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Social Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room. It’s good to have everyone in the house. In the simplest of terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hi guys I’m IniOluwa Odekunle, Project Lead, and Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation aka Socially Africa. I’m a budding social entrepreneur.

Obianuju Asiodu: Hello everyone. My name is Uju. I create healthy communities for people with intellectual disabilities at Special Olympics Nigeria.

Dunsin Fatuase: Awesome Evening Everyone.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Glad to be a part of this conversation.

Debiyi Ajayi: My name is Debiyi Ajayi. I wear a lot of hats but to a large extent, much of what I do has to do with learning and development so I train and consult on a range of topics. I’m a legal practitioner and I’m also a volunteer with The Stellar Initiative. Happy to be here.

The Moderator: The floor is opened for everyone to speak… The conversation has started

Chisom Ogbumuo: Hello Everyone! My name is Chisom, I am the founder of The Conversation Cafe, a safe space for people to interact, learn, share and converse on alternative education topics and issues to engender personal and societal development. As well, a UN Youth ambassador.

Tony Joy: Hi Everyone, I am Tony Joy, the founder of Durian. Durian is a social venture that is committed to empowering rural communities through transforming their local waste into value.

Precious Eniayekan: Hello, Everyone, my name is Precious Eniayekan… I’m a serial entrepreneur, I run a fashion business and also a lead volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, an initiative that empowers young adults, men in the force and middle-aged women.

Dunsin Fatuase: Hi Everyone… I am Dunsin Fatuase. Director of Exponential Programs, at the Curators University and I am building an Industry 4.0 ready Africa through STEM in marginalized communities.

Abimbola Akinsanya: My name is Abimbola Akinsanya, lead volunteer for lend a hand to the development of Africa, OAP and creative director for Japhix creatives.

The Moderator: Great introductions. We have got 50 mins left. My name is Gabriel BALOGUN and I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation. The plan is to ensure that we just let this conversation flow naturally like we are having a roundtable gist.

The Moderator: I will begin by saying that there are many opinions about the role and impact of social enterprises/businesses in the society. Some see them as a way for the private sector to fill the gaps left by the public administration and government, while others consider such businesses a vehicle for social change and nation-building.

Some even go as far as to view them as ways, people launder money from the government or foreign investors in an effort to get rich quickly. With the rise of Social Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, What do you think is the role of a social enterprise/business in the society?

The Moderator: The floor is open, anyone can answer

Obianuju Asiodu: Social enterprises are sustainable NGOs. Self-funded agents of change and social transformation at all levels (micro-macro).

Inioluwa Odekunle: Typically an enterprise/business is a system that’s built to meet a need through trade of value for financial exchange. What differentiates a social enterprise is that it exists to tackle societal problems while doing business (if for-profit or hybrid).

One major role social enterprises play is to heighten the awareness about deficiencies in the society and galvanize civic engagement in the citizens.

Tony Joy: Social entrepreneurship has indeed positively affected the nation’s economy, not just on one hand but in multiple ways. These in my view include social, vocational, environmental and educational development. All of these aspects have been brought to birth by several social entrepreneurs in the country who not only solve problems but also create opportunities for others. While there are genuine efforts, we also need to acknowledge the fact that some people are using the idea of social entrepreneurship to create another means of draining the economy and/or deceiving others.

Precious Eniayekan: First social entrepreneurship connotes a special, innate ability to sense and act on an opportunity, combining out of the box thinking with a unique brand of determination to CREATE or bring about something NEW to the world… So social enterprise meets a NEED and thereby they create VALUE that many can benefit from.

Debiyi AJAYI: For me, I see social entrepreneurship as the major driver of the economic future of any nation especially within the African context.
To a large extent, Africa has been limited by a paucity of genuine leadership and this has created a system where citizens have been forced to be everything to themselves. So we provide education, healthcare, power, shelter, basic amenities for ourselves. Due to this harsh environment, the divide between those who have and those who don’t is manifestly clear. Social entrepreneurship however has been the key towards bridging that gap and somewhat create a level playing field through innovative ideas and platforms that empower people who can then contribute largely to the profit economy of the nation.

