Re-branding Nigeria, a charade

I have stayed away from commenting on this charade called Re-Branding Nigeria but now forced to share my candid thoughts as a result of what I just noticed on the web as being the official website of the Re-branding Nigeria campaign. Someone posting under the alias olush0la supposedly in Lagos Nigeria shared the link to the website via Nairaland.

A snapshop of Re-Branding Nigeria website taken on Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 07:05am
A snapshop of Re-Branding Nigeria website taken on Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 07:05am

The supposed official website is at “Supposed” because a friend suggested that the website might be fake after all. He couldn’t come to terms with the point that it could indeed be an official website of the Nigerian government. I wished he was right. With precedents like however, I have no doubt that is official.

Before I descend into why I believe the website is technically a joke, I would state that the whole idea behind re-branding Nigeria is fundamentally flawed. What is there to re-brand anyway?

  • there are incessant power outages across the nation, daily
  • most roads are very bad with gaping holes even on highways
  • most urban areas have dilapidated infrastructure and rural areas are still in the stone age
  • internet access is slow and unreliable for most people
  • security is none-existent: the very unfriendly police are busy extorting money from travellers on the highways while armed-robbers are having a field day; ransom kidnapping is now on the rise across the country
  • a nation blessed with much crude oil imports finished petroleum products because its oil refineries are in comma
  • petrol is in short supply at this time and average people are suffering
  • education gets a low priority from the various tiers of government
  • corruption is entrenched, institutionalized and now a way of life
  • a certain political party parading itself as the biggest political party in Africa is holding Nigerians to ransom with its criminal electoral stunts
  • the Nigerian economy is at the verge of collapse
  • a long list of other pressing problems that this little space would not allow me to list

Despite the numerous pressing problems facing the nation at this time, the federal government still had the courage to unleash the re-branding charade on Nigerians. Is this another excuse to siphon scarce resources? Why doesn’t the government fix the nation instead of this re-branding joke? How does one re-brand mediocrity? Did Nigerians vote President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua into office for the purpose of Re-branding? This is another classic case of misplaced priorities.

According to,

The campaign slogan “Nigeria, Good People, Great Nation” was spearheaded by Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Dora Akunyili. This slogan will replace Nigeria’s last and unsuccessful campaign “Nigeria, Heart of Africa”. The last rebranding campaign cost Nigeria 5.6 million dollars and critics state that little good came of it. The current campaign will have a budget cap of 1 million public funds and the rest will come from the private sector and individual donors. Some proponents of the campaign believe that it will help build support and energy within the Nigerian community to focus on and solve the country’s problems of lack of infrastructure, focused and effective leadership, and free/fair elections. Proponents say that the campaign helps invest pride and a sense of purpose for Nigerians wishing to get their country back on track.

Back to
If I was told that the web designer did that for free, I would clap and praise his/her patriotism but if he/she got paid for this thing, then this is a case of financial loss to the state. I got a hint that the website cost the government N950,000 (about $6,333.33) plus an additional N300,000 (about $2,000) every year. If it was indeed true that the government paid that much for this website, then God help Nigeria. I’d explain:

  1. The website is static and does not include any element of interactivity: No discussion forums, no link with any social networks, no comments section for readers to share their opinion and exchange ideas.
  2. The search feature is for cosmetic purposes only, it doesn’t work.
  3. I expect a website like this to have room for loads of content now and in future and therefore should be database-driven but unfortunately, its pages are good old HTML. It means the webmaster has to code individual pages manually. This causes a lot of maintenance work should the website grow – little wonder the few articles are shared in downloadable Microsoft Word formats.
  4. The webmaster obviously has some skills with setting-up  static webpages but those skills are far from adequate  for a big project like this. There is something called CSS. It makes websites look very appealing, when utilized properly. There is no place for this old-fashioned design in the scheme of things.
  5. The Information Minister’s cropped image is prominently displayed on all pages. Is there a reason why that space cannot be used to feature different breath-taking images of Nigeria and its great people? Okay. The Minister is a Nigerian too but her image on ALL pages is too patronizing. There are millions of exciting photos of Nigeria that could have been used to spice-up the propaganda but none is used.
  6. Multimedia? Zero. There are no video clips, audio clips, photo gallery etc to aid in projecting a positive image of Nigeria. Video could have been used to feature great personalities and average Nigerians swearing their love for the Federal Republic and encouraging others to do same.
  7. One would expect The Re-Branding web page ( to make a case for their activities but unfortunately, the page is empty.
  8. It professes to re-brand Nigeria but does not use a .ng domain name.

