I read "Things Fall Apart" to find my past, but it defined my future. It helped me recognize the beauty of the English language and prepared me for life in a way that no book had ever done before.
Even though our teachers indulged such playfulness when we wrote in German, they were all the more harsh when it came to our English assignments. They knew that we had a hankering for creating long sentences, so they returned them to us covered in red ink markings, indicative of their syntactic fervor. This obsession with short sentences and words took the joy out of writing in English. German was the language of beauty and poetry, whereas English became the language best suited for efficient communication. By the time I reached my teenage years, I began to lose interest in writing anything in English beyond our mandatory school assignments. I still enjoyed reading books in English, such as the books of Enid Blyton, but I could not fathom how a language of simple sentences and simple words could be used to create works of literary beauty. This false notion fell apart when I first read "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe.
Jalees Rehman, M.D. - Scientist and physician
"President Goodluck Jonathan, on a visit to Germany centered on strengthening economic ties, conceded Thursday that investors ask about the country's "security challenges." But he offered assurances that his government "is working very hard and that we'll bring this under control." Jonathan said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Nigeria could envision foreign help with "training our manpower" and providing technology to monitor terrorists. Nigeria's president is vowing that his government will rein in the threat from a radical Islamic sect that has waged an increasingly bloody sectarian fight in the country. Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," is blamed for killing more than 430 people this year alone in Nigeria." - AP
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel met the president of oil-and-gas rich Nigeria on Thursday after her trip to Angola the previous day sparked controversy over an offer to sell patrol boats. Merkel was expected to discuss energy and African security matters with President Goodluck Jonathan, who won April elections viewed as the fairest since the continent's largest oil producer returned to civilian rule in 1999.The German chancellor was welcomed by a military guard at the presidential palace in Abuja on Thursday morning following her arrival in Africa's most populous nation the previous night." -AFP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Nigeria accompanied by Minister of State, Foreign Affairs Viola Onwuliri at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja..
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, centre, inspects a guard of honor, during her visit to the state house, in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, July 14, 2011. German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses with representatives of religious communities (L-R) emir of Wase, Muhammadu Sambo Haruna, catholic archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Sa'adu Abubakar, rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah and imam of the National mosque Sheikh Musa Muhammad on July 14, 2011 in Abuja, Nigeria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reviews the honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the State House in Nairobi, on July 12, 2011 before meeting with Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki. Merkel is on official visit to Kenya to discuss economic cooperation, specifically in the energy sector.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) shakes hands with Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki at the State House in Nairobi, on July 12, 2011. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech on July 12, 2011 at the University of Nairobi during the second day of her state visit to the East African nation. Merkel on Tuesday urged Kenya to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in the trial of six top suspects in the country's 2007-2008 post-election unrest.'I talked with the prime minister and the president about the fact that it is right to cooperate with the ICC,' Merkel said. Nairobi has challenged the ICC's jurisdiction to investigate six senior allies of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and previously sought a delay of the trial. credits: AP, AFP
credits: AP, AFP
Image of a nation might as well be the destiny of a nation. Nigeria's disfigured image in the global village has become an insignia of dishonest, dishonor and disrespect; this is outright humiliation of a nation of almost 150 million people. Majority of Nigerians are industrious, God-fearing and law abiding people. But a tiny minority is destroying the image of the country and the governance ineptitude is adding salt to the injury.
Consequentially, Nigeria is in self-doubt, bedeviled with nihilism, lethargy and encompassing corruption. Now comes the climax, a Nigerian was associated with terrorism and finally the image of the country is demolished. What Nigeria needs is genuine re-branding and re-alignment that is not cosmetics but rooted in truth, pragmatism and an affirmative change.
"There's no arguing that the image we have of another country says a lot about how we view it as a tourist destination, a place to invest or a source of consumer goods." And the rest of world's perception about Nigeria will affect her pocket and economy because less people will be incline to invest and travel to the country. A nation re-branding is not peculiar to Nigeria; many countries including Germany and Japan were re-branded at the end of Second War World: Now Germany and Japan are known as liberal democracies with peaceful and progressive policies. South Africa was re-branded with an image of gentle and cheerful multicultural country at the end of Apartheid.
