Weak institutions… major cause of Nigeria’s poor image

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In spite of impressive and striking landmark achievements by Nigerians locally and internationally, Nigeria as a nation where these achievers come from does not enjoy good reputation within and outside. What could therefore be the disconnecting factor why these individuals’ character has not affected the national character?

Nigerians, who are also recognised internationally as hardworking and resilient people, have attained greater heights in sports, business, entertainment, diplomacy, honesty and winning international awards such as Nobel Laureate, still these accomplishments have not impacted positively on the nation that also houses best brands.

Ordinarily, according to analysts, Nigerians intrinsically love their country but lack the platforms to express the love. “Whenever any of such platforms arise either in sports or international diplomacy, Nigerians quickly rise to the occasion of being proud of Nigeria.”

Assessing the disconnection between the Nigerians’ achievement and lack of its impact on the nation, the marketing director of Coca Cola Nigeria, Austin Ufomba links it to weak institutions that have consistently allowed negative values to thrive and out-shine good values. Again, with the weak institutions, at both public and private sectors, it is difficult to harmonise the local individual achievements to affect national character.

It is Ufomba’s belief, when he spoke at a lecture on Nigeria’s image, organised by Verdant Zeal, an integrated marketing communication firm in Lagos last week, that Nigeria’s institutions such as the police empowered to ensure orderliness should be re-assessed to ensure they lived up to their responsibilities.

In addition to weak institutions, he identifies poor leadership training as another factor that has impacted negatively on Nigeria’s brand. “Where are our leaders trained and how,” he asks, explaining that if our leaders are trained from the failed education system, then “we get what we train.”

Similar to leadership training is the utilisation of nation’s resources. Believing that Nigeria is a brand waiting to evolve, Ufomba says “if we utilise our resources well, it will affect the intangible assets such as morals and behaviour which will influence the tangible asset.”

At the lecture attended by stakeholders in the industry, the CEO of Purples Consult, Sola Salako, blames government for not deploying adequate communication to reach the people on values, saying government and security officials must show examples on values and when government therefore communicates values, the citizens will listen.

According to her, there is also the need for successive government to continue with certain policies of past administration, as policy continuity irrespective of party will take Nigeria far.

Believing that there are potential that exist in various states, Bellow Kankaroffi of APCON challenges every state in Nigeria to develop their individual potential through marketing agents, saying that accountability of the government will also be another channel of branding.

Governor of Rivers State Chibuike Amaechi expressing dissatisfaction with the present brand state of Nigeria states that nation branding is a deliberate act, and “it is not happenstance and it is not ad hoc,” saying, “whereas events or conditions may act as catalysts in the process, nation branding is pragmatic, deliberate and beyond cosmetic.”

Citing other countries that have positively branded themselves in the international circles, Amaechi believes that a nation that is conscious of branding itself must sell something, believing also that Nigeria can sell its value of hospitality, strength, good weather and natural resources.

He says further that nation branding is not a flippant act to be heralded by fits and starts of pay-off lines or tag lines. According to him, nation branding is a combination of economy, military, politics and aculturalisation, and of deliberate socialisation to drive change. Inherent in nation’s branding is competitiveness and the desire to out-do the next nation and take the shine.

To him, there is no doubt that Nigeria has much it can sell and should sell, but examples of other nations branding begin with a productive economy and infrastructure development. Without economic based branding, the nation will produce hungry people and this will lead to insecurity and disaffection about the country.

The governor says the need to attract tourism, factories, companies and talented people and find markets for exports, provide reasons for nation branding.

In : Business