What is my idea of a modern & effective website? There are millions of them online today but stands out. It not only contains elements of Web 2.0 but is visually-appealing and works perfectly. Do you think is a far-fetched example? Think again. What other way to get better than comparing yourself with the best of the world?

Are there competent Nigerians who can put together a world-class website? Yes there are! Examples are all over the web. I entreat you Dear reader, to share some of them in your comments.

In summary, this re-branding effort is simply putting the cart before the horse. What the Federal government should get busy doing is fixing the nation. When all is well with Nigeria, the world would know. We would not have to spend hundreds of millions of Naira for the world to see that things have changed for the better. Investors would stream in to set-up business and tourists would come through on their own volition, eager to experience the breath-taking sights and sounds of Nigeria. The world is watching. These are my random thoughts as of now.

What are your thoughts? Share your comments here and now.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. Well spoken.

    By the way, the motto of the Federal Government of Nigeria is: “If you have a problem, don’t solve it; re-brand it”.

    I shake my head in shame. Bunch of jokers in the corridors of power.

  2. It is rather unfortunate that Dora Akunyili failed to decipher what the real intentions of the proponents of this contraption called ‘Re-branding project’ was. Her choice as the ‘megaphone’ to champion this crusade only came as an exploitation of the integrity she had built over time to sell this ‘lame duck’ to Nigerians.

    It still surprises me why she has failed to realise how futile this course would be if the main issues were not addressed. Re-painting a worn-out car, sure, does not improve its performance.

    By the time this smoke screen clears, as it definitely would, history will not be written with her name and dented image omitted.

  3. My one hope about this re-branding is that it’s an honest (if slightly mis-guided mission) campaign to improve average Nigerian lives.

    From a strategic vision standpoint, that should be the end goal of every government and every initiative implemented by the government.

    Unfortunately for the re-branding Nigeria campaign, brand is made up of:
    (1)Brand promise + (2) Brand Experience
    (3) Branding tools come a distant third…

    For both Nigerians and foreigners precious little has been promised, and experiences with “Brand Nigeria” have been even worse.

    This campaign seems to be focused mostly on element #3. Rather than articulating a galvanizing and inspiring promise to which people can aspire and resources can be invested, we have “Nigeria. Good people. Great nation”, which is neither explicitly aspirational, or perceived in the marketplace as true.

    What is the point of differentiation in this “tagline”?
    What makes Nigerians uniquely good, or Nigeria uniquely great?

    And if the campaign is not about identifying a differentiating attribute around which Nigeria can build momentum, what is this campaign actually about?

    These are just some of the difficulties I have with the campaign as currently constituted.

    Gogo Erekosima is a strategic marketing consultant based in the USA, and founder of the Innovate Africa Project Network at

  4. I have no words… I am still trying very hard not to believe that anyone would come up with such a project. Talk about gold plating a clay pot…

    Someone please wake me up.

  5. I found the site last week via a commenter called ‘test’ on Nigerian Curiosity blog. The very fact that there was no launch says a lot, there is clearly no attempt to actually put a face behind the site, other than that of our dear Dora……many things I will say about her, but I shall refrain.

  6. U’re doin a gud job,do keep it up.honestly this rebranding nigeria project i dont think is any thing more than pure wastage of tax payers money.sincerely speaking,lets not xpect anything gud 4rm this govt bcos its mostly made up of over recycled dead woods,political prostitutes nd sycophants.gudday.

  7. We need to take up the rebranding project on an individual level, by doing all tasks both formal and informal, with all seriousness. Individuals in Nigeria should take it as a challenge to the flawed government.

  8. Your brand is all that is required and “What is my idea of a modern & effective website?” is my meaning. A lot of people are looking for answers while it is right here and now. Chat soon on Face.

  9. What Nigeria needs is branding not to talk about re-branding. We have never developed any brand before so what are we re-branding?