The litany of Nigerian sins and misbehaviors are no longer a news to the entire world, as the world have come to see the intractable problems of Nigeria as threat to global financial and economic stability. Nigeria is known for e-mail fraud, manipulation of established standard operations and now for terrorism. The peril of this dented image is taking its toil on the average citizen of Nigeria who cannot freely travel nor conduct international business. Nigeria with all the wealth she generated from oil and local revenues cannot provide the basic necessities of life to her populace.
Many Nigerians are quick to point accusing fingers to the country's leadership but fail to see themselves as part and parcel of the unworkable Nigeria. By no means, nobody is excluding the elite and ruling class from the generated mess but the masses cannot fold their hands and anticipate a change to initiate itself. The average Nigerians must also shoulder some responsibilities by shunning corruption including coming to work on time and rejecting short /dubious path to wealth accumulation.
There are enduring and lingering ramifications that are associated with poor and disastrous image of a nation. The financial and economic impact is overwhelming especially on the wealth of nation, wealth creation and GDP. The wealth of nation and its creation must involve the attraction of foreign capitals and manpower. No serious capitalist desire to invest his wealth in a nation of untrustworthy people. Subsequently, economic downturn does give rise to mammoth unemployment; that can trigger instability and inability for government to protect lives and properties.
In 21st century of inter connecting world, an image can help to lift up a nation and this is exactly why many nations are very protective of their images. Once an image of a nation is tarnished it becomes an arduous if not an impossible task to reverse the trend. The only hope for Nigeria is that an image of a nation is neither indelible nor etched in stone. For Nigeria it is never too late to commence to make the affirmative moves in the comprehensive transformation of the country's image.
The total transformation of Nigeria's image must be deliberate, coherent and self-evident. This is not going to be superficial, a tinkering at the peripheral with piecemeal characteristics similar to toddler step taken by respectful Dora Akunyili, Nigerian Minister of Information, as she tries to re-brand her country. With all due respect, her tactics of blaming game is self-defeating, incoherent and contradicts her objective. Re-branding and image making of a nation is not a singular act but a collective effort of patriots including men and women of goodwill.
In paper presentation on Vision 2020 Nigerian project, I reiterated the importance of Nigeria's Image Management: "Nigerian policy and decision makers have not certainly explored the power of image making. The image of a nation both abstract and aesthetic speaks a volume of the nation. Nigeria must be able to tell the world that she is ripe for investment and tourism without obstruction. No foreign institutions or countries can tell the world about Nigeria more than Nigerians could do. Nigeria cannot afford to be NAIVE and NONCHALANT."Nigeria must undergo fundamental paradigm change and must be focused on a path of transformation and progress. It is not going to be a picnic nor an ego trip but a deliberate act with superior intellectual power to give birth to a new Nigeria. This is not about hiring international image consultants that will cost millions of dollars.
It is about Nigeria and Nigerians undergoing a candid self examination and making decision to do the right thing for the interest of her citizens, our children and posterity. When the fundamental changes are made, then Nigeria may hire media specialist and spokesperson to tell the story of the new Nigeria to the world. Many well known people of Nigerian heritage including musical superstars Sade, Seal, Slash of Guns and Roses; media star Adaora Udoji and sport stars Christian Okoye, Nnamdi Asomugha, and many others can be employed to be the spokespersons for the country.
Nigeria at this point in time is left with one alternative which is to rebuild her image if she desires to be relevant in geo-political and economic affairs of our shrinking global village. If Nigeria fails to travel the pathway of revival, reawakening and rebirth she will end up becoming a sinking ship and diminishing giant of Africa. Nigeria to be respectful and relevant in 21st century she must rise to the challenge of self transformation and revitalization.
Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.