Dora, Go Girl, Rebrand!

A rebranded Nigeria is a dream I never imagined I could behold in my lifetime. Now, Dora Akunyili, the witch of Abuja and Minister of Information has breathed life into my withered faith. I can now give out a glad cry and say with proud relish that all things are possible for our vivacious and energetic former drug tsar who wrote NAFDAC’s name among the starry host.

Dora, go girl, rebrand Nigeria. Give your deaf ear to the hard core pessimists who have written off the new rebranding enterprise as another empty goal fit for the dustbin of history. In fact, I am recommending counselling to all empty-headed writers who have delivered cocky denunciations against Dora’s brave move to rebrand Nigeria. These are Martians who inhabit another planet far removed from our real, pulsating universe of Nigeria.

First, Dora’s pedigree is emulative. If she were to be an Aisha, Aminat, Yagudu, Yadudu or Mohammadu, I would have thought differently but because she is Akunyili an Igbo woman with distinct courage, faultless determination and drive to succeed, I throw my hat in her camp. She took on the Igbo fake drug cartel and smashed their serpentine heads, despite murderous plan for her life. Akunyili is the catty lady with nine lives. She is not a fake “Ibo Made” variant but an authentic genuine, passionate workaholic with awesome drive to make her rebranding campaign a success. I salute her courage!

The constant negative trope of opinions regarding the rebranding project is understandable. Many of these opinion moulders are professional peeping Toms. They have peeped into our historical grove to discover the resting place of both Mamser and WAI. Of course there is wisdom to believe that rebranding Nigeria will go the way of these two noble national projects- Mamser and WAI- which were shockingly dead on arrival, so to speak.

However, we should placate the wild hounds sniffing for Dora’s jugular by calibrating the immense possibilities of her new mandate than compared it to the stifling emptiness of WAI and Mamser. The rhetoric of possible success had to be revved up to drown the noisome pestilence of imagined failure before take up.

When the irrepressible Fela Anikulapo-Kuti reinvented marriage and populated his bedrooms with 28 gorgeous babes, hell was raised, but he got away with his matrimonial audacity of shock. Dora, go girl and succeed in this. Why? To shame the thousands of Diaspora Nigerians who are perilously waiting to laugh at your failure. You have to prove to us that Yar’Ardua has not set this up as a trap to smear your managerial credibility. Who will benefit more from this new enterprise of re-description of who we are as people? Who will soon be walking like proud emperors on the cobbled streets of New York, Toronto and London after Nigeria is re-polished, reframed, remodelled, realigned, re-jigged, resurrected and rebranded? The answer is those who live outside Nigeria.

The very same Nigerians who are lobbing intellectually-tipped ballistic missiles from America and Europe stand to benefit vastly from Dora’s Project. As a representative of the Diaspora Nigerian, I have a lot to gain in a rebranded Nigeria. A rebranded Nigeria will topple the stonewalling prejudgement I encounter daily as a Nigerian living abroad. It would erase the natural subconscious fear of telling people the name of my country. A rebranded Nigeria might mean a paradigm shift in the worldwide negative attitude toward anything called Nigeria. A rebranded Nigeria might mean a wider window of opportunity for our businessmen and women who are seen as crooks internationally. A rebranded Nigeria might stop the indignity of looking at the orifice of our women travellers to Europe and America and who are permanently stereotyped as drug mules.

A rebranded Nigeria will make me glossy, genuine, glamorous, attractive, worthy and trustworthy before white bank managers, bosses and associates in the West. A rebranded Nigeria will enable me to break the glass ceiling in my profession without reservation for my Nigerian background. A rebranded Nigeria will generate goodwill, compassion and love for me and thousands of Nigerians abroad. It would end the stereotype my kids face daily as children of Nigerian parentage. Even to the many playboys of the Western world among us, they will be more attractive to women of other countries who are prone to flee at the mention of Nigeria due to suspicion and our reputation for fraud.

Dora, go girl, this is your moment. Just ignore the evil, nattering imbrications of negative commentaries emanating from the suburbia of America and leafy London and concentrate on a project that will make Nigerians come forth like a resurrected Lazarus.

Dora, ignore the vituperative self-flagellation, inflaming write ups and flag-waving crowd of pull her down who are averse to see Nigeria refuelled, regenerated and renewed. There is preparedness to tie intellectual formalism on your delicate neck and drown you and the rebranding project in the Lagos lagoon. Ignore the unworthy sermons coming from caustic keyboards across the Atlantic. Dora, there is no fear. You still have a reservoir of power in your cult status and the knowledgeable majority are wishing you well. Sorry, Dora, that we are dumping the troubles of Nigeria on your shoulder. Our hope is in your determination to proceed even while knowing that you are afraid of failure. Doro, go girl, dare to take one shaky step after another.

Is it not outrageously amusing that we could continue to be a nation without sense and even people without social and political discernment? If only we could be wise, patient and discern what the end would be for Dora? How could we doubt the possibility that one woman, a witch for efficiency, superwoman Dora, could rebrand the destiny of 140 million Nigerians? Why are critics saying that Dora is faking her rebranding orgasm? Would any Igbo woman fake an orgasm?

By the way, who is the driver of the rebranding whammy train? I must confess that Dora’s choice of rebranding tsar has affected Michael Jackson immensely. Only last week, Michael Jackson phoned me. He has been trying to get to Dora but officialdom has been stonewalling his telephony efforts. He wants to rebrand Nigeria, for free! As a matter of fact, he has unmatchable record to prove his perfect suitability for the job.

He was born in 1958 as an African-American Negro but through Darwinian plantation mentality, he metamorphosed into an amorphous, alternate Caucasian apparition we know today. If his present nose-dropping, sun-hating look is not rebranding of the audacious kind, I wonder what it is. Michael Jackson, the bad, grand, brand genius is waiting for Dora’s call of duty to transform Nigeria from its current dark reputation to a paler nation of good people built on great nation.

Dora, in this rebranding project, you have given an old cynic like me an indelible marker to measure your ministerial tenure either as a success or a failure. Dora, I have put my reputation on the line for you. Don’t let me down. Remember that many writers have been grinding out theories and pontificating on your rebranding project as an unworkable delusion.

Many of us in the Diaspora are yet to embrace an intellectual resurgence of hope and optimism that are encircling Nigeria and making her attractive for benign narrative. This intellectual fault line is what Dora, the witch of Abuja, is about to change forever.

Written by
Taju Tijani
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