraph of my reviews of views on rebranding for NigeriansTalk, rebranding a drink without dealing with the stomach upsets the drink causes is preparing for an even greater PR disaster.

Optimism has to have form, to be optimistic to conceal a more foreboding pessimism that we all have for this campaign is fallacy to say the least.

What is obvious like I have heard from many a wise older person in Nigeria is - if you fail to plan, you plan to fail; but then Nigerians believe in miracles and maybe that is what we are looking for.

The natural course of things would never produce success, a miracle might - let us start praying those endless fervent prayers that we are wont to pray amiss.




@ cacainadjourney: Howdy, Cacai M. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I see you changed your name a little bit...

@ Sokari: "acknowledging the basics of life " has been the chief gripe by most Nigerians about this re-branding efforta nd in fact most Nigerian efforts. I realised over 10 years ago, that if Nigerians had the basics - good roads, access to adequate healthcare, electricity, schools with non-striking teachers - we probably wouldn't really care whether leaders put money in their pocket. Not saying that attitude is right or wrong, I just think it is the way we are as a people.

As per the police, no be me send them oh! lol! The cynic in me sees this as simply a ploy to get some of rebranding money into the Police coffers, unfortunately. Re-branding is now becoming some sort of catchy slang thrown around by Nigeria's political elite. It will take the likes of good Nigerians to bring them down to earth via such discussions.

And unfortunately, I am not surprised by the 'torture chamber' mention. Besides, any Nollywood film that involves police will show that aspect of the police's reputation quickly and decisively for the world to see.

Thank you so much for stopping by and joining the conversation.

@ Danny: Hey Danny! I have contact information for Dora and her deputy but think that we need to find the head of the re-branding project to show him links to the discussions we bloggers are having. Which reminds me, I must put a link up to Akin's very astute review of blogville's discussion of this matter in the first week. It makes for very good reading for anyone interested in this topic.

@ Sugabelly: I read Sokari's comment and chuckled but just laughed out loud at your reference to it again! What was Obama's slogan - Yes We Can, right? That mean say baby fit reach top of himalayas oh!

But seriously, you might be able to use the 'Heart of Africa' logo. It was created to belong to the people and to be modified as seen fit for the purposes of that campaign. Now that the campaign is over, it could be public by now. But you run the risk of ownership issues if you do turn it into something big. You know how it is.

"Bad Nigeria. Bad" - indeed, my sista.

@ Akin: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail; but then Nigerians believe in miracles and maybe that is what we are looking for."

How symptomatic of us Nigerians, don't you think? This project was hurriedly put out as OZ suggested a few posts back. I spoke to him and suggested that the reason for such hurry was because Dora was embarrassed by the UN's maternal and infant death rate numbers that were recently released in Abuja some weeks back. Can explain that further if you or anyone else needs that. Unfortunately, what Dora, and her team (especially those who advised her) have done is look incompetent. This logo only reinforces that possibility.

Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us and I must link to your Nigerians Talk review of the Re-branding discussion's first week.

Unknown said...

Nice one SSD..
I have been looking for this logo too..Thx for sharing it.
We cannot talk of Re-branding Nigeria without find solutions to the problems is meaningless.
I totally agree with Akin.. We've got lots of work to do seriously in Nigeria and it involves you and I.

Sugabelly said...

Hiya, I need to email you about something. Is there an email address you can give me?

Anonymous said...

Splashed -

Madam Cee said...

SSD, as an avid albeit anonymous reader of your blog, I commend you on your work and even moreso on your optimism. Matter of fact I am an optimist myself and am usually in agreement with your opinions. However this post raises a question in my mind... Why are you optimistic about re-branding Nigeria but not re-branding the police force? Aren't the issues you cite about the Nigerian police first changing their practices\policies exactly analogous to Nigeria first changing it's practices re. corruption, justice etc?

Can we really change our image by applying a lick of [inferior] paint over our image? It's a hard question but sincerely...?


@ Madam Cee: thank you for the challenge presented by your question.

My resistance to the Mike Okiro's announcement is due to my concern that "re-branding" is becoming a term bandied about by Nigeria's political elite. A term with no substance and even less vision associated with it.

Does the Police Force need an image overhaul? Probably. Is that overhaul as important as the nation's need for a changed rethinking in how it sees itself and how the world sees it? Now that is where I have to say, "not necessarily".

Nigeria hasn't convinced the people on this re-branding issue yet, having Okiro jump on the bandwagon will unfortunately further dilute the message that Akunyili needs to instill. Why? Because the reality is that Nigerians don't trust the police, matter of fact, given our history, we don't really trust people in uniform, to be honest. But, Akunyili at least is the one of a few political elite that still has some goodwill from the people, so associating her project with the Police Force might not be a good thing. I just worry that further association with the Police will continue to kill the baby before it climbs the Himalayas (lol - please refer to Sokari's wonderful comment above for clarification).

Additionally, the cynic in me is worried that the Police Force is simply trying to get their hands on "re-branding money", a technique used by bureaucrats the world over but even more unique in the case of Naija and its unfortunate corruption issues. The thinking is that there's a new fad and therefore, there's money, so, let's get into it. That will be of little consequence, given that we all know there are already budget issues involved with this campaign and that the planning for the campaign appears less than stellar.

As such, and I should have clarified this in the post, I do not think that Okiro or the Police Force should piggyback on the campaign. Pure P.R. and corruption reasons. Given the limited resources, the Police Force can simply focus on results without a 'splashy' campaign. Nigeria, however, needs to not just focus on results and promises, but must also invest in a serious P.R. offensive, at home and abroad.

