1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
One of the primary challenges faced by developing countries especially Nigeria stems from the breakdown of bordering between their internal and external aspects. Professionals and scholars have arranged that increasing the actions and statement of Nigerian leaders and citizens simultaneously affect National and International identity and image. This is due to increasing levels of interaction between her citizens, leaders and other external public or societies. An image can be described as the impression, feeling or opinion, which somebody has, about an individual, place or even an organization. In this case the impression or feeling or opinion, which other countries has about Nigeria. Over the years the image of Nigeria grows worst rather than bad. Nigeria has been branded thieves, 419ers and other all sorts. This has incidence a lot of problems on our international relations. Submit a green passport and be subjected to the most stringent and most thorough check at foreign airports, seaports and other international boarders. What a bastardized image.
Nigerians have been denied Visa entry to international engagements. Recently, highly placed Nigerians where denied Visas into France for the Film Festival, to mention but a few. However, the opinion that all Nigerians are thieves, 419ers, Fraudsters, could be proved wrong, by carefully adopting the procedures of rebranding Nigeria through Public relations. At this juncture, the media among others is a focal point for Public relations and branding building, according to Osunbiyi (2001). “The world is in crisis, Political Crisis, economic crisis, identity crisis; the media and Political societies. Nowadays nobody dare to deny the effects of the media in the behaviour of individuals both in developed and developing countries. In our continent, the Media are said to poses power.” One of the most common misconceptions about branding is that it is something one chooses to do as it were a project, one could start and finish. But branding, the process, through which a cohesive enduring, impressive of a business, in this case Nigeria is formed in the minds of our audience (external public). Branding never ends, it is ongoing in every interaction. Hence, the need of this paper presentation is to reveal the powerful role of Public relations in rebranding Nigeria, to rejuvenate Nigeria Bastardized image, among others, encourage investment and partnership that will aggravate developmental growth in both human resource and infrastructure facilities, all to make Nigeria a country to reckon with in the committee of Nations.
The Nigerian government attributes the inability of the country to attract sufficient foreign investments and tourists, in spite of her vast potentials, to the negative image of the country before the international community. The average Nigerian is perceived as a criminal or fraudster anywhere he/she goes around the world while Nigeria and Nigerians are considered unsafe to do business with. In order to correct the negative image of the nation and its debilitating consequences, the federal government has since 2004 embarked on a number of projects aimed at launching the image of the country. The first was the “Nigeria Image Project” launched in July, 2004 by Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu as Minister of Information and National Orientation. In July 2005, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr. had taken over from Chief Chikelu and launced the “Heart of Africa” (HOA) project to replace Chief Chikelu’s pet project. In February 2009, Professor Dora Akunyili the new Minister for Information launched the “Rebranding Nigeria Project” as the new weapon to win the image war. But what is branding? What is Re-branding Nigeria Project all about? What are the conditions for the successful rebranding of Nigeria? This study will attempt to provide systematic and logical answers to these questions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The image of Nigeria as a nation has been negative over the years. In this era of growth in technology and globalization, international relation is a great asset to a nation. When people from a country are being branded thieves, fraudsters and dis-honest, a big barer is created between the country and other parts of the world, and development is reduced (Ogbonnaya, 2009). The rise in internet fraud, corruption, terrorism and tribal killing in Nigeria is alarming. Recently, the country was branded a terrorist nation by the United States (Adams, 2011). All these issues coupled with the in-ability of the mass media to effectively readdress these issues and re-brand the nation are of great concern to patriotic Nigerians who are being affected every day. For so many years, various governments have made attempts at rebranding the bad image of Nigeria. It is not thoughtless to say the role of the media especially the broadcast media in re-branding Nigeria cannot be underestimated considering its wide coverage and its lasting impact on the mind of viewers and listeners compared to other media.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main aim of the study is to critically assess the role of the mass media in rebranding Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are:
1. To find out the image perception of Nigeria by other nations.
2. To identify which area of the Nigeria society needs rebranding
3. To assess the role of the media in rebranding Nigeria
4. To examine the role NTA has played in rebranding Nigeria.
5. To determine the impact of TV programmes aimed at rebranding Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve stated objectives for the study and guide the study accordingly, the following research questions were formulated:
1. How does other nations of the world perceive Nigeria’s image (good or bad)?
2. Which facet of the Nigeria needs rebranding the most?
3. What is the role of the media in rebranding Nigeria?
4. What has being the role of NTA in rebranding Nigeria?
5. What is the impact of TV programmes aimed at rebranding Nigeria?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will enlighten public officials on how the re-branding campaign can be effectively carried out. With the reviving trend of Globalization and the breaking down of international barrier of trade, competition for consumers and inward investment; Countries especially Nigeria need to be repositioned to meet this challenge, and hence encourage internal acceptance for economic trade partnership and investment opportunities. This study will further illustrate how using TV programs that markets the great potentials of Nigeria and her people as part of a marketing mix to create the desired image around the brand (Nigeria) can be implemented and made possible. And how other stakeholders such as her public, International Communities, business partners can partner without a second thought. This will also help other researchers to further investigate on other aspects that this research might not be able to cover. The research will be of benefit to the government to learn from public opinion of the respondents on what is needed to be done and what other plans the government can do to renew the Nigerian image. Academically, the study will form an extension of knowledge to the academic study for future researchers.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will focus on the assessment of the role of the mass media in the re-branding of Nigeria, using NTA, Uyo as a case study. All findings from the study may not reflect the true and bias view of other TV stations and programs in Nigeria as the researcher could not cover a wider area.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
However, there cannot be thorough research without fund. Thus, the lack of funds poses as a limitation to this work; also, time factor is included because the issue of combining lecture with research is not an easy task.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Role: This is the function or responsibilities expected of mass media (Nigeria Television Authority) to play in renewing the Nigerian image.
Mass Media: These are means of communicating to large, scatter and heterogeneous audience used in renewing the Nigerian image.
NTA: Nigeria Television Authority
Image: An image can be described as the impression, feeling or opinion, which somebody has, about an organization.
Rebranding: Rebranding is a strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design, or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, and competitors.
Television program: This refers to a segment of content intended for broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series.
Adams, Nossiter (2011). "Nigerians Vote in Presidential Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2011. ·
Bidemi Osunbiyi, Advertising Principles & Practice, ( Lagos: Sholak rinting Press, 2001) P.47
Ogbonnaya C (2009): The media organization: Enugu: (UNICEF) Public paper.