Thursday, May 21, 2009

Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili, met with Bob Dewar, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria on Monday, May 18th, 2009. During this meeting, in Abuja, Nigeria, Dewar stated his country's support of the re-branding project and Akunyili responded,

"We count on you to help us in this journey of rebranding Nigeria and we pray that by the grace of God it will succeed.
"I am happy that you are in support of this rebranding project. I look forward to getting some help from you on this work of letting the world know that Nigeria is not where nothing works..."

To this, Dewar replied,
"We hope to make our own contribution to ensure that the positive image of Nigeria is projected across the world..."
This polite discussion between Akunyili and Dewar begs the question of whether or not Britain will play a role in the re-branding campaign. One cannot ignore the fact that when the re-branding campaign was launched, Akunyili stressed that the 'Good People, Great Nation' campaign was "a Nigerian project for Nigerians" and that it would make no sense taking it abroad.
So, has there been a change of heart? Will some branding outfit connected to Britain be granted a contract to spearhead the re-branding campaign? It is well known that British branding wizard, Simon Anholt, was one of the first in the branding industry to introduce the world to the concept of nation brands. His company has created the leading poll on national brands and in its most recent edition, Nigeria, one of only 3 African countries included, came in at 49 out of the 50 nations listed.

While it is always crucial to get the best persons to work on projects of such magnitude and importance, it would definitely be a shame if Nigerians are not given the opportunity to 'partner' with the Nigerian government in the fulfillment of the re-branding campaign. A simple online search would point any interested officials to the countless sites on which Nigerians have generated numerous constructive ideas on how to effectively transform the way Nigerians and indeed, the world sees Nigeria. In addition to the numerous individuals who have chipped in ideas for free, ideas that should undoubtedly be implemented, there is also the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, which undoubtedly has members with the expertise to assist Akunyili in managing this campaign.

Akunyili introduced the 'Good People, Great Nation' project earlier this year and almost 3 months later, a website is still not available for interested parties to visit and gather more information. This unfortunate reality is despite the fact that Akunyili promised that this project would be transparent, unike the previous 'Heart of Africa' project. Information such as the names of the members of the 22-man re-branding team has been hard to find. However, the individuals on the Rebranding Nigeria Implentation Committee (RNIC) include -
  1. Dora Akunyili
  2. Lolu Akinwumi
  3. Ahmed Gumi
  4. Julia Oku-Jacks
  5. Peter Edochie
  6. Henry Angulu
  7. Gbenga Adefaye
  8. Bashir Borodo
  9. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani
  10. Tonnie Iredia
  11. Isawa Elaigwu
  12. Hilda Dokubo-Mrakpor
  13. Michael Abe
  14. Sam Amadi
  15. Ikechuckwu Nwosu
  16. Garba Kankarofi
  17. David Oyedepo
  18. Jubril Aminu
  19. Idi Farouk
  20. Abike Dabiri-Erewa
  21. Bilikisu Yusuf
  22. Bashir Borodo
It is crucial for not just the names of these individuals to be available to the public, but other details about the progress of the campaign to be accessible. This is particularly the case because much of the reaction to the campaign's announcement was negative not just from Nigerians, but also from the foreign press, which publicly mocked the initiative. In order to quell the concerns of Nigerians that are worried that this is simply an opportunity to line the pockets of a selective few, Akunyili must continue to reach out to the public and update Nigerians on the project. One of the quickest ways to do this is via the creation of an online presence for the campaign. Radio jingles, newspaper advertisements and television spots would also be extremely helpful for reaching those Nigerians within the country who definitely have a right to know what the money allocated for re-branding will mean for them.

There is no question that Nigeria needs to revamp its international image, and there is no question that the Nigerian psyche needs to be jump started. This re-branding campaign continues to present an opportunity to achieve these objectives, but those charged with managing this quest must not lose sight of the significance of this project and the possibilities it presents. Akunyili and those on the RNIC must not forget that the best way to gain the confidence and good will of Nigerians and others is to carry out their job properly, by successfully using Nigerians, in every capacity and context, to rebrand the country. Such success will be crucial. That and concrete evidence of change from the Federal Government on the issues that count will help transform what for now seems like an almost non-existent project, into a breathing campaign that even naysayers will be unable to publicly downplay or dismiss. Nigeria itself must also change for re-branding to work.

