By OLAMIDE BABATUNDE
Kunle Yusuf, the Lead Consultant of Above Media, has revisited Nigeria’s image laundering projectwith the release of the book,Appraisal of the Rebranding Campaign of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The book launch holds early next year in Lagos, Nigeria.
The offering examines the image crisis in Nigeria, attempts in laundering the image via rebranding, the reactions that the rebranding elicited and a prognosis on what could be done. This is, however, against the background of the image crisis the country suffered from between 1993 and 1999.
According to Kunle Yusuf, who is presently a PhD student of Public Affairs and Administration, Walden University, the image crisis during that period was largely attributed to Nigeria’s lack of democratic progress.
While arguing that the rebranding campaign seemed to be more of a cosmetic remedy, the author recommends, among others,that, beyond sloganeering, Nigerian government needs address the issues that gave rise to the image crisis in the first instance. This is the only way Nigeria can get out of the image quagmire.
Yusuf posited: a brand must be able to deliver on it promises. Has the country, as a brand, delivered on its promises of being a great nation? The above position and query summarise the skepticism with whichthe rebranding programmes of the past and successive governments anchored on.The rebranding project is important to the extent that a nation’s foreign image is a major index in judging her standing vis-à-vis other nations.
To that extent, therefore, the rebranding project of this administration –“Change Begins with Me”, was not only commendable but worthwhile. But, then, some questions must be posed: How did Nigeria acquire for herself an image crisis? What has been the success of the rebranding project so far?
In the 123-page book, the author traces back the image crisis of the country to after independence. Nigerians had the picture of a positive image for Nigeria in the 1960s. The image was tarnished, in a way, by the country’s civil war. Especially under General Muritala Mohammed regime, the country’s image soared high in the world. Not only was the principle of Africa as centerpiece of Nigeria’s foreign policy eloquently given practical demonstration, Nigeria, indeed, assumed the properrole of an Africa leader. Her views were always sought on African affairs, even by the former colonisers.
According to Yusuf, in 1980s and 1990s, Nigeria’s image deteriorated –what could have brought this about for a nation, which, in the 1970s, was practically the toast of the international community? This book offers explanations for the negative image, which Nigeria projected in the 1990s.
Elucidating, Yusuf, said, to some extent, it could be argued that the negative image of Nigeria was part of the biases of the global system towards the African continent. We need, however, divert attention from the negative activities of a few bad eggs giving Nigeria a bad name and extol our virtues, he concludes.