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Brand Nigeria

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I believe I am speaking for many Nigerians if I say the country posts more negatives as it turns 58 years old as a nation, on October 1, 2018. As if in preparation for our next independence anniversary, President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May chose this period to profile Nigeria and its leadership. The score-card has drawn the ire of a-many in the name of patriotism. Fair enough, patriotism can drive our emotion, but let me quickly say the emotional consideration is subdued in the ranking of those considerations among comity of nations. No doubt, Nigeria is a very important nation in the world, so the interests of world leaders would swing either way, depending on the place and time of evaluation. Surely, we are looking far beyond the ordinary international relations here; Nigeria is not like just any nation. Her uniqueness traverses political leadership, electoral system, legal system, socio-economic infrastructures, public funds management and administration, etc. It is said that every nation has its unique identity, specially expressed in their history, language, and culture. As we celebrate Nigeria on her independence day, however, we must bear in mind her uniqueness a little beyond the common consideration as above. At age 58, it is expected that some measure of Maturity should be expected in any life cycle, whether business investment, academic system and/or institution, scientific/socioeconomic sphere. But if we keep in focus the need to be careful in assessing Nigeria in the area of progress rating, we must think in that direction with optimal caution.

If you ask me, at this stage of Nigeria’s life, we should keep engaging in identifying patterns and systems preparatory for development. Interestingly, many Nigerians are divided between holding the colonial masters responsible for the state of the nation today and the nation living up to the responsibility for what it is today. That alone, underlines the confusion prevalent. This carries through to the confusion among the ruling class, as they are largely unsure of the responsibilities of leadership. Among the followers, the confusion is even more so; they are not too sure if the leadership owes them any responsibilities or if they are indebted to the political leaders for the opportunity of staying alive. I think this was what The Late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti had in mind when he recorded his song titled in Yoruba “Oro e’be ko sele” (translated in English to mean there is no room for forgiveness). For him, perhaps the perversion was due to ignorance, and that there was a need for some learning, to at least help a new start. Looking back, I think the underlying message of that wonderful piece of art did not register in a good number of his listeners. In that song, Fela laid out the workings and implication of the theory of Social Contract. The summation of that message is that political leadership is responsible for and to the citizens for their collective well-being; failure on the part of
the leadership to meet the responsibility is punishable without excuses. From very far way back into the beginning of time, all and every of the great thinkers/ philosophers, starting from Socrates, to include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and JeanJacques Rousseau…all lined up behind the theory of Social Contract.

This has remained one of the most instrumental and dominant theories even in modern western societies. By its dictates, modern political and social institutions are run; it underlines what we, in the underdeveloped and developing societies, see as the magic behind development. So, whether in considering the wealth of nations, depth of civil liberty and human rights, excellent governance based on the rule of law, or simply appreciating the speed and pattern of technological development and IT, sophistication in transport system and medical science…all of these are fruits of civilization based on the theory of Social Contract. In the responsibility of upholding the dictates of this theory, the populace, on the one hand, agree to commonly invest in establishing a society, collectively and willing sign-off their individual to a common rights to a central authority, for administration. On the other hand, the custodians of this collectively invested rights (and powers) take charge, based on an anticipated understanding that the power the leading group supervises over, is held in trust. As such, in expending this collective resource, there are guidelines. There are several assumptions underlining this duty of all, anchoring on Morality and Justice. In practical terms, state power is handed over to the leadership by free will of the citizens, who believe such powers are held in custody for them, being their investment into the unity and common good of one and all.

This is the fundamental truth in the building of nations. Modern nations are run on these common elements. Even today, many years after Fela’s teaching, we are still in need of a start-point. Our position at MC&A DIGEST is that a nation-state is a Brand. This is true in its entirety, whether as a political entity, a business unit or a member of the global community, a nation-state is one among all others with a distinctively unique personality, defined by her unique physical attributes, character traits, set-objectives, value essence and proposition, own equity, strategic focus and engagement and competitive advantages among competition. All of these properties come together to shape any given nation or country’s being, internal organisation and dealings and international relations at the global level. Let us consider the imperatives for a given nation, say Nigeria, for instance, applying all of those attendant characteristics by which we have classified them as a Brand, using Equity. The equity of any brand is the sum total of its value or part that makes up its whole. That means, a brand is only as good or bad/ successful or otherwise, as the value of its equity. Equity in this case, can be broken down into perception, value offer, value essence, awareness level, strategic engagements such as presence, target consumer engagement, support for competitive advantages, and presence for share-of-mind. On the other hand, Equity in investment terms, will be a clear statement of ownership and ownership participation. This aspect of Equity draws on the investors and their investments; such participatory concerns, and the anticipated return on their Investment (ROI). At the end, every investor has his/her equity of the summation of invested resources, for which equitable returns are expected. In Fela’s “Oro e’be ko sele” (and indeed in line with the theory of Social Contract), Nigeria owes every of her citizens, a return to their collective investment into making her being. The SC theory posits that it is the collective resolve to avoid a state of anarchy
(in the medieval times, as I see it now) that encouraged citizens to give up their rights for a collective administration by an identified leader or set of leaders, for the common safety and protection of all. Peaceful co-existence, therefore, was the anticipated return on their invested assets/resources. The investors made no room for failure of leadership. In one of our articles on political leadership as brand management, we did say political leadership should be seen as a higher level of business management for profitability, and not opportunity for the elected to take rest and take loot. It is only in Africa that the opposite still exists. That is why unprepared and unqualified characters take hold of leadership; they have no idea of the enormity of work political leadership come with. Failing in state leadership is worse than failing in corporate governance; the task of political leadership is way beyond the imagination for corporate leadership



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