REBRANDING NIGERIA: WHY DORA 'ABSCONDED'!
'HURRAY' is always what it is when leadership offers example. And Dora Akinyuli need not be told that the story of NAFDAC under her was the story of hurray; it was visionary and exemplary leadership. She was the face of NAFDAC. And almost all the staff there identified with that face. The result was success.
Having laid down a wonderful foundation and built great structures it would be almost impossible for those coming after her to fail, and which hugely explains the good efforts of Paul Orhiri, her successor, at NAFDAC.
But in her next national duty, especially the national re-branding aspect of it, which is not altogether too airy-fairy, it became something else.
For Dora to have succeeded as the 'master re-brander', who more than anybody and anything else had her helmsmen and other national leaders to re-brand, she would have faced up to rebranding leadership and almost leadership alone.
Before getting started she would have gotten an undertaking from them to expressly let her put all her eggs only in this basket of putting the searchlight over her leaders, National Assembly, her cabinet colleagues, PDP Board of Trustees and NEC and also the 36 states houses of assembly to look away from the rest of us, for in due course we would be like our leaders. That didn't take place. And so, they fenced her off.
And it was apparent she got frustrated. But we thought madam knew better than that. What is worth doing is worth doing well: rightly, honestly, uncompromisingly, and fruitfully.
Lesson from Ghana: Good Leadership
The Ghana example of rebranding may be raw but very rewarding. We still remember with chilling morbidity the sad days of Ghana and how things spiraled out of control. Ghana was absurdity climaxed until Rawlings pulled it from the precipice of total collapse. Now, the CNN could paraphrase Jesse Jackson this way. 'You know what; Ghana is not a perfect economy or democracy but show me one around the world', meaning Ghana compares favourably with world leaders in these areas. John Kufuor and now John Atta Mills have no option but to build on a good foundation.
Today, Nigeria, rated by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development as having some of the worst social indicators in the world, is distantly behind Ghana in ALL INDICES of development. Yet Ghana had no oil hitherto!
The latest score is that Ghana has the freest press in Africa. It has been variously canvassed that Nigeria needs a Jerry Rawlings. Those who desire this usually see the lion in Rawlings: Rawlings the no-nonsense military man.
But we also see Rawlings as the huge performer, visionary and exemplary leader. Dora and her two last bosses at Aso Rock are no military personnel like Rawlings when he (Rawlings) set out. So we cannot recommend the initial military action of Rawlings.
We do know, however, that Rawlings showed good and near excellent leadership example; and this became contagious. Today Ghana is 're-branded' as it were. Umaru Yar' Adua ought to have led the course in this national rebranding thing, but he gave it to the Information and National Orientation Ministry.
At NAFDAC she had her team to queue behind her, and it was not long before she commanded obedience in a dangerous sub-sector of the economy. Even though she is today away from that agency, the steam still simmers, at least. But as one to lead the re-branding thing, whether she knew it or not and whether she agreed with it or not, she had leaders as her team to put behind her before reaching the rest of us. As we have noted already, this she didn't do or was not allowed to do.
Dora couldn't attend to the head
Nigeria needs re-branding, no doubt. Indeed it is long overdue. And this was why many of us seemed to have jumped at the choice of Dora and consoled ourselves because of her success at NAFDAC. This was also why it was comforting that Dora was quick on the draw about it.
But her promptness was not well-directed and well-focused, after all. We thought she knew this is a different ball game from NAFDAC. She could have saved much energy and gotten more result. She would have focused on leadership: It was a huge joke to do otherwise. The lick-trenchers who burrowed into our national and states treasuries, and those still doing so today need to be 'rebranded' as a matter of urgency!
Or, maybe we would have told her where to begin to properly get results if we knew she didn't know. We had eight years of oil windfall under Obasanjo and Atiku yet our roads, hospitals, schools, power and water supplies were nothing to write home about. Our monies de kempe in sundry private accounts in sundry places, and yet somebody thought of re-branding you and I. Eh! It is doubtless that corruption has climaxed in Nigeria. The facts on ground have not been well captured; not even by Transparency International.
The whole head was sick before OBJ and Atiku came on board. Under them all of it (the head) almost got rotten. That was the position when OBJ mandated Yar'Adua to govern all of us. OBJ even attempted to wring off the head altogether with a third term agenda that fortunately failed, and Atiku also attempted to do same when he fought OBJ with a personal goal of becoming the principal, which goal also fortunately failed. And so Yar'Adua got OBJ's mandate!
Yar'Adua's regime thought it should do something about the national sickness. It contracted Dora. She left the almost rotten head for the toes and fingers. But except a good surgeon commenced work where it mattered his patient is doomed. Dora may not know that she actually offered to be the surgeon to Nigeria when she sailed out to re-brand Ngeria. That is what the assignment about re-branding Nigeria is. But we are afraid Dora, 'the surgeon', did not concentrate all attention and channel all her resources to attend to the head.
Whereas concentrating on leadership in national re-branding is cheaper, time saving and incomparably fruitful, Dora did not dwell there and, apparently, she became convinced that she would NEVER be allowed to do that. And our dear Madam chickened out. Nay, she thinks she made off. After all, she soothed herself when she said there was a need to join her governor to build her state of Anambra as a senator, and probably (she was silent about this) as one to take over the reins of power from Obi, the banker, when he is done with Anambra State house. We wish her a safe landing!
Mr. EFEROVO IGHO , a commentator on national issues, writes from Warri, Delta State.