Abimbola Akinsanya: The way people view social enterprises is dependant on how they have perceived them. I would rather like to say, how do we view the work we do in our various organization. It’s however imperative for me as a leader to understand that my work is about the problem I want to solve and the people I am about and stay true to it.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Social enterprise is the gap tool between capitalism and socialism. It yields a paradigm shift, provides opportunities and ensures growth. It promotes creativity and sustainability models

Obianuju Asiodu: Socal enterprises create opportunities that help to bridge gaps. They also serve as key platforms/champions for awareness and Civic engagement

The Moderator: With these roles stated, do you think Nigeria social enterprises/ business have made impact fulfilling these roles?

Dunsin Fatuase: First with, may we be clear about what a Social Enterprises are? From a simple but a birds view, a social enterprise is a minimalized approach to solving the world’s problem starting with the least available resources sustainably. While a business can be built on this framework, the main goal is not excessive profit, unlike every other business models.

Dunsin Fatuase: Most have not… There seems to be some form of imperfection with a very key factor of Social Enterprises which is self-sustainability in Nigeria.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I think some have, but I am reminded that there is more to do.

Tony Joy: We are daily growing into fulfilling our various roles because it is a process.

Precious Eniayekan: Some have, but we have to take direct action and generate new and sustained growth.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, so far we have done/doing a good job. A lot more could be done if certain values are being put in place.

Inioluwa Odekunle: There’s been a significant growth and progress made by social enterprises, a good example is Andela, which has attracted foreign investment and contributed to the positive image of Nigeria in the global scale. Not to talk of the number of programmers that have been trained.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, they have.

Debiyi AJAYI: To a large extent, I would say that the social enterprises I have come in contact with have done a very good job in fulfilling these roles.  A couple of indices mark out effectiveness as a social enterprise in my view which includes:
-Focus
-Clarity of Purpose
-Clarity of Strategy
-Sustainability
I dare say that in the midst of really harsh conditions and a society where social enterprise is viewed with a lot of skepticism and suspicion, Nigerian social entrepreneurs have done well.
Although there are some bad eggs in the basket, it doesn’t negate the excellent work being done, I dare say by quite a number of the people in this room who’s work I have either followed it actively participated in.

The Moderator: A couple of us here are either running or working for a social enterprise, what are the challenges? I want us to give very specific challenges

Tony Joy: Creating solutions with impact in view while also thinking sustainability

Obianuju Asiodu: However, social enterprises are still plagued by “regular business and system problems” and I feel that this has greatly limited and frustrated the impact/efforts of many social enterprises.

Precious Eniayekan: Basically major challenge has been social acceptance. Most people don’t understand what we are doing and it has in a way affected funding. In Nigeria, once we don’t understand something we often bad mouth and ignore. It is like making a statement like ”These NGO/ non-profit people want to steal our money and use it for themselves”

Abimbola Akinsanya: Challenges vary per time. However, for me, putting the right structure in place has been quite challenging especially thinking about sustainability in view

Inioluwa Odekunle: A major problem is that the current CAC does not recognize a Social Enterprise business, that is to say, you cannot be registered as a social enterprise. (I understand that the office of the Vice President is working with a team of lawyers to fix the laws to allow ease of business). In Nigeria, the law recognizes, either For-profit or Not-for-profit. Social enterprises are not recognized yet.

Chisom Ogbumuo: True!!

Precious Eniayekan: 👌👌👌👌👌👌

Obianuju Asiodu: I started a social enterprise in 2016, a major challenge I faced then was my bottom line. after producing my food products no one would buy it just because I was running a social enterprise model. I had to go out there market, invest and compete like every other for-profit brand. at the end of the day, I was running the impact on my 9-5 salary and there was no way that was sustainable.

Tony Joy: The challenges come in different forms, but one that I have found notable is sustainability.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Another major problem is getting the right team to adhere to the structure because of the norms they have been accustomed too.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Hmmm, lack of angel investors within Nigeria as opposed to the North Atlantic countries.

Dunsin Fatuase: Having transitioned from various sectors of Social Enterprises, here are very common problems I have identified.

– Sustainable Structure.
– Team Recruitment.
– Unfriendly Policy Procurement Processes.

Obianuju Asiodu: There’s no special recognition or tax exemption for running a social enterprise, even investors would evaluate your proposal like a for-profit organization.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Sustainability is also an issue whereas sustainability is supposed to be one of the major actors of social entrepreneurship

Dunsin Fatuase: How about no provision of locally reserved funds to support local initiative.

Debiyi AJAYI: I think one of the major challenges is the suspicious and skeptical nature of the society we are. Recall I said earlier that we have all been brought up in a society where it’s survival of the fittest and every man for himself. So when a person creates a social enterprise, it’s is first of all viewed through those lenses of “why, what and how”.

