In order to be a strong nation, people have to come together in unity. This can be difficult in countries that are still struggling to develop their own identify. Countries like Nigeria, for instance. Consider that there are in excess of 300 different tribes in Nigeria alone, represented across the state, from Southern Kaduna to Lagos, and consider that Nigeria has only been independent for 57 years, and it quickly becomes apparent why there is still a lot of fragmentation. This is something that Nenadi, a former economic and financial minister from Kaduna, has worked very hard to address during her tenure as Senator Nenadi Esther Usman. She believes that what is needed, is to create an “image” or “brand” that represents Nigeria as a whole.
The Nigerian Brand and Image
According to Esther Nenadi, it is vital that a general perception, or mental image, is created of the country, and that this is a positive one. The image, says Nenadi Esther Usman, has to be one that defines the character of Nigerians. Unfortunately, at present, the global image of Nigerians is one of bad leadership, drug dealers, corruption, and so-called Nigerian uncles, known for their scam emails. And because this is the global image, it has started to affect the way Nigerians have started to see themselves.
As the former finance minister, Nenadi has been at the heart of the government, and she has worked incredibly hard at the rebranding efforts of the country. Esther Usman has worked on identifying why there seems to be a tradition of bad practice in the country, identifying the fact that the older generation behaves in what would now be classed as unacceptable ways, influencing youths to do the same. Hence, Nenadi Esther believes that the focus should be on young people, ensuring they become representative of what Nigeria is truly like.
Esther Nenadi Usman understands that there continues to be a lot of corruption in Nigeria, and she feels that what is needed to combat this, is a change in leadership. When in government herself, she did much to change this and she continues to be involved in the rebranding of government. Meanwhile, she focuses strongly on youth education as well, in an effort to ensure that tomorrow’s leader will be one that understands what the true image and brand of Nigeria is, and is able to convey that to the world.
Nigeria is a country that continues to be in some turmoil, but a lot of progress is being made. The country is committed to be in the top 20 biggest economies in the world by 2020, and they are getting close to reaching that. This, in itself, has been an opportunity for the government to turn its back on corruption and to do things the right way, as they are now under stringent international scrutiny. According to Usman, this is something that should be embraced, as it is an opportunity to turn the Nigerian image or brand into something positive at last.