‘Not in My Country’ as a Re-branding Tool

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Raheem Akingbolu, who watched the premiere of “Not in My Country” produced by Bufferzone International Ltd, a television production and media relations consulting firm, believes it will be a good starting point for the debate on how to alter Nigeria’s somewhat unsavoury image

Corruption is everywhere; offices, among taxi drivers, in the market and workshops. That is the message the producers of ‘Not in My Country,’ a development communication campaign, are out to establish. At its premiere recently in Lagos, media influencers and marketing communications experts, called on government and other believers in the Nigerian project to key into the campaign and use it to re-orientate the masses. The campaign, which is in many faces, mirrors the society and points out the ills in various callings. The one-minute drama is catchy, entertaining and pungent. It delves into various incidences of corruption encountered by Nigerians in their day-to-day routines. From a government official, who inflated the cost of contract to an artisan, who fixed a substandard tool for his customer, there is lesson for all. Through a well written script and actors and actresses that perfectly interpreted the rolls in all the area touched, ‘Not in My Country’ succinctly captured the frame of mind of those who want corruption stamped out in the society.

It is a well researched literary work that digs into the conscious and entrenched acts of corruption often referred to as business as usual. The producers therefore deployed the mechanism of advocacy to galvanize the citizens’ collective ethical competences to campaign against corruption. According to them, their aspiration is to use the project to ignite a revolution of doing things right in Nigeria with a robust benefit envisioned for the nation in all sectors of human endeavour.

It is aimed at cleansing the nation through a well conceptualised creative work of drama. It is set to enhance attitudinal change and transform every citizen into change agents. They believe that it is only a responsibly citizenry that can demand for an accountable leadership and transparent governance.

The target audience of the one- minute drama, which is expected to be in 365 different experiential clips round a year, are; perception index-shaping institutes, international watchdog agencies, global and local media and the general public. To reach relevant quarters, it is said to have already being aired on radio and YouTube while efforts are being put in place to translate it to all Nigerian languages.

Synopsis

For instance, one of the campaigns exposes the corruption in the Aviation industry, where ticketing officers hoard tickets and sell discriminately. Two young men come to the counter and demand for Abuja tickets but the two young ladies handling the ticket simply tell them the seats have all been occupied. In a jiffy, another customer, this time a woman believed to be richer, approaches them and they obliged by giving her an outrageous price. Surprises show on the faces of the two gentlemen standing and they demand explanation. Fortunately, Bukky Wright, the popular Nollywood Artist, who plays the role of a wealthy woman, reason with the men and they all reprimand the cashiers. They all chorus ‘Not in My Country.’ Another episode shows a businessman, who insist that two million naira should be added to his company’s invoice while making a purchase. Sensing that the other man is not ready to play ball, a shouting match starts and the owner of the shop ends the conversation with ‘Not in My Country’. There is also the story of a taxi driver, who deceives its passengers and a manager in an insurance company, who lies about claims. Beyond this, it sends messages to different sectors of the economy; health, education, oil and gas and the judiciary.

Objectives
Through the one-minute drama series, the producer attempts to establish a goal for citizens to anchor believe and hope in development agenda within a just society driven by globally acceptable norms of civilised conduct and mutual respect for one another. The drama also engenders mass populace awareness and participation in the quest for transparent governance, accountability and the rule of law. Finally, it deploys a nation-wide anti-corruption campaign as indicators for community and citizens monitoring with a totally rehabilitated national psyche in view.
With this, it is believed that the President’s brand personae and body language against corruption as the Lead-campaign symbol can be a driven force in actualising the dream of eradicating corruption in the society

Nigeria today

According to the producer of the campaign, Mr. Akin Fadeyi, what informed its production was the fact that the Nigerian Nation has been beleaguered with corruption and the fact that it has paralysed citizens’ collective psyche and confidence as a nation. To him, there is need to work hard to get it right before the generality of Nigerians and the global community.

