Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president-elect, is re-entering the stage again with the premise of a disciplined and corruption-intolerant disposition.
A media analyst says Buhari’s character epitomises a disciplined, incorrigible anti-corruption Czar and it is strongly believed that this will reflect on the national character and subsequently create enhanced national image.
Buhari has unsuccessfully sought for the position three times, but this time his campaign team, made up of some technocrats and communication experts including Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian businessman, former Obama campaign manager David Axelrod and many other Nigerians, anchored the campaign on messages that resonated with Nigerians – discipline, fighting corruption and insurgency. It clicked and he won the presidential election.
If he lives up to the campaign promises like he did in 1984 with the War Against Indiscipline, impacting discipline among Nigerians, this will positively create a reverberating effect on Nigeria brand.
Creating a successful brand Nigeria involves building values, trusting in the values and delivering the experience or the value. Over time, according to experts, Nigerian values have declined, a development that has impacted negatively on the country’s image.
Though Nigeria is not alone in certain social vices such as scam, corruption, crime, insurgency and indiscipline, but commitment of such offences by Nigerians easily receives international attention and quickly rubs off on the nation’s image.
In a recent report, Banwo Adesoun, human resources practitioner, says if corrupt people could behave orderly and “people who aid and support importation of fake products will be patriotic enough to know that their country should not be the dumping ground for substandard goods,” this will go far in promoting Nigeria as a brand.
According to another analyst, when this discipline under Buhari, either by persuasion or moral-suasion is achieved, Nigeria will likely be on the trajectory of attaining some height in brand image.
Experts have in the past said that any effort to tweak the nation’s brand may not achieve the expected result unless the country re-awakens its values, which made the endowed country a bride among the international community.
At a lecture last year, Kayode Fayemi, the former governor of Ekiti State, put it unswervingly when he attributed the failures of the previous nation’s branding efforts to “value deficit.”
A national brand identity consists of two primary elements, he said. Firstly, there must be a set of core values and ideals that undergird the nation’s entire socio-political and economic life. The second element involves how these values are projected to the world through national institutions, systems and structures.
“Our nation branding failures can be summed up as a values deficit. It is the failure of successive administrations to articulate a strategic national vision and calibrate institutional realities to match this vision. In broader terms, this represents not just the failure of particular administrations but also our failure as elites to generate a consensus about what sort of place we want our country to be,” he said.
Fayemi, who regretted that Nigerians had not adequately and firmly framed the values that they want to drive their institutions, asserted that the institutional transformation that the country needed to restore values to the front burner include leadership by example.
Speaking in the same manner at the lecture, Udeme Ufot, the CEO of SO and U, an advertising firm, canvassed for extension of punishment of culprits to their families as a way of restoring values to the system.
In his contribution, Femi Falana, a lawyer and activist, bemoaned disrespect for the rule of law in Nigeria, saying unless people obey the laws of the land, every effort at rebranding the country will end in vanity. If Nigeria must change, Nigerians regardless of status, must respect the law.