  10. Oluwanisola Seun Emmanuel
    July 17th, 2009 at 10:19 am
    By Oluwanisola Seun Emmanuel
    Initiator of Rebranding Nigeria Forum (on Facebook)
    Posted to members, 17/07/09

    A lot of Nigerians are seriously biased about the term ‘rebranding Nigeria’. Let me share an experience with you. I boarded BRT today (17/07/09) and I noted two things:

    First, a woman of age 45 or thereabout boarded the same BRT I boarded. It took the pilot long time to start the bus and get going. The people were aggressive and wanting to get to work early. The man refused to start the boss and all were shouting. This pilot on our way was just delaying with any reason, stopping and stopping. Then the woman, in frustration, said, the people of Nigeria are the major problems of the country and so WHAT ARE WE REBRANDING?

    In the same bus, as a man was about to alight from the bus, another man was coming, rushing from behind, and the man said, ‘whao! You will rush while boarding and rush again while alight! What kind of Nigeria is this and WE ARE TALKING OF REBRANDING!

    Let me correct a notion here about the term REBRANDING NIGERIA. Prof. Dora was the initiator of the concept and people were biased about the concept because they never understood what she was trying to tell us.

    THIS IS DORA CONCEPT: ‘Nigeria is not what we (or they, International Community) thought it is. We are not really bad as they painted us. If we are bad and corrupt, some are more terrible than we do. And here in Nigeria, we have a lot to tell the world, our good side, they never see’. This is simply true. Nigeria is an ENTITY not a being. If Britain is GREAT BRITAIN, the people made it great. If USA is a great nation, the people made it great! Let’s tell the world EXACTLY who we are. No nation without bad side.

    Our mentality must change. We are talking about rebranding Nigeria; we are REFERRING TO THE PEOPLE. Rebrand the people and the nation will be equally rebranded. Who steal our money? THE PEOPLE! Whether the government or not. PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE and PEOPLE STEAL IT and SPEND IT ON PEOPLE!

    I was watching a moving sometime ago on the apartheid in RWANDA and the people were shouting, ‘the radio news started the fight and the reason for the killings’. Then a white man replied, RADIO DON’T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. This is the truth.

    Imagine this: A lady, a colleague of mine at work, told me this: “I saw something today, as a lady boarded a bus, she greeted everybody and she started telling everyone one in the bus about Nigeria, a better place, great country, great people; she gave hope and later led short prayer session for the country and the whole people prayed. Ordinarily, they might have not prayed for the country that day! That’s rebranding Nigeria. It BEGINS with you!

    What do you see? Let the people change! Let’s purpose to help Nigeria change in our little capacity. Confess positively. Don’t only tell people our bad side, tell them too our good side. We are not who they said we are, but who we say we are. The thieves came from among us. We turn them thieves. How?

    When they were nothing, we never see or seem to know them. When they became Governors, Chairmen, Senators, etc, we invited them to parties, launching, churches, mosques, traditional festivals, rolls titles for them, give them honourary degrees at Universities, family too demands, communities give them titles – NOT BECAUSE WE LOVE THEM TO THAT EXTEND BUT BECAUSE WE WANT THEIR MONEY. WE ARE THE ROOT OF THEIR CORRUPTION! If the community sees a LG Chairman, still riding his old car, we CRUCIFY them; tell them that they are fool. We tell them to steal THE GOVERNMENT MONEY!

    FASOLA, the governor of LAGOS, didn’t say we should pack ourselves in BRT as fishes in cartons but specify number of seated passengers and standees. BUT WHO ARE THOSE PUNISHING THE PEOPLE? YES, THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES. We are hurting ourselves, punishing ourselves, fooling ourselves, cheating ourselves, denying ourselves, manipulating one another, etc. IT BEGINS WITH US.

    When we stand up to defend the nation, the thieves will have no place> WE MUST LEARN TO MAKE SACRIFICE! Go and watch the movie: THE DANGEROUS TWINS, then you will understand what it takes to rebrand a nation. Let stop hiding at the back of Nigeria is not a good place! NO! The land here is the land in Europe. THE PEOPLE MUST CHANGE! That is all we need. ATTITUDINAL CHANGE! MENTAL REVOLUTION! PERCEPTION CHANGE! THINKING CHANGE! Change is not easy but we must embrace it.