I believe this is largely one of the factors that make sustainability hard when it comes to social enterprise in Nigeria. A lot of people are doing great stuff but when the environment and conditions aren’t favorable it takes a brave heart to continue and keep pushing. It can be a thankless job really but social enterprise reaps the larger part of its value in the social value it communicates.

Debiyi AJAYI: Even the structure for not for profit is largely skewed, to be honest.  Its registration is a more tedious, more expensive process (this just defies logic for me) and even so, there are very few opportunities for continued investment and support for social enterprise. Like someone said, even an investor will evaluate you as a for-profit business, whereas typically social enterprise would require a lot more time to balance itself out and break even.

Tony Joy: I also think one more challenge is the fact that social entrepreneurs work in isolation.

Precious Eniayekan: THIS IS APT !!!

Tony Joy: Let me add to this by saying, somehow we are beginning to have a popularity of passion and less of practical experience sharing. There is a truth that is not so popularized which is not everyone can be social entrepreneurs. We have people going into social entrepreneurship for so many other reasons other than creating impact. So I agree that there is a knowledge gap between what it all entails. Some of us have learned through experience that running a social enterprise is not just about social media beautiful storytelling but also facing practical day to day management issues.

The Moderator: From a lot that has been said, Developing a Sustainability Structure has been the major one. What do you think can be a solution for this?

Debiyi AJAYI: As a way forward I would suggest that there is a clearly developed framework for social enterprise in Nigeria with clear codes of conduct which would make it easier to decipher who is real and who’s fake and also make it easier for partnerships and collaborations across the board to even deliver better results.

Obianuju Asiodu: Accessibility, Collaboration and advocacy for concessions.

Tony Joy: One that I can readily think of is Collaboration for social change.

Dunsin Fatuase: Collaboration by far the most effective solution. Next to it is proper awareness. Many just jumped into Social Enterepurship. No background. Just plain passion without adequate knowledge. Next is to help our policymakers understand how these works. Maybe not all.. but those who care to know.

Obianuju Asiodu: we have various organizations working on the same societal problems in the same location. we need to put personal interests aside and pull efforts to scale impact

Precious Eniayekan: Yesssssss

Tony Joy: We also need more information sharing on best practices from successful social enterprises\

Inioluwa Odekunle: Training in business administration and a clear understanding of the business projections & figures. Passion cannot be sustained on its own.

Obianuju Asiodu: Everything becomes a “secret” once you label it “business or organization”. At the heart of social enterprises is passion and sometimes passion can be very misleading. so one lesson I learned was to put my passion aside when creating structures and to test ideas on a small scale before implementing.

Abimbola Akinsanya: Ability to learn, unlearn and relearn as we carry out of various projects. Tides keep changing, we need to keep ourselves informed. Further still collaboration is in the crux of this matter, we need to work together to achieve more. I can say that we achieved more at LAHAfrica when we identified individuals and organizations we can work with per time. Of course, the visions of the organization might align with ours to avoid any misunderstanding.

Debiyi Ajayi: Collaborating with other social enterprises for me is the biggest solution possible. Once we can come to a place where everyone is pulling their own resources i.e. Financial, manpower, strategy, and execution etc in the same direction I strongly believe in the ability of social enterprises to deliver even more

Dunsin Fatuase: I agree. But if this is left to run without proper guidance. I fear what the complexities will later become. No doubt that they will work. But again, how long will they run ? will they answer the question of sustainability?

The Moderator: We are approaching the last 8mins of our time. Some companies have used their CSR to develop social enterprises or do the jobs of a social enterprise. Should every business become a tool for social and economic change? 

Debiyi Ajayi: In a simplistic view of the question I would say yes. But if I were to take a more detailed approach I would say not really. As a corporate entity, one of the easiest ways to do effective CSR would be to actually adopt and to a large extent fund the initiatives of a social enterprise that aligns with your CSR goals.  Think about it, it still affords you almost all your usual needs as a corporate entity. You can track their progress made, monitor what and how the money disbursed is being used, get your tax write-offs as applicable and achieve all these while not over entering your staff on these activities.

