Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



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Gbenga Olawepo

Former, National Deputy Publicity Secretary, PDP







On May 29th 1999, that epochal monster in Nigeria’s political history – military rule was finally evacuated from the country’s political scene. It however left in its trails the scars of unparalleled brutality, the anguish and pains of the most wasteful of all political enterprise, the most suffocating of official corruption, the misery of excruciating poverty and the trauma of a raped, violated, massively divided and disgruntled citizenry.


It is this tragic political heritage that the new civilian regime was given the mandate to change and move the country forward. That situation is better relieved in statistical terms than in prose.


In social development terms, the indicators where that Nigeria scandalously ranked lower to other less minerally endued African countries like Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. According to the report of a survey conducted by the Federal Office of Statistics and the World Bank: 34% of Nigerians lived below poverty line compared to Ghana’s 32%. Forty-nine percent of Nigerians are also illiterate to Ghana’s forty percent while 60% of Nigerians living in urban areas do not have access to clean water compared to Cote d’voire 17%. Also while average life expectancy was put at 52 in Nigeria, in Cote d’voire it is 56, Ghana 58, and Kenya 59. In the Health Sector tragedy is the word as 191 infants out of every 1000 born were dieing in Nigeria due to communicable diseases like measles, tuberculosis and Malaria compared to 59 out of every 1000 in Kenya.


The social condition of the country was also an effective mirror of the economy. The Economy remained largely unproductive, dependent, saddled with an increasingly pillaged public sector, a sluggish, unimaginative and weak private sector, a mono-cultural economy dependent on crude oil export, a crushing external debt of about 32 billion dollars, gulping up to 30% of foreign exchange earning, a depleted foreign reserve, hardly able to finance three months import, a manufacturing sector producing at between 29 to 32% of installed capacity, an agric sector that is largely subsistence and witnessing downward trend in productivity, and a contingent of un-employed persons mostly young and energetic.


Ancillary to the above was the collapse in infrastructure and utilities exemplified by wide spread shortage of fuel, epileptic electricity supply and frequent light outages, and a grossly intolerable monopolized telecommunication sector.


The above situation that constitute the political reality of where we want to move forward from must be taken along with a highly convoluted polity that the present democratic government inherited. That polity is characterized by:


Increasing restiveness of the oil producing communities protesting environmental degradation and developmental misery occasioned by oil exploration, ascendancy of ethnic revancist group preaching separatism, increase in violent conducts due to a militarized psyche and consciousness, manipulation of religion by anti-democratic elements etc.




Why Nigeria was regressing, sinking deep into the abyss during the wasted 16 years of un-interrupted military rule, the rest of the world did not wait for Nigeria.


Indeed important and fundamental political and economic development had taken place changing the dimension and texture of economics and international politics, affecting all nations of the world whether these countries like it or not. That development is what has become known as Globalization.


The word Globalization is not entirely new in the lexicon of Political – Economic discuss. As it is, simply derived from Globe – Worldwide.


Infact many writers on political economy argue that globalization in economic terms is as old as when the capitalist economic system appeared in the world. According to the renown Egyptian Political – Economist Samir Amin, it is as ancient as the landing of Christopher Columbus in America in 1492.


However the  currency of this phenomenon as a late 20th century and 21st century usage can be first traced to the article of Theodore Levitt in the Harvard business review entitled ‘ the Globalization of Market?


Levitt’s basic premises are that companies must learn to operate as if the ‘world were one large market ignoring superficial regional and national differences.


Those advice of Levitt in the Harvard business review have since moved into the domain of economics by the share dictate of the need of the present level of development of International capital and finance. Today there is such a tremendous inter penetration  of capital and technological capital that it is difficult to define the nationality of a given  product. The personal computer is an example of this whose parts come from different countries of Europe, America and Asia.

Also through mergers, acquisition and trade offs the companies that control world commerce have outgrown individual nations. They are no longer multinational but Tran nationals.




When the first trend of internationalization of business and world trade first gathered momentum there emerged the development of international wire services and news agencies such as the AP, PUI, Reuters and AFP. Their focus was to provide information relating to world trade and market. They provided news and also carried advertisement.  Added to this agencies were specialized magazines that appeared much later such as the Economist, Wall street Journal, etc.


Writing on the economic history of the then trans-national news agencies: Boyd – Barret elucidate


“…the growth of international and investment required constant source of reliable hard data, about international economic affairs; trade and empire required a constant supply of information effecting political alliances and military security; population mobility as a result of international trade and empire …. News media were allowed to cater  for mass market, relatively uninhibited by political restrain, and with their large circulations they attracted advertisers”.


The era of globalization was however heralded by the revolution in satellite, cable business, voice data, and the computer technologies. Ted Turner’s CNN, BBC’s, Sky TV, VOA’s world net all emerged as powerful communication TNC’s servicing the new globalised economy.


The new communication technologies in terms of its structure, process, operation, production, distribution and output have made the world more interdependent than ever before. The new international communication media have transcended the boundaries of nations, penetrating into the remotest village. In short the whole of humanities is being connected in terms of coverage and reception.


