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- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
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- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
When Runsewe enlisted American media to shore up Nigeria’s image •Takes case to All Africa News, Diplomat, CNN, The Africa Channel, CBS, NBC, Travel Mole
THE task of luring Americans to Nigeria for business and leisure travel is not a storm in a tea cup affair. It is a task that can only be achieved through swift, clinical approach targeted at those who shape the opinion and influence the reasoning template of the people. It could be a group of people, institutions, associations, interest groups and diplomatic circles.
The fact is that Americans know very little about Nigeria. Yes, that is a fact. Forget the long years of interaction and hobnobbing.
Forget that millions of Nigerians are in America, contributing greatly to the greatness of that country in different capacities; from the cleaner you see at the JF Kennedy Airport to that Nigerian who monitors the satellite surveillance of the whole of America since 9/11 and even to the thousands of Nigerian medical personnel who reinforce the pillar of the medical services in America.
The truth is that the little which Americans know about Nigeria does not relate to the positive areas enumerated above but the negative ones.
The beautiful side of Nigeria is often sidelined for the negative side, which has enabled the typical American to have the mindset that Nigeria is not only a bad country but an evil one which must be despised and loathed like a deadly plague.
It is not that these poorly-fed Americans (information wise, on Nigeria) have ever ventured out or had firsthand experience about Nigeria and interacted with Nigerians. No, but they gulped hook, line and sinker, the information being doled out by the American media and its agencies.
The negative propaganda against Nigeria is not just a one-time affair but sequentially orchestrated, well coordinated and of immense proportion, globally wired and networked; an international conspiracy aimed at ensuring the truncation of developmental trajectory of Nigeria.
This should be understood within the background that Nigeria is a country of over 150 million population, blessed with abundant human and material resources, the biggest population of the black in the world, and a country where 80 per cent of black African–Americans owe their root to. Nigeria is a country which, if allowed to gather its wits and essence globally, will stand up one day to question the world powers.
Already, the fact that Nigeria has not assumed its status in the comity of nations and is still trying to make waves is sending jitters down the spine of the world powers, hence the bitter media war against it.
It is surprising that there has never been a consistently focused direct action or efforts to address this issue decisively by taking the true case of Nigeria to those that matter.
Not that there has never been any attempt but they were very feeble and inefficient just because most people assigned to do this did not understand the demands, the dictates and those who were needed to make their mission effective, realisable and rewarding.
And another truth is that Nigeria needs the Americans as much as the Americans need Nigeria. The Americans must appreciate Nigeria and have the correct information on the country. There must be a way of talking to the American public in the language and style which they understand.
Americans must see Nigeria in its correct perspective and view it with the prism of objectivity.
For Chief Olusegun Runsewe, the Director–General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, such a mission is accomplished from the onset, not just because he was a publisher and journalist of note who knows exactly where the shoe pinches Nigeria and knows the best cobbler to mend the spot; he is a man who usually does his home work well and pursues them with all what God has endowed him with.
He knows that nothing tangible could be achieved in the task of presenting the true nature of events, happenings and occurrences in Nigeria if the media in American is not educated on the country.
And in the task of ensuring heavy tourism traffic from America to Nigeria, he has no choice than to engage the American media in a partnership of understanding of the real situation in Nigeria.
Thus the Road Show organised by the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in America afforded Chief Runsewe the opportunity to meet the American media in their liars where he presented the story of Nigeria the way it should be.
The meeting with the American media was not the usual lousy business of calling some pen pushers together in a hall in the name of press conference, which only scratch the surface of the issue at hand but a one on one deep discussion and interaction with the publishers and editors of media outfits.
What is deductible from the Road Show in relation to the media is that the Americans know little about Nigeria, that Nigeria must come out from its shell to tell the Americans its own story and Americans love to come to Nigeria .
We have a better perspective of Nigeria’s image now - Reed Kramer, CEO, allAfrica.com
In a meeting with Paul Kramer, Chief Executive Officer, allAfrica.com, Chief Runsewe, in a sequential order enumerated the tourism potentialities in Nigeria informing him that Nigeria has over 60 golf courses , 8 national parks, warm springs, Waterfalls, Safari, the biggest Church auditorium in the world, over 630 kilometers of beach coast, the only suspended Lake in Africa and hosts the best mosque in Africa having a population of 150 million good and pleasant people.
Kramer said he could not believe this, “We don’t have these facts here in America. What we usual have are reports of religious tiff and killing spree going on in Nigeria and there is no one coming out like this to put the stories straight.”
He pointed out that “If not because I am a media man, I would have believed that Boko haram has taken over Nigeria. But after cross checking the information, I realized that the religious crisis is limited to some states in Nigeria.”
He revealed that “The essence of allafrica.com is to push the best out of Africa for all to see as we want the best out of Africa but we are being put in a precarious situation when what we only hear from Africa is the bad news and, as a media outfit, there is nothing we can do than to publish the news for all.”
The CEO, allAfrica.com revealed that “I am happy that someone is coming out to address the issue of Nigeria’s image frontally. It is exciting because there is a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes about Nigeria and Nigerians in the US. I have to thank you especially for this rare interaction which is not only enlightening but educating. Chief Runsewe, I have to confess that this is the first time a Nigerian is coming out to tell story of Nigeria the way it is. The information you are reeling out which are documented in these materials are to, some of us, new.”
