Why Nigeria’s Rebranding Projects Failed – Fayemi

March 22, 2013

L-R: Guest Lecturer and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Chairman of the Event, Mr. Bola Akingbade; and Keynote Speaker, Mr. Udeme Ufot, during the Verdant Zeal Lecture Series, tagged “Beyond Branding: Building Lasting Values for Nigeria’s Growth, in Lagos.

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has traced the failure of efforts at rebranding Nigeria to value deficit and the inability of successive administrations to articulate a strategic national vision and calibrate institutional realities to match the  vision.

The Governor stated this  while delivering a lecture titled “Beyond Rebranding: Building Lasting Values for Nigeria’s Growth” at the second Verdant Zeal Innovention lecture series held in Lagos at the weekend.

Dr. Fayemi who stressed that Nigerians have not adequately and firmly framed the values that will  drive our institutions,   asserted that the institutional transformation that the country needs  to restore values to the front burner include  leadership by example.

“In the words of Gandhi, we must become the change we want to see. Transformation cannot be imposed from above. It can only be generated by exemplary leadership which not only elicits emulation but inspires the conviction that the proposed path of change is the right road”, he said.

The Governor who expressed worry at the nation’s celebrities stated that if concerted efforts are not made, the younger generations would be affected and discouraged from treading the path of meritocracy to mediocrity since our heroes say far more about our values and our image than we imagine.

“Our heroes are symbols of the national brand. When we serenade fraudsters, ex-despots, ex-convicts and other assorted persons of dubious reputations with national honours and appointments, we are sending a terribly unedifying message to the world.

“No kind of public relations blitz can undo the damage done to the national image by the sort of people that have become our symbols. We are also sending a dangerous signal to the young about the relationship between competence and honesty on one hand and promotion and recognition on the other”, Fayemi asserted with anxiety.

While comparing the rebranding experience of Nigeria to that of Ekiti State, Dr. Fayemi  explained that the rebranding project in Ekiti would have been ineffective if it was not preceded by, and founded on the 8-point agenda  upon which the changes in the reality of Ekiti State today is predicated.

He said the transformational projects being carried out by his administration, the social security scheme for the elderly, laptop per child initiative in the Education sector and the various infrastructure being put in place in Ekiti State speak volumes of the vision of the State and the direction it is headed.

The Governor added that the project has been successful because the State Government has a real change to project symbolically to her internal and external audiences.

He stressed that the present administration has been able to meet all its obligations and fulfil as many of its promises as it can within two years “because the fundamental motif of governance, one upon which the government and people relate is honour.”

Citing South Africa as an example of a rebranded nation, Fayemi noted that the nation’s profound change involved changes not just in the country’s totems such as its national flag but also a recalibration of South Africa’s institutional settings to more adequately reflect her aspirations as a land of many races, colours and creeds woven together in democratic freedom.

He added that South Africa being the first ever African country to host the FIFA world cup and now Africa’s largest economy is not accidental but a result of its rebranding and vision.

The Governor however expressed optimism that in the next Twenty years,the dominant narrative of Nigeria in the international media will not be about terrorism, corruption or conflict but about a rapidly expanding continental economic power whose strides bear witness to the fact that Africa can produce a progressive world class society.

Meanwhile Lawyer and activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has bemoaned disrespect to the rule of law in Nigeria; saying that unless people obey the laws of the land, every effort at rebranding the country will end in vanity; adding that if Nigeria must change; Nigerians regardless of status must respect the law.

Falana said the success of the Fayemi-led administration’s effort at rebranding Ekiti State and rescuing it from an ignoble path was made possible by the respect for the rule of law which the administration has lived by.

The lawyer recalled that the State was unsafe before the advent of the present administration and the restoration of peace and tranquillity seem its greatest achievement .

Last modified: March 22, 2013

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