I remain deeply humbled by the numerous e-mails and phone-calls I received from well meaning Nigerians both within and outside the Country, in respect to the first part of the aforementioned article. I am particularly indebted to all the print media outfits who found the piece worthy of being published. I am GRATEFUL.
It took me about a hundred days to write the sequel to the above mentioned title and my principal reason is to have enough time to monitor and evaluate the growth of the project for a critical and unbiased appraisal of same and thus far in my personal opinion, the biggest challenge facing the “RE-BRANDING NIGERIA project” is the inability of the custodians to emphatically market the idea as well as the ideals of the project to Nigerians successfully and it raises more questions than answers, such as “Is Nigeria a brand? Does Nigeria truly need re-branding? Are we truly interested in re-branding Nigeria? How and who is qualified to re-brand Nigeria? Secondly, in a lay man’s illustration, if Nigeria is a brand then the implication therefore is that Nigeria can be liken to a ‘CONTAINER’ and what will be the purpose of a container without content? So, let us for the conveniences sake say that, should Nigeria be the container, it invariably means that Nigerians’ are the ‘CONTENT’. And if after considering all the variables we still agree with the ‘CONTAINER-CONTENT’ theory, then comes the biggest question: Are we interested in re-branding the CONTAINER or the CONTENT? In answering the latter question with fairness, the initiators should make it clearer to Nigerians in an easy to understand language if their target is to re-brand the CONTAINER to make it deceitfully attractive, especially to the outside world who keep rating us unfairly as a people despite our numerous contributions to the development of their countries by our richly endowed human resources (Nigerians’ in Diaspora) and even our National ‘LOOT’ or come to our senses and look inward with sincerity of heart to overhaul the CONTENT in a process of a true National mental surgery. Do we rather treat our National skin infection with the professionally prescribed drugs, so that it could heal from within or concentrate on scratching the surface to keep applying the wrong medications? A FOOD FOR THOUGHT you may say. I opine that we should design a realistic, practical and workable blueprint for National advancement and declare like Mohandas K. Gandhi did on August 8, 1942: “That voice within me tells me, ‘you have to stand alone. You have to stare in the face the whole world, although the world may look you with bloodshot eyes. Do not fear”. With this conviction we will care less about the international interferences into our unique domestic realities that tend to fashion our thoughts and actions along the path of mental slavery and embark more purposefully in a National mental re-orientation which naturally culminates into a genuine RE-BRANDING of first, SELF then our great country. An action I call, self TRANSFORMATION.
Having noted what I consider the major challenge. I hereby say with unflinching optimism that, I have never been more hopeful and enthusiastic about a National programme than I am now and my reasons cannot be unconnected to the integrity of Prof. Dora Akunyili, the chief midwife of this National re-birth, considering her track record in public service and also the great optimism shown by many Nigerians both within and outside the Country on the subject matter, despite the fact that we had over the years as a Nation wasted huge task-payers money in pursuit of undefined, unfriendly and seemingly unrealistic National integrated programmes such that I could freely describe as ‘white-elephant projects’, without recording any significant success. But by the virtue of time invested by Nigerians to engage in scrutinizing the content and context of this National phenomenon called: “RE-BRANDING NIGERIA” in Homes, Marketplace, Schools, Offices, Planes, Buses, Newspapers, Television and Radio and the Internet, ETC. I am greatly convinced that either consciously or unconsciously, Nigerians have finally realized that we are in dare need of an urgent NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION. And the passion with which the topic is being discussed is a pointer to the fact that, we equally seems ready for the whirl wind of CHANGE that is blowing across our great Nation if only the flag-bearers of these noble campaign will remain focused and selflessly committed to the course.
OTHER ODDS AGAINST RE-BRANDING NIGERIA
Apart from the octopus-shaped demon called: DICOTOMY that I mentioned in the first part of my presentation as one of our biggest National challenges, which drives us along ethno-religious paths, defocuses our vision and narrows our scope of a United Nation. There are other obvious odds which if not properly and timely addressed would bedevil our newly found Re-branding Nigeria and this includes the lack of PATRIOTISM, OPTIMISM and FAITH in God and in SELF to mention a few.
If we are PATRIOTIC; which I defined as an unflinching and unconditional love and loyalty to the Nation, then we would unanimously agree that, the wholesome task of Re-branding Nigeria is a collective responsibility and that we all have a stake at it. If we are patriotic enough, then we should discern that, the moral decadence in our society is as a result of the absence of a National Moral Standard (NMS). We should also be able to see clearly through the eye of history that in our inability to romance what was supposed to be our guiding document: THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION, we have lost a very vital ingredient for NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. If we are patriotic as a Nation we should have long conducted a proper burial rite to personal interests and embrace National interest. Armed with the understanding that no great Nation on the earth is a product of accident, but of a deliberate, constant and consistent pursuit of a common destiny. It is only through the lens of patriotism that we can see and accept each other irrespective of our religious affiliations, ethnic differences, social status and geographical placements as members of one big family. It is only then that we will appreciate that all the ‘so-called’ regions that sums up to make the entity called NIGERIA are mare imaginary lines which expresses the Country’s uniqueness. And these lines were not meant to polarize the Nation, but to harmonize the regions to complement each other and form a sovereign Nation. It is only through the telescope of patriotism that we can see an enlarged picture of a Country where no citizen is more equal than the other. If we love our Country dearly as professed, then we will all agree that should everyone contribute his/her quota towards Nation-building; National greatness becomes a reality. It is only with patriotic hearts that we would approach the management of government offices with the dexterity accorded to the private sector. It is only when we cultivate a heart of patriotism that we will appreciate that violating traffic rules, buying and selling in our ministries, misuse of public utilities, manning of illegal check points, importing and marketing harmful and sub-standard goods, illegal detentions, exams malpractice, election rigging, delayed and denied justice, ghost workers/payrolls, ETC hinders National growth. It is only through the eye of patriotism that we can envision the Nigeria we desperately need from the one we currently have: that desired NIGERIA. It is about time we realized as Nigerians that PATRIOTISM is one of the vital keys if not the main key to National development. It is only by genuine patriotism that we will humbly accept the fact that Nation-building is a challenging process and not a Champaign party and armed with this conviction we can once again align with President OBAMA that, “The road will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America (Nigeria) – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get the
re”. I rest my case for now.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.