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Buhari effect on Brand Nigeria, how far can it work?

Buhari effect on Brand Nigeria, how far can it work?

BY Olamide Bakare

The presidential election has come and gone and the winner had since emerged. To some, the concluded election was seen as a contest involving two strong contenders where one of the aspirants had to run on the record of performance and the other hedged his bet on the attribute of integrity and probity.

However, if there is anything that proved to be the magic wand for the opposition party, it is the fact that its candidate rode on the crest of its principled stand which seemed to have warmed him into the heart of many Nigerians.

While it may not be too hasty to say that both the election and the countdown leading to it brought the two contestants on their knees, the accusation and counter accusations exhibited by both parties during the course of electioneering campaign over issues bothering from the critical to the trivial, is one area, which many Nigerians may not forget in a hurry.

From the issue of failing health to non-possession of school certificate leveled against the standard bearer of a rival political party, All Progressives Congress (APC), the list of unnecessary issues raised by the two political camps goes on.

Even though many have accused the political class of failing to outline their programmes during the electioneering process, there are those who are of the opinion that the major issue confronting the nation has nothing to do with the failure to outline programmes, but rather, the political will to implement such programmes.

However, if there is one major issue that seemed to have defined the 2015 electoral process, it is the issue of corruption. Take for instance; many Nigerians believed that the current government’s approach to tackling corruption related cases since it came on board has been less encouraging. To them, the kid gloves treatment given to such sensitive issue that hinders development may continue to constitute grave danger to the country’s existence unless urgent steps are taken to nip it in the bud.

Even though, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by President Goodluck Jonathan insisted that it was making success in the fight against corruption, many Nigerians posited that the failure of the present government to address the issue as expected was one great albatross that contributed to the eventual loss of the presidential election.

With the winner already emerged, the thinking among discerning observers now is whether those qualities which swayed many of the voters to the opposition camp will rub off on Nigeria and the economy.

Group Chairman of Noah Ark Group, Mr. Lanre  Adisa said it is good news that Nigeria was undergoing democratic transition successfully, describing the development as good omen to the country and its image.

“It is a big boost for brand Nigeria especially for the fact that Nigeria is fast maturing democratically. One thing you must commend about this election is the willingness of the loser to respect the outcome of an election without resorting into crisis. It says a lot about any nation particularly with respect to its stability .For me it is a big plus. It is not so much about the particular candidate but maturity that was on display after the results were announced,” Adisa said in a telephone interview.

Principal consultant, Indigo communication, Mr Bolaji Abimbola  described the emergence of Buhari  as a big plus to the nation particularly considering his enviable profile as a man of integrity and probity.

He said, “It is a good and positive development particularly on account of the fact that he is a leader that is known to be incorruptible and disciplined. If you have been following happenings in the last few days, you will realise that the impact is being felt already.

Already, it has taken effect in the appreciation of the naira and the performance of stock in the exchange market. As you are aware, this is a man that a lot of people see as someone that will take the issue of governance seriously by ensuring that it leaves no stone unturned to get the nation back on track.

“I am sure by the time he assumes office, everything will begin to shape up. For me, having Buhari at the helms of affairs is really a good one for the brand Nigeria,” he said.

President of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr Kelechi Nwosu said the emergence of Buhari presents an opportunity for the country to rewrite its history because the message brought by the party was anchored on change.

He noted that it has become necessary for practitioners to step up campaign, which would promote the use of professionals in the management of its communication.

He said, “It is a good opportunity to burnish our brand since a change means that we can rewrite the Nigerian brand story. A lot depends, however, on the vision and strategic activities of the Buhari leadership.

“Besides, professionals in the marketing communications industry need to step up as a group and offer our professional advice to the new team. We must insist also that the right brand and communication experts are deployed to distill and manage brand Nigeria”.

The Chief Executive Officer of Kishi Lagos,  a Public Relations firm based In Lagos stated that the Buhari’s emergence marks a new era in the history of Nigeria as this may likely lead to the development Nigerians have been yearning for.

He said, “The equity in Awolowo brand is like a small god. It is like divinity in the South West. In spite of our ethnic politics, people will always say that Awolowo did well such that Awolowo now became the benchmark for leadership. Ditto Azikiwe. Of course, the issue of corruption has always been around, but the likes of Awolowo smell like roses.

“For the first time, we have someone quite close to these great men. Buhari is like a small god in the north especially among the talakawas. For me, it is about personal brand. I am sure that APC had a lot of eminent people before arriving at that choice.  But at this point in time, they needed a strong brand which Buhari exemplifies. Dont forget that this is a brand that attracted 12 million votes 4 years ago without campaign .This is the first time we would be having someone who wanted to be a president.”

Already, Buhari has been making policy statements that show he is ready to face the tasks that lie ahead.

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