NIGERIA: Good People, Great Nation
For the last few years, there had been a palpable positive movement in Nigeria's image indicators and it was not started by the Nigerian government. In fact the Nigerian government came into it and derailed the efforts with its infamous 'Heart of Africa' shtick.
I really dont know how it started or who started it (though some people credit JJC & the 419 Squad crew) but the 'NAIJA-4-LIFE' slogan was/is still the most successful effort at nation rebirth and national pride.
To me, it was so successful when my cousins who were born in Scotland and had never been to Nigeria before actually started calling themselves '9JA-4-LAIF'. They finally came to Lagos and in spite of all our deprivations, (NEPA, Water, Roads etc) they still enjoyed themselves and would not stop talking about Nigeria.
There were so many variations of the slogan but in all, there was this palpable pride in Nigeria and things Nigerian. Even on Blogville, more and more bloggers identified with Nigeria and were proud to share their stories, even the not-so-palatable ones. Yes, all the problems were still there but we ARE Nigerians and we WILL solve our problems. No be today yansh dey back.
Along the line, the Nigerian government tried to take over the driver's seat of the movement rather than just ride the wave. The result was the disaster called 'Heart of Africa'. I believe that in itself, the 'Heart of Africa' Project was a good idea but the moment it was passed to the clueless bootlickers at the MoI, it was doomed to failure.
Ironically, several African countries have successfully carried out some image laundering in the last few years in efforts that included Nigerians. Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa have ran successful campaigns in the past and it even appears South Africa is on a perpetual campaign but its messages change depending on their challenges. You would probably have seen their 'This is my South Africa, tell me about yours' campaign featuring Yvone Chaka Chaka and others on CNN.
Their efforts are geared towards hosting a successful World Cup come 2010. I doubt if they are thinking of winning the cup. They know they can win in many more ways than on the field. They obviously know how to run a good campaign.
I am not one to predict doom but for this Akuyili's campaign, I am just wondering; how long will one million dollars last?