One Citizen at a Time

Rosemary Ajayi's Design Agenda for Re-branding the Hearts and Minds of a Nation

I have just read a most inspiring piece that speaks directly to my passion for a New Nigeria! The cover page refers to 419Positive: A Design Agenda for Re-branding the Hearts and Minds of a Nation, as a postgraduate research proposal but I’m sure Rosemary Ajayi (the dynamic lady behind the concept) knows she’s started a revolution. 419Positive© is not just a fancy name, but a celebration of four hundred and nineteen (419) positive attributes of Nigerians and Nigeria — and more.

In the research proposal, she acknowledges the present state of the nation but didn’t stop at the usual analysis paralysis. She brilliantly states the case for internal branding. Hear her on the present situation:

The media and the many negative experiences that have confronted Nigerians at home and abroad have meant that the nature of the relationship between the Nigerian and Nigeria is rapidly changing. The current state of the Nigerian environment has created feelings of insecurity such that Nigerians see the national relationship as ‘short term’. This means that many are unprepared to put in the extra commitment associated with national development.

And on internal branding, she opines that:

This is a favourable period to re-brand the nation as the world’s focus is on Africa but whilst pursuing increased tourism and foreign investment, the primary target must be the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people… If branding is acknowledged to be the core of any organisation or nation, then internal branding lies at the very heart of the Nigerian brand. Why? First, brands are about people. Second, internal branding revolves around a nation’s cultures and values but most significantly how its citizens perceive themselves and their nation… The Nigerian Government is yet to realise that the Nigerian people are the Nigerian brand and that an internal branding strategy will equip Nigerians to sell ‘Brand Nigeria’ more effectively than a paid for international advertising campaign but first, the Nigerian people must be encouraged to buy into the new Nigeria; in other words, Nigerians must ‘live the brand’ in order to sell the brand.

With her approach of hosting 419positive© Perception Workshops, a 419Positive website and producing a television documentary from the first quarter of 2006, Rosemary has joined the horde of Nigerians working consciously towards the emergence of a New Nigeria. For her ongoing compilation of the 419 positive attributes, she has this to say:

You are invited to contribute to this compilation of 419 positive attributes of Nigerians and Nigeria. Your submission will be uploaded on to the 419positive© website, form part of the 419positive© perception workshops taking place in England & Nigeria in September and October 2005 and also feature in a television documentary which will commence production in 2006.

I hope one of the 419 positive attributes will talk about how great Nigerians could be at blogging… as I keep at this enjoyable exercise and read other blogs, I’m more convinced that there’s a place for blogging in the emergence of a New Nigeria — with the phrase, “Blogging for Development” readily coming to mind.

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