Nigeria is one of the most populous countries in the world, with a population of more than 140 million people. In the recent past, the image of this country has suffered because of antisocial and criminal activities. Nigeria scored 27 percent in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2008 by Transparency International (Ukpong, 2008). Vietnam has banned Nigerians from entering that country because of undesirable activities of Nigerians there. Drug and human trafficking, militancy, advance fee fraud, known in the local parlance as "419," have rocked Nigeria. There is an unprecedented number of Nigerians sentenced to prison or death outside Nigeria for their involvement in criminal activity, including immigration crimes, robbery, fraud, smuggling, arms running, prostitution, and murder.
Many Nigerians have attributed these worrisome behaviours to socioeconomic and political paralysis, with sluggish economy, hunger, unreliable power supply, corruption in high places, poverty, structural unemployment, a dearth of social amenities, and electoral flaws (Onuoha, 2009, Kilete, 2009, Agbese, 2009).
It is against this backdrop that the idea of rebranding arose. The rebranding campaign was launched in 2009 by the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who repositioned Nigeria's health sector as the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Overseeing the Ministry of Information and Communication at this time is a hard task. One of the greatest challenges facing Akunyili was to provide timely and accurate information on the activities of the government while ensuring that Nigeria's international image reflects reality. Innocent Nigerians have been arrested indiscriminately and some have been denied visas simply because they are Nigerians (Kilete, 2009).
During the launching of the rebranding Nigeria Project, Akunyili stated that:
The rebranding is about our collective interest, our image as a country and as a people in the present and future. Even with the challenges, we do not have any other country we can call our own; we are not by this rebranding justifying whatever may be our failures. Akunyili is calling on the government, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil societies, organized labour, the clergy, the media, traditional institutions and citizens to be part of this rebranding campaign. This paper examines the role of the...