• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Uganda Vs Nigeria story, His Excellency, The President, must hear this!

Uganda Vs Nigeria story, His Excellency, The President, must hear this!

Your Excellency Sir,

I write to commend you on your activities of drawing attention to the country in your quest to revive the economic challenges.

In line with what you are doing, I want to draw your attention to the National Advertising Conference scheduled to be held between December 7 and 8, 2023 with the theme, “Marketing Communication As An Enabler Of National Transformation.”

The quality of the speakers and guests that will grace the event is a pointer to the desire of practitioners of marketing communications in the country to see our beloved country appropriately positioned among community of nations. However, we are leaving the fundamentals of destination marketing, destination branding and National Reputation Management as game of chance based on the narratives emanating from the activities of government actors.

Read also: Boost for intra-African travel as Nigeria-Uganda tourism connection takes off

I commend the team behind the National Advertising Conference.

His Excellency, as the Chief Brand Custodian and Chief Marketing Officer of the country, it is time we aggregated our conversation to the world from our internal behaviour to the external that we so much desire to have Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

In a mixed conversation, conflicting behaviours appear to be hindering our progress in destination marketing, when we assess the current landscape.

Let us look at Uganda against the backdrop of the names of leaders such as Idi- Amin Dada, Kaguta Museveni and Milton Obote, these leaders left us with the narratives that gave the world evergreen movies such as “90 Minutes at Entebbe” and “The Rise And Fall Of Idi Amin Of Uganda.”

Today, Entebbe Airport is sending out a very different and more enticing or appealing story not enabled by anything but a cultural shift in service offering.

Based on this, we need to review our cultural behaviours in service offerings as men and women of marketing communications gather to look at Marketing Communications as an enabler of national transformation.

Airport personnel routinely demand mandatory funds for basic services like baggage clearance or check-in, creating an alarming cultural norm. This widespread practice overshadows official duties, attracting global attention to the prevalent unofficial transactions.

We may have endured a brief yet alarming era of consistently inadequate services across various sectors in the country. Consequently, it has become commonplace for the one receiving the service to be favored in terms of payment, reversing the traditional dynamics where the service provider was prioritised.

A review of various scenarios at Murtala Muhammed International Airport against the backdrop of all the infrastructural evolutions happening at the same airport will be that Behavioural Change is probably not as fast as infrastructural changes.

Airport personnel routinely demand mandatory funds for basic services like baggage clearance or check-in, creating an alarming cultural norm. This widespread practice overshadows official duties, attracting global attention to the prevalent unofficial transactions.

Read also: Uganda Airlines direct flight to Nigeria deepens competition on international route

However, while the investment in the infrastructure is beautiful, the human elements are left behind in re-modelling and reshaping.

Over 223,000,000 people, no national carrier and we are yet to call out the people that have consistently abused the process of achieving that basic feat, while a nation with about 42,000,000 people in the east of Africa is setting new standards in the aviation industry with new aspiration as the Crane of the Pearl of Africa.

Based on the information at hand, Uganda Airlines serves as the national airline of Uganda, marking a revival of the earlier Uganda Airlines that was operational from 1977 to 2001. Launched in August 2019, the renewed Uganda Airlines has garnered recognition as the world’s youngest aircraft fleet, as determined by Ch-Aviation—a Switzerland-based industry information collector and publisher situated in Chur.

The Murtala Mohammed International Airport is going through transformation; however, the people’s behaviours are not changing, while I stand to be corrected or challenged. These workers have an entitled spirit of demanding money form passengers after every expected action. They are hostile to extort money from passengers.

These personnel and passengers are the storytellers; the government must design a new behavioural conversation with one goal to ensure the right service culture that will inspire the users of the service.

The story of Entebbe is amazingly inspiring from the behaviour of the personnel on ground. What is enabling the conversation and driving traffic to the pearl of Africa is culture of excellence within the brand touch point. What is our culture at our touch points that will enable that conversation from Marketing Communications?

Once again, I call on the Ministry of Information and adding both the Ministry of Aviation and Ministry of Culture and Tourism to create a meeting point for other government agencies to draw reference from the management of brand conversation, from simple alignment of the reputation management of the nation.

Whilst the Ministry of Information is probably sending out information about the country, many more contents are going out of the country (and inside the country) through the activities of employees at the airport (just one location), amongst many other points of contact that are telling the stories to the general public at various levels. The behaviour of men and women in Power is an endless storytelling avenue.

My humble recommendation is that now is the time for the Federal government to set up a mandatory team for the country to start a behavioural change campaign with service-offering standards across every organization.

There should be a brand and reputation management department outside the Ministry of Information or Department of Information that will bring other skills into one place to define service level that will impact on brand value.

Read also: SAHCO gets contract to provide ground handling services to Uganda Airlines

If Uganda could revive its airline within a couple of years, what could be the reason behind Nigeria “Airways” revival?

The case of what happened under the past Minister of Aviation and the past leadership of the country is a pointer to the fact that we are not ready to face the ant or elephant and deal with the subject, but what is happening also is that the nation we considered to be small in the past are making better efforts at rebuilding and rebranding than us.

Our president is very busy attending to the many troubles of the nation; however, as the Chief Brand Executive and Chief Marketing Officer of the Nigeria Company, he must hear Uganda Vs Nigeria Story.


Akonte Ekine is a reputation management expert, he writes from Nairobi