I have refrained deliberately for a long time to make any comments about our National Rebranding exercise. I hope I will be able to say what boils in my throat and wrists tonight, without making too much reference to it. For all it’s worth though, I think the fundamental error I can see, is that Nigerians have not been made to own it, and hence rather than having people championing it, and helping others buy in, what we have is criticism and condemnation by the same people who would have been it’s champions.
Having said that however, I have a proposition of an exercise that we can own as Nigerians. It’s a simple idea and it came as a fallout of a discussion that ensued in my office yesterday. It’s an answer of what we can do to focus our leaders on the problems that we have as citizens and to assist them in giving it the attention it deserves. We no longer need any assitance from any source to know that our most crucial problem in Nigeria is Leadership! If we are all on the same page in this realization, then our efforts towards a better Nigeria must be channeled to support, focus and direct our leaders.
I remember shortly before the elections last year I wrote an article I titled, “Power is all we need!” I pleaded with our would be leaders not to promise us roads or education, but to promise us just one thing - Power! That if in any leaders 4yrs we can celebrate 1yr of uniterupted power supply, then we should imortalize that president. Haven been to Egypt now to watch tombs, I say we must do the same, but before they die however.
First for the nation, then the states, then our local governments. Once we have a new president for example, we should as a nation analyze our most significant problem that we want solved in his or her tenure. After we have agreed on this problem, we should then go ahead and give that problem the same name with our president. We should substitute the name of our leader with this problem in our conversations, in our articles in newspapers, in our slang’s, in our music and drama. We should do this per state and per local government as well.
Let’s say for example that we have discovered that our biggest problem in Nigeria is Electricity, and for example that our president’s name for the tenure was Yaradua. Then everytime light goes, every time we are in darkeness, everytime we have any issues, our conversations should be like this.
When it is bad as it is - “Chai, Yaradua has gone again”, “Ah, we have not had Yaradua for the last 2 days”, “This Yaradua is so unstable”, “Ah what did we do today oh, we have half Yaradua today”,” What’s wrong with you, you are complaining that you haven’t seen Yaradua for 3 days, what about people that haven’t seen Yaradua for one year! or ever!”, “I wasn’t able to do it overnight, because Yaradua kept fainting”, “We have been using Yaradua as backup to our Generator”, “Iron your shirts, Yaradua may soon go oh”, ”
Can you for your own new ones?
If we keep speaking this way, our leaders will know that we mean business with our desire for solutions. The next president will also know that one critical unsolved problem will bear his name until it’s solved. I recommend, that whichever president fixes electric power be given the opportunity to forever bear the same name with electricity in Nigeria and be forever immortalized in the lips and minds of Nigerians. The same for every future identified problem. A similar approach should be taken to the state levels. Whatever problem we align and identify must be instantly changed to the name of the Governor. If the issue in Lagos for example was Transportation and assuming the Governor was Fashola, then by now, people should be saying “Fashola is getting better in Lagos now”, or ” I entered one wrong fashola and they collected my phone and laptop.” or “Big Fashola (BRT) is actually making life easy for Lagosians”. We can identify the states one by one and identify the problems that need to be solved and replaced with their name.
My people say that whatever hurts one, must be primary in one’s conversation -
“Oun to ba duni lo n po loro eni”
If you use this on your blog, just put a litte comment here saying you are using it so I can follow on to your site and register my solidarity. I think this is something that we the people can own and gradually take things to the way things should be. We deserve more than what we are getting, and UNTIL we the people are clear about what we want and about our commitment to make sure it happen, then nothing happens. Let’s make this happen!
Now I really need to sleep before Yarauda’ goes!