CORRECTION: Thanks to Agegelabs for pointing out that the re-branding effort actually does have a website. I obviously could not find it but it is available here. However, I must unfortunately state that the "Contact Us' information is deficient as it only provides the physical location and phone numbers for the Re-branding Nigeria campaign's headquarters. It would definitely be a good idea to allow for a serious debate and/or exchange of ideas.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria's Re-branding Effort
- Using Nigerians to Re-Brand Nigeria
- Re-branding Nigeria: Success is the Key
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Significance of Persistent Psychological Paralysis Read more!

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24 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

plastiQ said...

I'm guessing Akunyili is just a poliical professor. Or maybe a professor that cannot read. The best explanation would be that she does not know how to use a computer nor the internet.

Why do I say this? Even if she is totally ignorant about what branding is, she could easily get a lot of expo online (in easy to access places) like this blog and a whole lot of other Nigerian sites. It's obvious, they are about to line the pockets of the 22 people listed here. I'll call them the 'RE-BRAND 22' from now on.

God help us !

Onyeka said...

Ah, my dear, the fact that you continue to follow this story already makes you a better person than I. It indicates that to some extent, you're actually taking this foolishness seriously.

I stopped doing that the instant I realized that the best these people could do was spam our cellphones with meaningless messages containing only a poorly thought of slogan. I stopped doing this when I found it took me literally DAYS to find a logo. When I saw that weeks after launch, there was no website, no readily accessible information, little to no advertising/publicity, and no interest from anyone.

This rebranding project has been doomed from the start, is an embarrassment, and is a waste of taxpayers' money. So far all I know about this 'rebranding' is that... there's supposed to be rebranding going on. Noone is creating campaigns, noone is spreading the word, noone is being sent to spread the word internationally.

I honestly can't see the effort that's being put into this. It's like all the organizers are doing is occassionally mentioning it to random important people in passing conversation.

Heart of Africa, to me, was a better project. There was a website, there was an admittedly beautifully done advert on international stations. I saw evidence of that. Now, all I see is a bunch of people with no creativity and no idea coming together to make fools of the Nigerian people to outsiders. Again.

Hana Njau-Okolo said...

So this is what I have surmised:

You give someone a contract to tell you that you are not hopeless. It's that same someone who has been calling you hopeless from back in the day. The one who called you hopeless enough times that you believed it, thoroughly.

That someone will now not refuse the pesa mingi [contract] you give them to now convince you that you are now BRAND new; that you are no longer hopeless!


Kenya is in the same boat with her rebranding efforts. Jamani!

RMAjayi said...

The rebranding project website may be found at

LoloBloggs said...

I really don't know what the Nigerian government is eating for lunch. It has delusionary properties I'm sure.

The idea that they would keep this for Nigerians, by Nigerians was laughable. A rebrand is aimed at your customer base or to satisfy your board of directors, ofcourse in both cases, Nigeria only points west.

That website is attrocious, any web designer worth their salt knows about not stretching images, so called articles that download word documents? My friend pls I do not want a virus up in here. It's as good as this rebranding project is, and currently that means a pile of sh*t.


Onyeka said...


LOL. Please don't show people that link again. The site looks like 1)crap 2)a subtle glorification of Akinluyi. There's more info on her than the rebranding.


@ PlastiQ: I have to agree with you that those involved should do a quick online search to get a feel for what those of us online are discussing. I know that the print media is filled with similar discussions, so maybe that is what the re-branding team has been focused on, but they would be doing themselves a disservice to not engage with the voices online.

"re-brand 22" sounds catchy, I might have to use it sometime, if the occasion calls for it, loL! Thanks so much for swinging by my broda, definitely appreciated.

@ Onyeka: "It indicates that to some extent, you're actually taking this foolishness seriously"Ouch! lol! When it comes to Nigeria, I, unfortunately, am a hopeless romantic. Please, forgive me =)

But, I definitely understand what you are saying. The project lacks a 'presence'. When those of us abroad are asking "where? when? what?" - that is one thing. But, when Nigerians in Naija have moved on to not even bother to ask those questions, there is definitely a serious communication problem.

Again, the hopeless Nigeria-romantic in me wants to see progress on all fronts. I am tired of only seeing progress in the private sector or in Lagos/Aba/Abuja. I need to see something positive so I can write about it and help spread it from the federal government. I am holding out hope that Akunyili (who my mother really likes, and thus I am biased towards) will ultimately not let this get out from under her.

Time will tell. Nice to see you around these parts...