Inioluwa Odekunle: The fact is that every business is a tool for social and economic change. When you look at it critically, businesses interact and affect the society and economy, through land use, employment, production, sales, branding, customer interface and so on. The question is are these positive or negative effects. The solution will be deliberate actions geared towards effecting positive changes (these will require closing some businesses that really bring no value but are just means of facilitating money and lining pockets).

Dunsin Fatuase: They should be, but the weakness with human want, Insatiable-greed. CSR has now become a tool to launder since there are some tax-evasions possible through this. Why that is on its increase. I think accountability of this CSR process from companies is al that matters after all.

Inioluwa Odekunle: Word.

Tony Joy: Our daily living which includes our businesses should be an avenue to solve problems and create a better future for our next generation. It is not about competition but about collaboration and various individual contribution to change, however, there needs to be an accountability system for our CSR system

Debiyi Ajayi: Like you said, proper guidance is the keyword. I referenced earlier the need for a clear framework of governance for the social enterprise. I’ve been made to understand over time that one of the reasons why it’s hard for a social enterprise to garner support is there is really no way to truly verify whether we are what we say we are.
If there was a governance framework, that would largely enable people to weed out the chaff and focus on the genuine ones.

Abimbola Akinsanya: I believe business are also solving one issue or the other, however with CSR being incorporated into their activities proper accountability should be put in place so it doesn’t become a tool to launder with creating any change.

Obianuju Asiodu: Yes, we are all tools for social and economic change on various levels n platforms. I can’t recall which company refers to theirs as Citizenship. I strongly believe that all organizations should be conscious of the impact of their products, services, policies, processes… on the society and economy. From my experience in the zero profit space, a lot of organizations CSR initiatives are all about “the numbers” and a few days fanfare.. good juice for the media that ends abruptly. This cannot be compared with the outcomes/scale of impact that social enterprises consciously achieve and work towards.

Debiyi Ajayi: So true…

Tony Joy: 👍🏼👍🏼 the focus is not on impact but on numbers

Abimbola Akinsanya: Without creating any change. The social media fanfare shouldn’t be the heart of the matter.

Obianuju Asiodu: These CSR initiatives are also good platforms for tax evasion so it’s not all “for the love of the society”.

Debiyi Ajayi I’ve pushed the idea over time that what most corporates today call CSR is actually only eye service really. A true impact can only come when their CSR objectives align with social needs and that would truly be actualized if they can partner with social enterprises.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Yes, I mean, Isn’t it to meet a need? Of which social and economic needs are very important in the rise of a nation.

The Moderator: Wow, Wow, Wow, Our time is up. But before we go, can everyone drop their last remark?

Tony Joy: 😭😭😟 I love it here😭

Dunsin Fatuase: Can we vote for an extension in time? Thank you all for the depth shared. Keep Saving the world.

Debiyi Ajayi: Looool. I would have supported this but I doubt if any length of time would be enough for a conversation this robust and we are limited by time, space and other commitments. 😊

Chisom Ogbumuo: That In our way, we should continue to strive for social impact and sustainability! Ps, I am having a Conversation cafe this Friday, 17th August. It would be lovely to have some of you around! Thank Y’all for an insightful evening.

Dunsin Fatuase: Structured or unstructured… It is far more glaring than our dear world needs more saviour. A “Saviour” in every genuine sense. Can we keep being that Saviour? Recognized or Not.

Tony Joy: Let’s do more as social enterprises to create change but while also doing this let’s remember that together we can do more. So more collaborations and not competitions. I enjoyed it here.

Debiyi Ajayi: I just want to encourage everyone here to seek opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge. The work will do is vital towards delivering the future and truly there is no one size fits all approach here. We must all share ideas, collaborate and largely do all that we can to further enhance the impact of our work out there.

The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, for participating. We loved every min of it.

Tony Joy: Thank you for being an amazing moderator.

Obianuju Asiodu: Thanks for having me. Enjoy the rest of your day

Abimbola Akinsanya: I enjoyed this conversation. Have a blessed week Guys

Inioluwa Odekunle: Thanks for having us.

Debiyi Ajayi: It’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you for the invite.

Chisom Ogbumuo: Thank you!

Tony Joy: It has been interesting sharing with you all and also learning from you. I am very open to collaborations.
Chisom Ogbumuo: Same here

Precious Eniayekan: Thank you for being an amazing host and nice meeting everyone.

The Moderator: This has been an amazing discussion and we would like to know what the members of your community think about the discussion. We ask that as soon as this conversation is curated, the link will be sent to each person and we would like you to share with your community and invite them to add to the discussions.