    Stop comparing Nigeria with the developed nation. THEY ARE TERRIBLE THAN THIS OUR PRESENT SITUATION MANY CENTURIES AGO BEFORE THEY BECAME WHAT THEY ARE TODAY. It is in stages. I shall continue later……………. Keep posting. We are moving there!

  11. all the critiqs should leave Prof. Dora alone, She’s doing what she ought to do. we nigerians are good at criticising than supporting. give people with good ideas a chance.

    • Please Dora, Restart your rebranding with the top. Why bodering nigerians who learn from the masters? I know if the leaders have a change attitude, lifestyle, and the way the country is governed, things will begin to take shape in this great nation as those in the botom will emulate the leaders. Please Dora tell those on top to creat Job opportunities, stop misusing funds that should be used for development, stop the ritual killings and live by the virtue of their calling, I know there will be a definite Change. And you will find anwers to the questions you are battling with.

    • But what result is there since the campain started? We can only advise her since she is closer to the top and since she has the desire to see a change in this great nation.

  12. it’s a step foward,but of what importance would it be to tell the world that nigeria(ians) is good and great when the majority of the nigerians aren’t actually feeling that way.
    let the prof find a way of persuading her coleagues in the gov’t offices, to doing the right things: give proper attention to the schools, hospitals and other institutions that affect the people directly;and stop hoarding money intheir bank accts indiscriminately and rebranding will come naturally

  13. I honestly think that “Nigeria needs rebranding more than anything else”. if we must change the country, we must first change our mentality and preception towards the country. Nigerians need change, they want it, they long for it but they are not ready for it. The average Nigerian believes that Nigeria is bad beyound repair. The average Nigerian is not patriotic and does not understand it. The average Nigerian would complain about the impingement of his rights yet doesn’t know his/her rights. The average Nigerian would see ways of making the country better but would rather ignore it or do the contrary. The average Niegrian would run at any opportunity he/she gets to leave this country hence developing another mans country at the expense of his. The average Nigerian does not think of the generations unborn, he wants everything to be done now; himslef and family alone… The average Nigerians mentality needs to be changed. That’s what I think the re-branding process should be for. And I believe that’s what the Hon. Minister has in mind to achieve. Even if Nigerians are critisizing the re-branding campaign, which is of cause our profession, it goes to show that we are aware of it. “We (Nigerians) need re-branding more than anything else”. We need to re-brand our mentality. Only then can we effect all the changes that we so desire. Only then can we re-brand the country. Let us show the world that we are aware of our shortcomings, we are not ashamed of it and we are ready to do something about it. Let us not sit and complain about this re-branding process but instead rise to the challenge and be part of the process. Let us do something that our children and the generations unborn would be proud of… Start with yourself. Change your attitude and mentality towards Nigeria. Stop critisizing the efforts to Nigeria better. If you dont like it, fine! do it in your own way. But what ever you do, pls Contribute to the country’s development. The re-branding is for YOU! it is for ME! it is for everyone who believe in a better Nigeria!!!. Support the cause of change. It might be slow but we would sure get there. I believe in tomorrow. I believe in change. I believe in a better Nigeria. “let us show the world that we are proudly Nigerians… good people… a great Nation”

  14. Mr Anderson, we may all agree with your “Let us show the world that we are aware of our shortcomings” since it is the reason for the cynicism. We are not ashamed of our country and are ready to do something about it hence the Critical Thinking. People must not stop criticizing those efforts that are considered road to ruin. The critical analysis must be embraced and used as a road map in order to show measurable results. What is there to re-brand? Love for Nigeria?

  15. When a product is defective, re-branding is not the first item on the agenda. Fixing the defect is.

    We rebranded Nigeria Airways. Where is that institution now?

    We rebranded NEPA. Didn’t make a difference.

    We have rebranded so many smaller institutions without first fixing the problems, and the woeful failures are there to see.

    How can anyone expect that a rebranding project for a nation this large and with serious deep-roote problems will work without first fixing the problems?

    Bunch of comedians advocating for re-branding right now.

    Fix Nigeria first. And please let us stop lying to ourselves, generally speaking Nigerians are as bad as we are painted – from Aso Rock to the streets of Yenagoa.