It is not only in form alone that the international media is globalizing but in content too. Satellites networks are changing the lexicon of discuss. The CNN for instance has banned the use of the word foreign “to bolster the sense of a single global market international is preferred”.


The Net is here


In the days of old, different market forms were developed to move trade and investment into an institution for trade in values and sourcing for investment money, the stock exchange was it. Enterprises that were to be sold had their worth valued as shares to be trade on the floor of the stock exchange. However close to the hitherto economic utopia of the perfect market has so far been invented like the Internet.


The Internet is the single largest market that allows all buyers and sellers to meet together with full information about supply and demand.


The Economist of February 12th – 18th 2000 focused on how the Internet has tried to create a perfect market. Some of the strength of the Internet identified includes.


Ø    Having no entry and exit barriers


Ø    Matching every buyer with suppliers that could best meet his needs


Ø    Prices are competitive and are at the level that could keep supply and demand at equilibrium.


Ø    There is no transaction cost such as time wasted seeking the right product.


The review in the Economist identified serious limitations of existing market type such as financial markets and competitive auction, which the Internet has overcome, these limitation are:


Ø    Restricted access


Ø    Insiders’ information that turn to advantage of some


Ø    Take or leave prices, which do not always bring demand and supply to equilibrium.


Generally the Internet has brought new market – places, greater efficiency and lots of market information.


“ It has brought vast numbers of potential buyer and sellers. Consumers can take part in fiercely competitive auctions on e-bay for everything from Beanie babies to bicycles. Hundreds of on-line exchanges and other e-hubs have sprung up in the last couples of years in business to business (B2B). These bring together firms and their suppliers to auction, negotiate or simply compare prices. The better known of these include Ariba, Chandex and e- steel”.


The volume of trade on the internet is massive as a lot of transnational co-operation are moving almost all their purchases and supplies on the internet. On November 2nd 1999 the Ford and the general motors declared that their large purchasing operation would be transferred to the web connecting supplies business partners and cutovers from all over the world. This would be on auto-exchange. And as at when this operation is completed Ford’s Annual Purchases of  $80 Billion for component from about thirty thousand suppliers and its supply chain of about $300 Billion would be on the Auto exchange. Can you beat the reach?




It is not the communication TNC’s alone that are facilitators for globalization. The different Brethen Woods Institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and International Financial Co-operation have long incorporated the requirements of the new economic order to their conditions in their dealings with different countries of the world particularly the debt-ridden economies of Africa, Latin America and Asia. The World Trade Organization (WTO) that emerged as successor to …………………… also appeared on the world scene as one of the global enforcers of the phenomenon under examination. The WTO like the Ridden Woods Institution is interested in such things as will facilitate greater interpenetration of capital, International competition and trade.


The WTO concerns are such issues as – slashing tariff to allow for international competition and trade – bringing services and agriculture under multilateral trade rules and free trade.




The new globalised economy require some conditions by all countries of the world intended on taking advantage of this phenomenon. These include:-



Ø    Deregulation of these economies.


Ø    Privatization of State’s enterprises


Ø    Opening of domestic markets as concessions to be traded for access to foreign markets


Ø    Removal of States subsidy


Ø    Political pluralism


Ø    Multi party elections


Ø    Free press


Ø    Free trade unions and environmental NGOs.


Writing on the economic history of the then trans-national news agencies: Boyd – Barret elucidate


“…the growth of international and investment required constant source of reliable hard data, about international economic affairs;  trade and empire required a constant supply of information effecting  political alliances and military security; population mobility as a  result of international trade and empire …. News media were allowed to cater for mass market, relatively uninhibited by political restrain, and with their large circulations they attracted advertisers”.




A number of scholars in developing world, labour activist, and antimonopoly groups have argued that while the world might have been brought into a global village, it is a village of unequal parties. They argue too that the forces of globalization appear to be eroding the political independence of economically weak nations of the developing world and also obliterating their mores and culture. For many it is like globalization stepped in to extinguish the demand of most countries of Africa, Latin America and Asia for a New-World Economic order and its communication variants New world Information and Communication Order (NWICO).


The above points were eloquently canversed by Luke Uka Uche (the order of North-South Information dichotomy) hear him.


“The global manipulation of the media by the industrialized North to the continued disadvantage of the south, most areas of which are still underdeveloped, makes us believe that the North and South are in many world, one voice’. The one voice is the one the industrially rich North has imposed through its claim to economic and technological superiority and hegemony. Thus, the new world order does not seem to guarantee economic rights, self-sufficiency, cultural pluralism, autonomy and sovereignty of the nations of the South”.




As soon as President Obasanjo was elected as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he issued out a declaration on March 2, 1999 showing that he was clear with what Nigerians expected of him. In that speech he declared.


“I understand the clear message of the Nigerian people. In giving me their mandate, they have asked me to lead this country by example. They want me to lead them aright. They want me to restore the dignity of our country. They want me to revitalize our political institution and reinvigorate the economy. They want me to alleviate their poverty and to reduce corruption. They want me to ensure the security of their lives and property. They want justice and equity in a country they can truly call their own”.