As you can see, I see a distinction between the importance of a re-branding campaign for the Police and for the nation. Both are important, but given the current realities, one takes precedence. Thanks again for taking the time to not just ask a serious question, but ask a question that helps us all think through the countless issues involved in this campaign. I truly appreciate this. It has added to my own knowledge in the process. Thank you and please do not hesitate to ask such pressing questions. I know if I am unable to handle it for any reason, a few of the other members of the Nigerian Curiosity family will also help.

Dojaa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dojaa said...

I just feel Nigeria spends too much money on these kind of campaigns which never generate results because people are hungry and angry.

webround said...

The rebranding effort should be broken down into short (immediate), mid-term, & long-term goals. Something like the police will fall under mid/long-term goal.

For short-term/immediate effort: identify highly visible and simple to implement areas where a positive turnaround can be implemented. Work with those in charge to make the necessary changes and sit back and watch the populace do the rebranding effort for you. An example is applying/renewing your passports at the Nigerian embassies in US and UK. If the foreign affairs mission fixes that, Dora can include it in her branding effort and the populace will take up the rebranding mantra for her. Find something similar for those at home and repeat the same thing.

Some are talking about website for the rebranding effort. I couldn't even find a decent website for the ministry. This is what i found -

webround said...

@sokari - a policy for the Nigerian police to have a torture chamber? - personally, I find that difficult to believe. I would rather be provided evidence to convince me otherwise. Please note that this is just my personal opinion. I've personally experienced the brutality of police, but i don't know about it being a policy to actually have a torture chamber. Also to be fair, i have encountered politeness and good deed from the police too.

Adaeze said...

Solomonsydelle! I have been meaning to come here and read but I've been so stressed out and I felt like I owed each article/post some proper attention. I am so happy to know this site - you make it so easy for busy people like myself to keep updated on news. I always agree with you too.
Same for the re-branding issue. I was disappointed with this logo as well. It looks just like any other country's advertisment on CNN? There is so much hidden talent in Nigeria that can be harvested for a good cause. I agree with Sugabelly - why rebrand while not having fixed or at least having started to fix some of the most fundamental problems. At the same time I always like ambition and tourism is another way to go in Nigeria. But theres still a lot of things to do to make Nigeria more attractive internationally. I also agree with you on the police issue.Having a better police force is so pricelessly important. Better training and salaries.
thanks for another great post Solomonsydelle I don't know how you do all that you do :)

Anonymous said...

Just checked ma balance and I saw this message attached,'do you know MTN recharge cards are bio-degradable and made in Nigeria?'
I was stunned at the information but I couldnt help but wonder if the re-branding effort is already working...

RC6 said...

hi solomons, always a pleasure to read here.
in italy not so bad thanx
i keep in touch to you ciao

joicee said...

Okay.....I watched Prof. Akunyuli on BEN tv the other day discussing this rebranding thingy....she sounded really passionate about it and being the Minister of Information I guess she is trying to use this platform to kind of change the perception of Nigeria by the outside world. I applaud her efforts but the change must start from within...from the grassroots to the very top

Dojaa said...

Can I Just add that the Nigeria Police will continue to be a joke unless the states are allowed to police themselves.

Sugabelly said...

Messaged you with the link you gave me. :)

io said...

time would reveal what we currently dont know about this rebranding project.

Unknown said...

Hi SSD, i agree with most of the comments in this and previous posts about the weaknesses of the re-branding effort but i also see the value of it. It's just a shame that it doesn't seem to have been well constructed.

I believe in the power of the messages that we internalise to shape what we believe. I also think it is important that we see the value in ourselves instead of always demeaning our identity in comparison to other nations. I can't remember how many times i've heard Nigerians talk about when they realised that oyinbos are not the saints they'd always believed them to be.

Nigeria is not the only country that has a brand. To my mind, the US has the biggest and maybe most effective brand. Why else would Americans be absolutely convinced that their country is God's own country, the greatest in the world, always in the right and anyone against them must be on the side of evil etc? It's because this is the message they constantly receive about themselves. If it were up to me, i would bombard Nigerians with messages of my choosing...'subliminal brainwashing' if you like.

We may have other problems of more importance to deal with but that argument could be used to postpone any good, non-urgent project. You don't have to wait for all the big things to be sorted before you attempt to tackle other issues that may be less urgent but are easier to solve.

Angel Adedayo said...

The problem is, how do we rebrand diz country in d face of our self made adversities?When can an electorate determine d outcome of any election in Nigeria?When will there be an effective rule of law?These questions must be answered correctly before any logical rebranding can take place

Anonymous said...

If we can stop the Global warming, we can rebrand Nigeria! I guess the 0zone layer over nigeria is non-existent as it has been depleted beyond belief with our wanton wastage and humongous carbon emission,the day the top echelon or sacred cows in our nation do away with their cars/vehicles and long convoys are reduced to a max of 2 cars IRRESPECTIVE OF WHO THEY ARE,Nigerians will throw away sentiments and wholeheartedly embrace rebranding! SHALOM!

Unknown said...


Beauty said...

Nigeria's Senate has ordered an investigation into reports that one of its members has married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl. The senator is reported to have paid a dowry of $100,000 (£66,000) to the child's parents - and to have brought the girl into Nigeria from Egypt. Mr Sani was the governor of Zamfara state, where he oversaw the introduction of Sharia law - for the first time in a northern state - in 1999. How we fit brand dis?

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