@ mama Shujaa: Thank you for picking up on that thread of the post. I will be honest with you and everyone else. I have been doing a lot of research and writing on the concept of re-branding and in that time I learned that the Associated Press is affiliated with Simon Anholt's branding company. Now, I have noticed for a long time that AP stories on Nigeria border on being straight forward insults to the nation and its people. That got my conspiracy-loving mind wondering whether something was afoot - knock them down so hard that they come begging for your help, or knock them down so hard that you use them as an example to get other clients - "you don't want to be like them..." or "had they listened to us, this wouldn't have happened..." That kind of thing.

So when I stumbled upon this 'polite conversation' between Akunyili and Dewar, I had to hold myself from going into conspiracy mode, lol!

But, essentially, I agree with your analysis. That is the way it has been for generations, no? It's a shame so many of us continue to not realize it. Ah, like you say jamani! (BTW, considering how many Tanzanians and kenyans I know, I am shocked at how little Swahili I have picked up over the years).

@ test: thank you for taking the time to inform me of the website. Agegelabs did the same and I have corrected this post to include the new information.

If by any chance you are affiliated with the project, I doubly thank you for taking the time to reach out. If indeed you are related to the project, please let us know when the site will be completed and fully functional. Thank you, once again.

imnakoya said...

I hope you don't go broke over this Nigeria's rebranding exercise. Are you still convinced it's relevant and appropriate given the current state of the nation?

For me, I'm convinced Akunyili is doing this because of the publicity she's getting. Ask people in the right places back home, you would get my point. Dora loves to be in the limelight, she loves the attention, and this was evident while at NAFDAC and continues now that she's a minister, just take a look at the website ... is the rebranding about Dora Akunyili or Nigeria? Now I'm inspired to blog this on Grandiose Parlor.

By the way, the website is a wash!!!


Sugabelly said...

Why does the website hurt my eyes?

*sits down and cries*

Adaeze said...

what I want to say has already been said. I liked the "Heart of Africa" better..

Beauty said...

@ Onyeka: "It indicates that to some extent, you're actually taking this foolishness seriously"Ouch! lol! When it comes to Nigeria, I, unfortunately, am a hopeless romantic. Please, forgive me =) Your passion shows through and all is forgiven. By the way, you were correct that there is no website, that is if your link was designed to brand Dora Akunyili (it is all about her, just like the other so called official FGN websites). was created Tue, Apr 21, 2009 in Funchal, Madeira (an Island near Portugal).

As for Dora´s We count on you to help us in this journey of rebranding Nigeria and we pray that by the grace of God it will succeed. We won´t even go there. xxxx

joicee said...

Here we go again....Are we now running to these british people for help with the rebranding?.(rhetorical ?)

@ Akunyili... as much as I respect this woman, I hope she knows what she is doing and that and her team have it all figurd seriously

Gamgam said...

Nothing or Nobody can call that thing a website

David Oyedepo?

lmao, See expose

These people have lost it


@ lolobloggs: Thanks so much for swinging by! When the campaign was launched, it was heralded as an attempt to not just transform the nation's international image, but also "re-orientate" the Nigerian psyche.

While I personally believe that those are 2 distinct projects that should not be cobbled into the same campaign, what do I know, shebi?

That being said, your point that re-branding focuses on a "western" customer base is one that the organizers should definitely pay attention to.

As for the website, well, I don't think I can even comment as I am struggling to keep my own site current, but nonetheless, that site, if official, definitely needs to meet contemporary standards. Hopefully, it will get there very soon.

@ Onyeka: true. There definitely needs to be much more specific info about the project. It doesn't even have the information that I have about the committee. I am now wondering if it is an official website, particularly as it does not even have the .ng in its address. Oh well...

@ imnakoya: good to see you around these parts.

"Are you still convinced its relevant and appropriate given the current state of the nation?"Haba, Imnakoya, you are going to have to explain where you are going with that point. I have been talking about issues related to Nigeria's image, re-branding and P.R. since this blog started, so it is only natural that I would believe that this specific story (Akunyili and Dewar's comments) would be relevant.

As to what is appropriate, is it not appropriate to touch on the possibility of a contract going to a British firm? Particularly given Nigeria's special relationship with contracts and corruption? I also further developed that issue in response to Mama Shujaa's comment. I would assume that this would be a relevant and appropriate issue.

Nevertheless, as always I appreciate your opinion, which is why I have even reached out to you via email. I did that in an attempt to create a correspondence with you on a matter of issues that I am discuss with others in the political blogging community. That being said, if there is some issue you believe is more "relevant and appropriate" to discuss, please share with us. I think you will be surprised to learn that I am already discussing those issues with readers on Facebook/Twitter and am actively researching and writing on them in order to present them at the blog.

