Brand Nigeria: Gani Fawehinmi and his shadow

October 16, 2017 Africa , Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

AP photo

 

By

Prince Charles Dickson

 

It was sometime in September, precisely September 5th 2009, and it has been 8 years now, even in the last month very little or next to nothing having been heard about the man.

While he was being laid to rest, the Plateau state capital Jos played host to the launch of the rebranding programme at the Zonal level. While that was happening, the entire Ondo state was celebrating Gani Fawehinmi in death; Lagos had honoured the man, and Edo was not left out.

Even foes poured encomium on the man; he was a great man…understatement, a legal luminary…true talk. A human rights activist and that is merely stating the obvious. I am not an expert in making tributes but in one word Gani was simply a brand in a brand-less nation.

In a country with very few role models to look up to for the current generation. To imagine that years after his death we have launched another brand…”Be the change” and yet are unable to change much, tells you about the dearth and the long time disappearance.

 

Gani represents all that we should aspire to as a nation, he had his flaws no doubt but he was a brand. We could argue that he was autocratic, yet he fought for democratic ideals. He was a man you would love to hate.

And truly that is all I would want to say. While we have produced a Gani, there are still the Maitama Sules (He also has left), Soyinkas, Achebes, Emeka Anyaokus, and a few others still alive. The fearful truth is that gradually these brands are slowly going extinct.

We have a brand that is replicate with government stealing…and mediocrity, in Jos, that year it was the usual speeches, the late Dora presented a 9 page, 26 paragraph, 300 lines and an empty color brochure and political jobbers will smile to the bank. The consultants, balloon decorators, government drivers that got their night allowance, road allowance, speeding allowance, and siren allowance.

Today we see Lai Mohammed and his ilk not doing any better.

The replacements are the likes of Ibori, Igbinedion, public officers that forge from birth certificates to the ones that did not attend any school. Bankers that give questionable loans, and business people that refuse to pay it.

 

We as a nation do not possess any brand despite our music, and movie, our politricks and thievery is bent on overshadowing it.

The brand we see everyday is one with a government that is determined to see that its population remains largely uneducated. A brand with a University system that goes on strike like the FIFA World Cup.

A nation that cares less about the kind of primary education that it possess and it is not perturbed about the scary statistics that it churns in unemployment and poverty index.

A brand that has become synonymous with kidnapping, we all saw the Boko Haram brand and we are still being treated to the Nigeria banking brand.

The brand Nigeria is one where millions of Naira is spent on diesel at Aso Rock to power the seat of power because they equally do not have light. A brand where we get an average of 45 minutes of electricity nationwide. And leadership praise itself for a mere sacrilegious 3,000 Mega Watts of electricity.

It is in this brand that after billions in a supposed Presidential clinic eve, the basics are nowhere available.

Even football or soccer as it is called; one of our very few brands is almost lost. Because we just cannot get it right. But for the god of soccer we are on our way to Russia.

 

Our brand is the deportation of Nigerians in Libya and Equatorial Guinea; we are a nation of leaders and equally followers that do not have a conscience.

The likes of Gana should be our brand, our memories and heroes past. But was Gana treated as one, all the imprisonment, incarcerations, and we are not even singing his praises and the least I can say is that we are a brand of hypocrites. The same people praising did not have the ‘balls’ to stand with, stand by nor stand for him.

Strange people, strange nation…what is there to change, which should be added to the branding slogan? We forget very quickly, during the 2003 elections Gani contested for Presidency under the NCP…he pulled barely 3,000 and we were crying…indeed we are a comical people.

Maybe we just preferred Gani the activist but could not stand Gani the leader. What a brand of people.

A comrade raised a point that at least in the last 10 years we have seen professors, or at least doctorate degree holders hold sway in education, doctors in the health sector, yet we still battle the same problems. The current health minister was a comrade but today is simply an anathema to all he stood for.

In the Nigerian brand, a man is elected from Lagos…He represents somewhere in Mushin, and he grew up there and the first thing he does is a ‘familiarity visit.

 

Indeed we are a brand, the National Assembly is there doing nothing apart from enriching themselves, with legislators that are feeding fat on the national struggle and daily perspiration of both working and non-tax paying citizens.

They get hardship allowance, that I have never understood, and then they get money to read their misdeeds in the newspapers. And you expect that those men and women will understand what the problem with Nigeria is?

It is sad that Gani went, but he had gone the way of all mortals, painfully; while we pour the praise let us reflect and ask which way Nigeria.

We have given away Bakassi, our electoral system is rife with inconsistency, the health sector is worse, and education has collapsed. Labour is in painful labour, unable to deliver; everything is in a state of comatose.

We are moving anywhere ‘belle face’. What a brand.

Despite all the rubbish that the Chinese do…they have created their own brand, we bought Chinese satellites, and we are building Chinese railways…many Nigerians have to brush their teeth with Chinese toothbrushes after we eat Chinese meals in the many Chinese restaurants…When will made in ‘Made in Nigeria’ be a good brand—Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

princecharlesdickson

Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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