It was also clear too that the President had resolved to meet the expectation of Nigerians he needed to change the direction of economic management and governance into a new direction he hinted in the same March 2, 1999 that Nigeria will catch the globalization bug. Hear him:


“We will as soon as possible, re-examine our Laws and Policies and eliminate all obstacles to genuine investment and provide the necessary and conducive environment for private, domestic and foreign investment”.


The Nigerian Economic policy adopted by the Federal Executive Council of 8th December 1999 was however more explicit and detailed on the Economic direction of the state, inspite of its creativity in language its desire to meet the visa requirement of Globalization could not be disguised. The policy declared that the Economy shall be :-


Ø              Market oriented


Ø              Private Sector-led


Ø              Largely competitive, internally and globally, particularly in areas of comparative advantage


Ø              Technology driven


Ø              Broad based


Ø              Humane


Ø              Open and internationally significant


The policy measure for the above highlighted goal are privatization, deregulation and reduction of tariffs and deregulated foreign exchange regime and tax incentives. To be added to the above goal and economic management are the objectives of political engineering which include political openness transparency and accountability in governance. The Government also identified some basic social goals of where it wants to see Nigeria be by 2003. These are increasing access to safe water to 60% of the population, reduction of infant mortality to 50 per every 1000 and increasing literacy level to 80% among other social goals. This is the official focus of where Nigeria wants to be.




We had earlier argued that there is no hiding place for any one in the new world order. So it is possible for one to have a fair idea of who is doing what.


Nigeria in this respect is more or less like a product seeking to be sold in the market place of international business opinion. Her targets are foreign investors, tourists, international aids agencies, her army of highly skilled labour forces in Europe and America.


Like a product too it has competitors. They are the more liberalized and stronger economies of Asia and the emerging market in Eastern Europe. This particular reality therefore compels a strategic marketing initiative that is highly professional,

focused and scientific. This marketing strategy for Nigeria must have an internal content and an external one.


Marketing Nigeria Internally


Owing to long period of Military rule the psychology of most Nigerians have become so militarized that intolerance and violence is more pervasive in the land. It is this that has underlined the various sectarian violence that busted in the political landscape once the almighty repressive machine of military rule was removed from the scene.


The trend has become so devastating that it began to threaten the very essence of the Nigerian State apart from the targeted international investors which the Nigeria Economic managers are targeting to meet.


It therefore goes without saying that one of the primary concern of marketing Nigeria will be to first sell the Nigeria dream to her citizens on mass -scale, in order for them to cultivate the virtue of tolerance, peace, unity and respect for institution of dialogue and appreciate the democratic procedure for grievance handling and resolution of conflicts.


Allied to the above too is the need to reduce corruption  so as to save resources for development and also reduce the cost of doing business.


The above, therefore require massive public awareness campaign to achieve attitudinal changes.


Features of the Marketing Strategy


Ø              It must have a coherent theme or set of integrated theme made popular to all information managers in the Government information management systems.


Ø              It must be planned, massive and consistent


Ø              It must be multimedia – Radio Television, Newspaper, Magazine, Documentaries, Leaflets, Stickers, Poster, Bill board, Buttons, Face Caps, T.Shirts, Songs, Interpersonal.


Ø              Multilingual in English, Local languages and pidgin


Ø              It must be event- tied – rallies, concerts, church and mosque service etc.


Ø              Monitored and evaluated periodically.


Ø              Campaign item must be of the highest quality


Ø              It must be both subtle and direct.


Ø              It must be issues based.


The International Campaign


The ultimate in marketing Nigeria is to its targeted international publics to attract investment and gain greater political clout. In achieving this is the Unique Selling Proposition of Nigeria (USP) is that it is the biggest market in Africa with a satellite West African economy. Other highpoints are her rich culture and tourist sites. The following shall form the feature of the international campaign.


Ø              Creative use of information attaches in Nigeria embassies abroad for the purpose of marketing the country.


Ø              Effective liason with foreign information attaches in Nigeria and representatives of News Agencies in order to give objective information on developmental programmes of the country.


Ø              The publication of a colourful international Newsletter on Nigerian providing information and update on current reforms and development.


Ø              The opening up of website by the Information Ministry, Bureau for public enterprise and ministry of Tourism.


Ø              Networking with Nigerians abroad.


Ø              Commissioning a documentary on Nigeria different challenges and successes.


Ø               Publication of an Investors and Tourist guide on Nigeria. Etc.





Yes the men that rule the world appreciate the value of information and more and more information. That is what to do. That’s what Nigeria must do. But in doing this information manager can also pull punches subtlety. We must try to demand fair coverage in the international/media in areas of clear bias.


We must tell our western friends that a riot in Kaduna and Bayselsa does not make Nigeria unsafe for investment. Just like the war in Northern Island with more horrendous proportion in terms of violence and casualty has not made the United Kingdom unsafe for Investment. And neither has the struggle of the Bathist seperatist movement in Spain has not made Spain unsafe for investment. We must demand fair coverage.


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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.