Another state which recently impressed is Kwara state. Kudos to the state governor, Bukola Saraki who has managed to attract sacked Zimbabwean farmers to the state, and have kept faith with them despite the criticisms his government received over the move. Some of the criticisms were rather unfair and seemed ill-informed as the potential economic benefits to the state and her citizens were obviously overlooked by the critics. The Kwara state government recently scored another PR coup which would help project the image of the state further; it successfully exploited the opportunity of the ThisDay music festival and invited the star attraction Jay-Z to Kwara state to commission some government projects. During his visit to the state, Jay-Z was honoured by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari and also had a road named after him –Shawn “Jay – Z” Carter Road.
It is indeed a positive thing for the state to have Jay-Z dressed up in native aso oke attire riding the traditional horse during his turbanning ceremony. Such images beamed across the world are actually priceless and could help to project the Kwara state brand further. However for this PR coup to actually impact on the economy of the state, the Kwara state government must also complement its efforts with good governance.
Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city has also done well in this regard and seems to be enjoying a new lease of life, conscious efforts by the federal capital territory (FCT) minister Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and his team to sanitise the city appears to be paying off, some of these efforts though have come at a heavy price such as homelessness for the residents of the houses demolished during the various rounds of demolition exercises in the city. Residents however appreciate the changing face of Abuja and the various recreation parks now available for their use. The FCT minister has embarked on policies to change the face of the city which sometimes appeared controversial. His ban on Okada (commercial motorcycles), importation of London cabs and vigorous pursuit and implementation of the Abuja master plan has led to the demolition of illegal structures in and around the city, and has in so doing reclaimed back lands which have now been transformed into parks for the enjoyment of city residents and visitors. Nigeria’s capital city has also consolidated efforts at re-branding its image through music, art, tourism and business.
The annual Abuja carnival modelled after the Rio de Janerio carnival, Abuja Rocks @ 30 (an entertainment package to celebrate the city’s 30 years and strengthen the consciousness of unity in Nigeria) and the proposed Abuja tower are some of the efforts aimed at repositioning Abuja as a good destination, such efforts would also help to stretch the Abuja brand further.