    Experience shows that there are very few Nigerians who still have their consciences screwed in place. No apologies.

  16. How can anyone say to rebrand nigeria is the best way out.Please let uproot every evill tree that can not bear good fruit and then plant the right tree first and then every other things will follow.

  17. please permit me to paraphrase the information minister on “re-branding Nigeria” ; I think she meant repairing Nigeria. Then if that’s what she meant, I think everyone has a role to play.So even when the potential occupiers of Anambra Govt House are going nut, just as “Nigeria”is still among the very corrupt nations in the world “we’ can only effect a positive change by begining with ourselves.

  18. The re-branding idea is actually in response to the District 9 movie …. right???? I think the the country’s underlying problems should be resolved first, then you can talk about rebranding. Let’s start with power supply. I think a lot of people are TIRED!!!!!!! and FED UP!!!!!! it is so frustrating.

  19. You talk about rebranding Nigeria? It is not a new thing. The solution for Nigeria very close to us. We must change the way we live, conduct ourselves and all our deals. Roman 12:1-2 have the answer to our problems. If we obey, it then Nigeria is rebranded. But as long as we disobey it, there is no any other formuler that can repare Nigeria!

  20. i would’ve thought for once that madam Dora has little to offer now than where she were but, for benefit of doubt i think Re-branding has more to do within than outside. Most Nigerians think we have a structure somewhere to Re-brand and ignore change from within which is paramon. Preach Re-branding but most of all say how involve it is with individualls. Nigeria is a nation because of the people, therefore, the people need the change not the structure. Moreso, please tell ur people in govt that change is visible and has to be seen. stealing can be stoped by a theif when he stops the act, untill then he cant.

  21. I wish our leaders could be sincere and God fearing!I wish they could have pity on the nations’s resources and the people. I wish they could have a sence of belonging in this Nation. Why is it that their Childriend are not schooling in the country? Why is it that they dont treat themselves in the hospitals here in the country? Why always going abroad? Why always going to do things abroad? Cant our country be developed? Have they finally given up on Nigeria? Then when the empty promises during their campains. It is unfortunate that things in this great nation are run as if there are no leaders. Many of our leaders are blindfolded by country’s riches while the poor suffer and die in their poorverty….O Nigerians! My eyes filled with tears, My heart is filled with pain. Please let our leaders start the rebranding, every other thing will change for good. Let them just give it a try. I believe a trial will convince every one.

  22. Hello.
    I am A STUDENT FROM A.B.U. Zaria, Kaduna state. Re-branding Nigeria is what Nigeria has always needed, & I personally think it’s a very important solution for Nigeria’s problem. That’s why I am proposing that this organisation creates a programme in the Universities to enligthen young minds as to mwhat re-branding really is. I hope you consider my proposal and I will personally help you here in A.B.U.. YOU CAN REACH ME ON MY E-MAIL ADDRESS; bigsadio4life [at] … look forward to seeing your message.

  23. it is really saddening that all we seem to be specialist at, is condemning the efforts of noble Nigerians to bring about change. At least the minster is doing something, why not support her effforts and indeed contribute your own quota to bring about chnage? instead you just sit there and critize. I agree that there are alot of wrongs in our nation. but at least be objective in your reporting. there are also rights in our nation! dont always choose to be myopic and onesided. there is crime on a daily basis in the U.S but people are still scrambling in their millions to travel there. its because of the good self image they portray.Nigerians, let learn to hold dear what we have and most importantly be an agent of change wherever you find yourself, we have no other country to call our own. true change starts from the mindset. the truth is unless we as Nigerians start seeing ourselves as people who deserve respect and dignity, the international community will never take us seriously! there is afterall no crime-free nation in the world.

  24. again, i think that we are hammering so much on the word “re-branding” instead of on what the intentions of the propagator is. someone is talking of repainting a spolit car! for Gods sake! the indepth meaning of rebranding is not to patch up what is already spoilt. its to bring about true change and to start seeing ourselves as a good people and a good nation. even from the biblical perspective, you speak health before you see the physicaal manifestation. lets speak good of Nigeria, and soon we will start seeing good in Nigeria. I am a firm believer of the Nigerian dream. are you?

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