EVALUATION OF THE REBRANDING NIGERIA PROJECT AMONG INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITIES
After a careful examination of the national image so far among the international community. The researcher observed that Nigeria is being perceived as the most corrupt nation in the world and such its citizens are treated globally with levity. The researcher went down memory lane to trace the history of the nation’s bad image, to bring to the rationale behind its negative perception. The primary of the study was to evaluate the extent of building Nigeria’s image among international communities by Re-branding project. the research method used for the study was the survey’ method. Survey was selected because the cognitive components of human behaviours were involved, and that these were the best study in real life situation as it provides external validity to the result of the study. In conclusion, the result of the study which received empirical evidence demonstrated the extent of building Nigeria’s image among international communities by Rebranding project. The researcher recommends that further study be focused on ‘An effective way to ensure that Nigeria earns a positive image in the international community with its socio-economic relation extended.
Background of the Study
Nigeria is an oil rich African country which estimates has a population of more then 150 million people; it occupied an envious position to the 6th largest oil producer in the world. Despite these positive attributes, Nigeria population as one of the most corrupt nations in the world coupled with other social political issues have greatly affected its global image and impacted on its attractiveness as a potential investment and tourist destination. According to the 2004 transparency international corruption perception index recorded by ETV channel 50 Enugu Nigeria still ranked as the third most corrupt country in the world . In survey of 146 countries, coming only ahead to Haiti ( the most corrupt country) Nigeria’s current position is only a slight improvement from its previous position as the second most corrupt and the mot corrupt country in the world in 2000 and 2003 respectively.
In the political world, Nigeria became an independent nation in October 1, 1960, but since then her history has been punctuated by military intervention. The first republic lasted for barely six years before it was interrupted by the first military coup. The second republic did not even last as much as the first one. The military struck now and again until coup D’ etat became a common occurrence. The country until now has never had a lasting democracy because of constant military interventions. As a result, Nigeria become apprehensive of the embarrassing situation which was replete with ironies because instead of experiencing better times, the citizens are constantly being subjected to more difficulties. And those who could not cope with the situation crises decided to leave the country to search for greener pastures.
However, the country was either under sanctions or banned from all major world organizations. The United states labeled Nigeria the world’s largest trafficking in heroine and terrorist country. Neither the world Bank nor the international monetary fund (IMF) would deal with Nigeria because of its obnoxious human rights records. Japan imposed trade embargoes and many European countries closed their boarders against Nigeria hence Nigeria’s image incurred more damages Amid world wide condemnation, the Nigeria government organized pro-government rallies and boasted that “no one would dictate to her (vanguard, August 8, 1997.5).
That position earned Nigeria sanctions by the common wealth, the European Union and other relevant bodies across the globe. Between Nigeria and South Africa, there began a strain in relations and in January 1996, Nigeria boycotted the African cup of Nations fiesta that was hosted by South Africa” That decision became the single most destabilizing factor in relations between the two countries” (Vanguard, September 2, 1998:5)
Back at home, some Nigeria citizens including the members of the political class have also not helped matters with their ever increasing corrupt and fraudulent practices. These fraudsters I know locally as “419” people named after the section in Nigeria’s constitution which deals with advance fee fraud. There is also a new ware of scanners comprising young boys and girls (mainly university students) called yahoo boys and girls” who as a result of their penchant of perpetrating the scans using the internet , constantly sent unconsolidated scan-e-mail using yahoo and other free e-mail websites to target people all over the world, promising them scrupulous and indecorous financial deals.
In 2004, then United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), at a pubic forum in Lagos, Nigeria concluded that Nigeria’s poor external image is denying her much needed foreign investment to accelerate her economic growth. According to the 2004 UNITED report, FDI flown to Nigeria was 1.2 billion dollars in 2003 and 1.3 billion in 2002. this is pittance for such a country with huge potentials and prospects. Recent figures from the Nigeria investment promotion commission (NIPIC) indicated that Nigeria attracted a total of $35 billion in foreign Direct investment (FDI) between June and July 2005, an average of about $ 5.8 billion a year. Almost the total UK’s yearly earrings of £4 billion fro foreign students attracted by the UK education brand. According to Mustapha Bello, the Chief executive of the NIPC, the FDI inflows were not only, in the oil and gas sector but also in the telecoms, ICT manufacturing and services sectors”.
Regrettably, long period of military dictatorship saw the country’s national treasuries pillaged, and citizens” right abusing contributing to the negative international image that Nigeria has. However, a civilian democracy is now in place since 1999, which is committed to changing the negative perceptions that the world has about Nigeria, and also gain some respect for Nigeria in the international communities. In 2004 the Olusegun Obasanjo administration launched an image project at that time. It was letter renamed in 2005 by the new Minster of information and National orientation Mr. Frank Nweke (Jnr), to the Heart of African (HOA) project.
Observably, co-ordination became a major challenge facing the HOA project, which was being supervised by the project team comprising official of the Federal Ministry of information and National Orientation Agency, other ministry agencies as well as experts in brand management. It did appear as if the structure was already cumbersome. And that will affect decision making. Surprisingly, Nigeria business and service providers have not been encouraged perceived as anther government white Elephant project conceived as a conduit for siphoning public funds and so has continued to create dissent and cynicism amongst the citizens. Consequent upon this the minister of information and communications headed by Prof. Dora Akunyili, on the 17the of March, 2009 lunched the “Rebranding Nigeria campaign to revamp the national.