Again, your opinion is always appreciated and your take on Akunyili's need for "publicity" adds a different slant to things. I surmised that she announced the re-branding campaign prematurely because she was embarrassed by the UN info on women's health in Naija, which apparently caused her to be visibly shaken. That took place one week before the campaign was announced. Your slant on this definitely adds to that supposition.

Anyway, this response is super long, so let me stop. I will swing by your side to see what's new. BTW, why have you blocked commenting? One has to "log in" first? No fair...


@ Sugabelly: lol!!!! Please, we can't have you crying, abeg oh!!!!

@ Adaeze: ouch! lol! This seems to be a recurring refrain. I wonder if Akunyili and 'them' or as plastiQ calls them "re-branding 22" are paying attention...

@ Beauty: thanks so much for taking the time to check the ownership/registration history of the site. As I just noted to Lolobloggs, I was beginning to wonder if it is legit. The mystery deepens, right?

And, thank you so much for forgiven me my passion for Nigeria =) When it comes to focusing on Nigerian politics, my heart has been broken many times, lol! Yes, those comments by Akunyili could have just been polite conversation but, like you said, we won't go there.

How are things? Have you updated?

@ joicee: If you were forced to choose what would your answer be to the following question, and you can only answer yes or no - "Do Akunyili and her team have the re-branding project "figured out"?"

Wills wing by your blog to get your answer =)

@ Gamgam: thanks for swinging by...I think I am missing something. "David Oyedepo" - let me make sure I follow...


@ Gamgam: now I see...what do you know about Oyedepo? Care to share? Send me an email at

I am definitely curious...

imnakoya said...

Solo - No wahala at all :) I have given up on this branding exercise; it's beyond redemption as far as am concerned. It's a waste of time and silly to embark on rebranding when there isn't any 'new product to sell'.

Be rest assured, your efforts are appreciated always, and GP is open to comments.

Danny BaGucci said...

Apparently rebranding or not, we need to pull in Western help to get anything done! Mscheew!!!!

BTW - my undergrad cousin designes better websites than that travesty of a website....

Beauty said...

Today "Ringleaders of a human trafficking ring that brought Nigerian women to Spain and forced them into prostitution by threatening them with Voodoo curses were brought before a judge on Saturday" headlined AP and copied in variations worldwide is the brand you don´t pay for but showing the government cared by being in the fore of this trial is a simple way of beginning to turn the tide. ps that was free advice via the web.

io said...

the website be like DORA 2011 campaign website. actually im not disappointed by the website. i totally expected it. most nigerian government websites follow the same pattern i.e. homepage has the governors face staring at u. all his speaches, meaningful or not, all his 'achievements' but if u by chance need the address to one of the government agencies. it is nowhere to be found.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Onyeka said it all.

Me I'm just here to mark register.

If anybody makes the mistake of mentioning re-branding in front of me, I will show him how to 're-brand' a face.

Re-branding my foot.

Next topic please.


Sugabelly said...

So I am waaaay late to this discussion but let me just say that I do not believe in rebranding a nation that is still the same. We have to actually make the changes and then rebrand. What use is there of rebranding when NEPA took the light as I was talking to my aunt last night??

I don't know about you but 'rebranding' right now just seems like another word for 'lying to the world'

Gates said...

The man dies that keeps quiet in the face of tyranny.So we have to keep talking, so no one assumes Nigeria is a ghost country.

Honestly I want someone to tell me what went wrong with Alder's work on the Heart of Africa project. Couldnt we have reworked that project, make corrections, where necessary and moved on? The sad part is that he is not even part of the 22 wise men.

Am really curious about this G22 of ex FRCN/Radio Nigeria/NTA/Nollywood/Ministry of information officials.

I happen to know a bit about brands.I would have thought that the basic steps would include Problem Definition(What identity issues do we want to deal with at this time), The Leadership Position(and evidence of care) relative to the Problem, The promise(i.e what commitments the govt is making at this time, and for which it should be held accountable for); the the BIG idea of the whole project.

Every step of the way should have been discussed in an inclusive manner before we get to a SLOGAN.

I really wish us all the best.


Golf holidays in Spain said...

I'm not sure if that is the final version, but as a graphic designer I don't feel the logo there works. I hope the re-branding is going well, but I don't know how you would re-brand a whole country.

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