BY AFOLABI AKINOLA
Nigeria is referred to as “Giant of Africa”. In size and in potential, she can justifiably lay claim to that title. The country is a land full of promise and immense prospects. Abundant in land and mineral resources, and not in any way deficient in quality human resources, Nigeria is indeed a compelling subject.
However, the immense promises and prospects that she parades have not be harnessed to power the wheels of its socio-economic and technological advancement. In the same vein, her best brains continue to leave in droves for climes that are more accommodating of their distinction
The brand position of Nigeria the “Giant of Africa” is passing through fierce test of brand integrity - in terms of security, good governance, health care facilities, constancy of power supply and infrastructural development. It is a great challenge of public and international affairs that Brand Nigeria is on trial - and to attempt repairing a faulty electric generator by merely re-painting its exterior is the height of self deceit. The acceptability of Brand Nigeria for marketing in the international community for the attraction of foreign investment is fast becoming a mirage
One of the indices considered for the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) to any economy is the guarantee of security of life and properties. A farmer does not only want to be sure of the viability of the soil in which he is sowing, he wants to be treble sure of the safety of his seed, his farm and of himself
The world is now a global village and Nigeria exist..s in a comity of nations. She is a member of several international bodies, but the negative publicity that she justifiably gets in the international media on account of developments in the country has not deodorized the Brand Nigeria. Kidnappings, banditry, and destruction of lives and properties are a big minus from efforts at building a positive and endearing image for Nigeria. People can no longer travel interstate at will without the fear of being kidnapped. Some days ago, a king in Ekiti State, Oba David Oyewunmi, was kidnapped in his palace. If a king could be kidnapped in his palace with a ransom placed on his head, what further evidence of systemic collapse could one ask for? The definition of the average Nigerian as an endangered specie at the mercy of carnivorous animals in human skin is illustrative of the daily assaults to civility which buffet nation-building efforts in Nigeria.
The “Giant of Africa”, in spite, of her endowment in human and material resources, is suffering from the ailments of good governance. The pilot of the country’s affairs has not been faithful to the wordings of the National Anthem considering the strength of ideas in human and material resources is suffering from the ailments of good governance. The pilot of Affairs of the great country has not been faithful to the National Anthem and Pledge of Nigerian state. The resources of the great country are not being utilized for the delivery of dividends of democracy, because of systemic defects. Campaign promises are jettisoned once politicians get into power. The local government, which is closest to the people, battling for the recognition of its autonomy - a development that makes it lame-duck in the provision of tangible governance deliverable.
The task of nation-building, for a country navigating the maze of democracy like Nigeria, requires a leadership that sees the beautification of Brand Nigeria beyond rhetoric. Competence in leadership at all levels, personal and institutional integrity, transparency and accountability in the generation and utilisation of revenue, and the creative engagement of human and material resources are elements that must be present for the building of a winning national brand identity.
Citizens must realize they are mirrors of the leaders they vote into power. They must know that all on hands need to be on deck toward the building of a national brand identity, which will gain the respect and admiration of the international community. They must be ready to be a part of an all-of-society approach to tackling the country’s insecurity challenges.
The security architecture of the country needs critical and urgent modernisation. The increasing sophistication of criminality in Nigeria makes this an imperative. Officers of the various armed services must be trained in modern tactics and with modern equipment. Professionalism and loyalty must be rewarded. Capacity for intelligence gathering must be enhanced and there should be a stern discouragement of the commercialization of insecurity.
We can promote Brand Nigeria when the law is strengthened to sanction criminality and enforce penalties with all seriousness. The justice system must be reviewed so that court rulings will send strong signals of society’s unwillingness to tolerate crime of any sort.
In a nutshell, Brand Nigeria, will be strengthened for greatness for generations unborn if corruption is practically killed and buried. It is the carcass upon which the vultures of insecurity, decrepit infrastructure, inter-ethnic animosity, and all other vices that militate against a positive brand identity.
A leadership that is brand-conscious, and is committed to doing the work, is central to the achievement of a winning Brand Nigeria. The time is now - and the delivery of good governance is the way to start.
University of Lagos
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