Kramer also commended Chief Runsewe for picking a golf as one of the ingredients with which to sell Nigeria. “You have done well with the fact that you have taken the Nigerian issue to the door step of the golf world. This is because golfers are the most itinerant and intrepid business travellers and powerful opinion molders in America. When golfers move, multi–billion businesses and opportunities trail them.”
He also pointed out that “with what I have heard from you about the wonderful tourism potentialities in Nigeria and its over 150 million people and with these beautifully packaged information materials which you have made available to me and your contact, I assure you that a better time in terms of news presentation about Nigeria has come. We are definitely going to give Nigeria tourism, nay, Nigeria image a push as we now have a better understanding of the Nigeria’s image now.”
Nigeria needs more work on its image in the diplomatic circle = Victor Shiblie, Publisher and Editor– in–Chief, The Washington Diplomat
In another round of interaction with Victor Shiblie, the Publisher and Editor–in–Chief, The Washington Diplomat, Chief Runsewe analysed the Nigerian image situation vis–a–vis the international conception and acceptability talking about how it had become necessary for the world to understand Nigeria in its true perspective taking cognizance of its immense human and material resources.
Shiblie, whose publication is a must-read for world diplomats revealed that Nigeria has a lot to do especially on the diplomatic level, when it comes to tourism traffic diversion and national image.
“I must not deceive you. I have not been to Nigeria in my life, but I once had a Nigerian friend who is dead now, Chief Bola Ige, who, like you, always told me that Nigeria is the biggest and the best country in Africa. The truth is that your country needs to do what you are doing now on the diplomatic level .This is my first time apart from Chief Bola Ige which was on a personal level, when an official of your government would think it wise to talk to the critical media on Nigeria‘s image. This is commendable, nice and a sign that Nigeria is being proactive.”
Shiblie said he was going to spread this new initiative as wide as possible as “with these information on my fingers tip and the illumination which Chief Runsewe has provided on the Boko Haram and matters of security, Nigeria is not so bad a country, as it is being projected. But the government too should get off its track and blow the positive contents in the country at the diplomatic circles.”
Negative information on Nigeria scares African–Americans —Solomon J Herbert Publisher and Editor in Chief, Black Meeting & Tourism
Considering the population of African–American in the US and the need to lure them to their roots by telling them that Nigeria is the home to the, majority of them, Chief Runsewe took the story of Nigeria to Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine, the authority on African–American convention and leisure travel.
Solomon Herbert, the publisher and Editor in Chief, Black Meetings and Conventions said he was elated that “someone has come over to clear some of the misconceptions being trumpeted about Nigeria among the African-Americans. The fact is that we believe in Nigeria. We love the country but the news we always got about the country scares the hell out of us and, poor enough there is nobody out there to give us the second side.”
He said that, as the publisher and editor of the one of largest circulating magazines among the African–Americans “I am always bombarded with questions about Nigeria and there is a limit which I can go on this because of the fact that most of the information right there on the net is negative. That is why I am happy meeting you with my wife and having listening to the true story of Nigeria which is documented, I can now confidently inform our people here that Nigeria is not how it is being portrayed.”
Nigeria should expect heavy tourist’s traffic from America - Mark Walton
Reinforcing Solomon Herbert’s view on the African–American, Mark Walton, an official of African Channel, an intercontinental TV station based in Los Angeles, said that Nigeria would soon experience unprecedented boom in tourist traffic from the United States following reports that more than 70 per cent of African Americans have found that their root is Nigeria.
He made this revelation after Chief Runsewe had presented Nigeria’s case to him, urging for better understanding and objectivity in news related to Nigeria on the African Channel.
Walton said “I sympathise with Nigeria and I think the country is getting it right now going by your presence here and the way you are carrying out this mission. At African Channel, our mission is to present African’s case to the world in the most objective form ever. We are happy that you are here and we are going to offer the necessary support at ensuring the projection of good news from Nigeria.”
Walton said that with the road show which Chief Runsewe had come to launch in America and the new brainwave in Europe and America which prompted many into finding and knowing their behavioral patterns by embarking on DNA test which revealed that majority of the African American are indigenes of no other place than Nigeria, the country should be ready to receive a lot of African–Americans soon.
He revealed that the DNA test has been generating new waves of awareness across the United States, adding that a senator had already found out and traced his roots to Nigeria.
According to Walton, following this discovery by the senator, several congressmen and prominent individuals that undergone the test and most have traced their root to Nigeria.
Walton commended Chief Runsewe for coming into America at this time in point when things are working in favor of Africa and particularly for Nigeria.”
He said pointed out that “this is the first time that the Nigeria government would be approaching the issue of its image and understanding of fundamental issues using the right people and right channel.
“I am very sure this road show will cultivate respect and better understand of Nigeria here in the United States. And I also hope this is not going to be the last.”
In the same stride, Chief Runsewe engaged the official of the CNN, CBS NBS and Trade Mole.
(To be continued next week)Share