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  • Thursday, June 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

Otti’s footprints (11)

Nation Branding:

Beyond the physical infrastructure, there is an intangible asset which Governor Alex Otti has gained for Abia State in just one year. He has given us an asset of great value, the asset of renewed image and perception. When the public sing the song, Otti is Doing Well, their mental conjecture is not only about the roads and the monuments but essentially about the new equity of trust, confidence, satisfaction, hope and relationship which he has regained for Abia. This is what I call nation branding.

Read also: Otti’s footprints

Governor Otti has, perhaps inadvertently, rebuilt the public image and perception of Abia. There is a new story about the state and outsiders can see a silver lining in the skyline. There is a renewed emotional connection and Abia is no more being displayed as an exhibit of backwardness but a place of reviving hope. The Governor has peddled confidence and trust about Abia by his overhauling processes and his emergency interventionist strategies. Thus, I consider his success in nation branding and rebranding as one of his key achievements in his one-year stride.

The Governor has gone down in our lore as a memorable story of the merit of change; the merit of stepping out of the comfort zone and trying a new thing. Outsiders in Abuja, Lagos, the Diaspora and elsewhere now talk about Abia in positive terms, as a place of the rising sun. Among the neigbouring states, Abia has become the reference point for dynamic leadership. Everyone points at Abia as an example that the bones can rise again. In the buses, in the public gatherings, it is a happy story of a new Abia. The Nigerian media have embraced this new perception and have queued in support of the Abia renaissance.

Otti, therefore, will take accolades as a road builder, infrastructure constructionist, social reformist and, remarkably, an image builder. He has deployed the tools for system administration to influence the surroundings, change stereotypes about Abia and cause a new positive perception about our dear state. He has created a new Brand Abia, what Public Relations and Marketing experts describe as “the guarantee of consistent quality”. He has created a corporate identity, the relationship between image and behavior. These tangible assets of quality are encapsulated in his overall leadership template which is anchored on rebirth and reconstruction.

He is himself the brand ambassador and represents a consistent brand with a consistent brand proposition. His unique selling proposition is resetting and he is truly living his brand promise of service and repositioning. This vision of a new Abia has been supported, reinforced and enriched by every act of communication between the state and the rest of the world. The Governor, oftentimes, takes out time to communicate directly by himself his programmes and actions and, by so doing, conveys his mental picture of the Brand Abia.

It is, indeed, obvious that Governor Otti is approaching governance not from the political angle but from the delivery angle, at least in the first phase of two years. It is only those who are clever enough to understand this trajectory that can effectively key into his vision and chemistry. For him, Abia is an emergency situation that requires concerted measures. His eyes are on his promises to Abians. This is the ideological framework that has positioned Abia as one territory in need of the necessary intervention and that is fast regaining the lost glory of the past.

A State of Emergency is not only declared in a situation of war, national danger or disaster. It could also be declared when there is actual breakdown of public order and public safety in the federation or any part thereof to such extent as to require extraordinary measures to restore peace and security. In his strides and style, Governor Otti is deploying extraordinary measures to tackle the challenges of the state. Or you might call it breaking the norms to restore order. This is evident in some of his policy implementations so far. The government has radically moved from the era of even spread, ethnic or regional balance to a new era that emphasizes meritocracy and competition. The government does no longer pay attention to sectional balance but gives premium to merit, capacity and ability.

These approaches are outside of the box. Otti is leading a Special Force on a rescue mission with the agenda to elicit a rebirth and a total change of the Abia routine and fostering of a new political culture. Change is the only thing that is permanent and Abians are experiencing a change process, an innovation procedure and a kind of historical progression under the new government. One great achievement of these processes is the new positive image of the state.

Abia is about to become the paradise regained. This is the new image and the new perception. I therefore, boldly consider this as a great footprint of Governor Otti in his one-year stride.

Adindu is a media/PR Consultant

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