Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rebranding Nigeria

"OL BOY, why do you have so many face-caps and tee-shirts with you? Are you into buying and selling now"?

"At all. They were given to us at the Federal Executive Council meeting last week. All the ministers were wearing these tee-shirts as well as the face caps".

"Interesting. What is this in honour of"?

"My brother, you ask too many questions. Nigeria is being re-branded and they are to kick-start the re-branding process".

"Re-branding? What are you talking about? Is Nigeria a commodity"?

"Apparently, you're the only one unaware of what is going on. There is a new project - Operation re-brand Nigeria, good people, great nation. The re-branding project is aimed at showing the world that Nigeria is a great nation, corruption is a thing of the past and the entire institutional framework works".

"What a huge joke! I love this country walahi. We are never short of theatrics. Are the leaders also involved in this re-branding campaign"?

"Sometimes you ask questions like someone who didn't go to school. Didn't you hear what I said earlier? I said the Federal Executive Council members gave out these tee-shirts and face caps at their last Wednesday meeting. The programme is the brain child of Aunty Dora, the current Minister of Information. The tee-shirts and face caps will be given out at most meetings and forms part of their meeting agenda. What other leaders are you talking about"?

"I'm asking if the leaders are also going to be re-branded or the re-branding is just for the masses".

"As with most Nigerian laws, my dear brother in Christ, the leaders are always exempt from the laws. Wetin concern big man with re-branding"?

"I repeat emphatically, that what the country needs urgently is re-branded leaders with a sense of vision and purpose. There are too many inept leaders in our country".

"Na you get your mouth. Use it as you like. Just be careful, because part of the re-branding campaign is to lock up people like you who spend all day lamenting and whining about the state of affairs of this great nation, good people".

"That means they will lock up so many of us. This re-branding campaign, are the people of Koma hills aware of it"?

"Koma hills? Why Koma hills? What has that got to do with anything? The last time I heard about those people must have been well over 10 years when Newsline carried a documentary on them. I'm sure even aunty Dora does not know anything about them".

"But the entire country is supposed to be aware...

"How would re-branding affect the poor woman in the village struggling to send her kids to schools that have no roofs? How would a young boy who has to wake up as early as 3 a.m to fend for his entire family, understand the concept of re-branding? What is the added value of re-branding to people who do not have light or are not even beneficiaries of the rural electrification project"?

"Speaking of rural electrification project, I understand that the gentleman, who was championing the power sector probe, is himself the subject of an on-going EFCC probe".

My dear, that is the beauty of re-branding. Both the prober and the probee are carefully watched and scrutinised. Then the prober is subsequently re-branded in order to be re-integrated into the dynamics of society".

"You are confusing me with all this wishy-washy grammar".

"That again, young man is another aesthetic value of re-branding. The more you look in re-branding, the more you realise that you're not seeing anything. The proponents of re-branding who claim to see the virtues inherent in re-branding a non-existent product are those who are gaining from the campaign in one way or another".

"These are interesting times indeed. America under Obama does not need to re-brand. He came in with a vision, a sense of mission and an overriding desire to actually change the system. And people all over the world can identify with him. You don't need to see a re-branding campaign to understand that the American structure is going through changes. He is proactively confronting the issues that have bedeviled the country for quite some time".

"Don't confuse moi-moi with burger. Protagonists of re-branding say that we need to pay attention to our image as a nation, re-brand it first and then confront all the developmental issues facing us".

"What a hare-brained approach. How do you extricate the image of Nigeria as a corrupt nation with corrupt leaders from the systemic underdevelopment that has continued to plague every facet of our lives as a nation"?

"You are the people causing problems for us in this country. You always want to use grammar to confuse otherwise very simple issues. Go to Lagos Business School and be a teacher. They will welcome you with open arms".

"But really, when last did you even hear about the re-branding campaign? I don't hear much about it these days".

"You're either not listening to the news, buying newspapers, or watching T.V. Re-branding is going on in different ways; the campaign is vibrant and we are of course on the right path to ensure this country is re-branded appropriately in every sphere of our national existence. Good people, great nation".

"So what is the latest, since the non-actualisation of the six thousand additional megawatts promised by the government has affected my ability to watch T.V"?

"Look at Ekiti elections. Did you hear about the Halliburton scandal? They traced $150 million to one man's account; the man says he doesn't know how it got there. Look at the fuel tap-dance. See the state of our hospitals. What about the landslide (let's not forget the moon and the stars) victory of the dollar over the Naira. Only a great nation, with good people can achieve these things I tell you".

"Don't make me laugh. Is this what you mean? By the way, what is Soludo's take on this falling Naira? It is really terrible. I don't hear anything from him these days".

"Ah, the guy has learnt his lesson. Once bitten, forever shy. But anyway, he is working out his own re-branding script for the Naira and a white paper will soon be issued".

"My dear, what other evidence of re-branding do you want to see? The drama in Ekiti re-elections, can win enough Oscars to make "slum-dog millionaire" look like Dora the explorer or some other kiddy TV show". How can one man have $150million in his account and not understand or know how it got there? Walahi, even spirits are involved in this re-branding campaign. Sege 9ja!"

"Have they released the names of the people involved in the Halliburton scandal? I heard the Minister of Information sometime ago, promising to release the names with no sacred cows, while Aondoakaa said they didn't have enough evidence yet to release the names. Conflicting signals in the whole drama".

"My dear, re-branding has many facets. This is another exciting dimension of the campaign. The image-makers are different from the actual dancers and masquerades. And you know that you do not normally see a masquerade in the day time for nothing. Night nko? Completely impossible. So just leave Halliburton where it is, if you know what is good for you and those tee-shirts and face caps you're carrying in your hands. If not, by the time they finish with you, your mother will be happy she gave birth to you, while your dog would wonder if you're still its owner".

"I even heard that the slogan was taken from some American institution and then modified to suit our own circumstances. So even the whole re-branding is standing on a false premise".

"Congratulations on your discovery. What is important is that we're a great nation with good people. That it was coined from something already in existence is immaterial and of no consequence".