He said: “Corruption is an unethical behaviour which runs counter to the accepted social norms and moral values. It is a behavioural pattern, which seriously hurt public morality and leaves the society worse for it. Corruption is an act involving dishonesty, illegality and non- conformity with accepted standard of behaviour. And such an act or behaviour has as its main aim, the return for financial or material benefit, either for the person committing the act or on behalf of any other person.

“Corruption has been the bane to socioeconomic development in Nigeria. It has destroyed the moral foundation of our society and occasioned incalculable distress to individuals. Corruption has ravaged the country and destroyed most of what ought to be cherished national values. Unfortunately, the political class saddled with the responsibility of directing the affairs of the country have been the major culprit perpetrating this act. Regrettably, this has culminated in the institutionalisation of corruption in all agencies of the public service, and in all facets of national endeavour in Nigeria inclusive of even the private sector,”

He believes that corruption battle is a complex struggle between those who want to move the nation forward and those who want to move it backward or at the least, stagnate it. To this end, he stated that it is pertinent to tackle it headlong through a foundational mobilisation of every citizen in every strata of the society till the nation gradually evolves into an informed corporate entity where anti-social norms become strange, embarrassing and unacceptable.
“It is therefore not enough for citizens to point accusing fingers at government alone, rather, the battle against corruption requires a collective resolve from a nation seeking development, after all, the leaders that have emerged from Nigeria are products of the same corrupt society,” he stated.

To drive attitudinal change
Speaking on why it is easy for the Nigeria Integrated Marketing Communications (NIMC) industry to champion the campaign, Fadeyi said the industry is reputed to have grown local and international brand and that growing the Nigerian brand shouldn’t be a problem. With the new campaign, he said it has been designed to expose the various facets of corruption in Nigeria, which he stated that his troupe has captured through an in-depth and exhaustive exposé of the ingenuity behind this cankerworm that has eaten deep into the nation’s fabric.
“NIMC is also designed to commence the cleansing of our nation through systemic, well conceptualised creative work of Drama. It is set to enhance attitudinal change and transform every citizen into change agents. After all, it is only a responsibly citizenry that can demand for an accountable leadership and transparent governance,”

Dramatic personae
The producer of Not In My Country’, Akin Fadeyi, is the Lead Consultant of Bufferzone International Ltd, a TV Production and Public and Media Relations Consultancy Firm. He was consultant to United Nations Women on Gender Equality and Media Awareness. He has worked in Cadbury Nigeria and Airtel Nigeria, when it was known as Zain. Fadeyi is supported by some of the best hands in the performance arts industry who passionately share his vision for a corrupt-free society.

Among them is comic actor, Hafiz Oyetoro aka Saka, a dynamic professional and a talented actor. Beyond his luggage of humour, the real life story of Hafiz offers huge lesson to anyone. At a time theatre business brought little income, he stayed to pay his due. Jude Orhorha, another artist featured in the drama is a fantastic Nigerian actor who brings candour, honour and depth to the table when it comes to measuring artiste impact on a film project.
There is also Tina Mba, a Theatre Amazon with huge fan base. She is not a run of the mill; Tina knows her Onion and she has paid price to reach this enviable level in the made believe world of acting.

Kelechi Idegbe, popularly called Officer Titus, is one of many esteemed ‘Not in My Country’ arrays of Nigerian actors who expressed willingness to nip corruption in the bud with their acting prowess. He was said to be at his best through-out the four-weeks shoot of the drama.

Though known mainly in the IMC industry, Gani Olowu, who plays the role of taxi driver, displayed a bundle of talent in the drama. He is a marketing public relations specialist that has worked on key brands like MTN, GSK (Lucozade Boost), MTV Base and Heritage Bank.

With the willingness of the federal government to encourage any move taken to change Nigeria, it is believed by pundits that the Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Muhammed and other relevant agencies of government will see ‘Not in My Country’ as a good tool to drive attitudinal change in the country.