Brand Nigeria: Gani Fawehinmi and his shadow, By Prince Charles Dickson
It was sometime on September 5, 2009, and it’s 8 years now, and even last month very little or next to nothing was heard about the man.
While he was being laid to rest, 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 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.
Human rights activist and that is merely stating the obvious.
I am not an expert in doing 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 unable to change much, tells you about the dearth and the long timea 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 Anyaokwus, 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, 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 3000 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