The Octagon Room 030: Sole Entrepreneurship: Roles, Challenges and Solutions.

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Tony Joy is a young Nigerian whose dream is to see a Nigeria where Rural doesn’t mean poor and marginalized but cool and creative. She is working daily on empowering rural communities to become self-sufficient through transforming their local waste into value. She does this through her social venture Durian (www.durian.org.ng). The organization currently works in Imafon community Akure Ondo State. She is a Kanthari Alumni, a LEAP SIP Fellow, an associate fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a Queens Young Leaders Award Highly Commended Runner-up amongst others. She is passionate about social change, waste management, and rural development.

 

With a background in Project Management and Management Consulting (Advisory),
Obianuju is currently the Manager, Health Programs at Special Olympics Nigeria (SO Nigeria).  She is an advocate for inclusion of one of the world’s most vulnerable populations i.e. People with Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDs) and responsible for the successful planning, delivery, and synergy of all SO Nigeria health programmes.  Obianuju enjoys traveling, reading books and trying out new recipes.
Chisom is the founder and Executive Director of The Conversation Cafe and United Nations Representative to the Youth Assembly. She has facilitated several delegations of Model United Nation conferences in Nigeria over the past six years. As well, represented Nigeria enormously & severally at delegations such as the annual UN Youth Assembly at the UN headquarters, Instagram, United States Mission To The United Nation among others. She is also a pivotal member of the United Nation Association of Nigeria.
Abimbola Akinsanya holds a bachelor of arts degree in language from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. She works as a relationship manager for a client relations company in Lagos and is also the founder of lending a hand for the development of Africa and Ngo that seeks to fill the void created by lack of access to education and health support and supplies experienced by children in poor families from local communities across Africa.
She is also an On-air personality and creative director for Japhix enterprise. In 2017 she was nominated by SME under 25 awards under the Social Entrepreneurship category. She is a member of the alumnus committee on training at her alma mats Inglewood Academy. She multitasks as a speaker, writer, and creative director.
Debiyi is an excellent public speaker, trainer, corporate event host & lawyer.  With cognitive experience in career enhancement coaching, SME advisory, public speaking etiquette training, and social entrepreneurship Debiyi have contributed towards the development of Nigerian Millennials by working with GEMSTONE, HOME ADVANTAGE AFRICA & THE STELLAR INITIATIVE amongst others. Having trained under some of Africa’s best names in the speaking & coaching space including Fela Durotoye, Jimi Tewe & Damilola Oluwatoyinbo, Debiyi has carved a niche for himself as an emerging voice in the speaking & coaching space. Debiyi is also the Curator of EQUIPPED, Nigeria’s first comprehensive, structured employability finishing school for FYBs & penultimate year students. A firm believer in dedication, smart work, excellence & determination.

Dunsin Fatuase is an Industry 4.0 Evangelist.
As a Socio-Exponential Entrepreneur, he leads the social-impact project to prepare 10,000 African youths for the 4th Industry Revolution as he helps organizations to be properly positioned in the digital space for opportunities.  He is the Director of Exponential Programs at the Curators University – A Nano-degree awarding and Africa’s first high impact university for mission-driven social entrepreneurs.

Precious Aderonke Eniayekan is a graduate of Computer Science from the Houdegbe North American University in Cotonou, Republique De Benin. She is also the founder and Lead Volunteer at The Stellar Initiative, a non-profit organization which over the past two years has done a lot of intensive work specifically geared towards the empowerment and education of teenagers on the principles required to live purposefully and create a success story out of their lives. Precious achieves this through The Stellar Initiative’s Revamp Conferences which have held consistently since its maiden edition in 2016 reaching over 700 teenagers in that time. Also, she reaches out to teenagers and young adults in rural areas through the Rural Revamp Project which began in 2017. She also leads and executes the “Reinforce” outreach project which is a welfare and appreciation outreach for uniformed officers which began in 2017 as well. Outside of her work Precious is a skilled video editor, a singer, and entrepreneur who runs her own fashion and lifestyle outfit, Sparkle Global. 

 

IniOluwa Odekunle is the Initiator and Founder of Planen Tekad Programme, a mentorship initiative geared towards raising the reading habits of children in public primary schools, encouraging creativity through talent discovery and management, and mentoring them all in the bid towards equipping them to live a purposeful life. He is also the co-founder of The Amber Circle a volunteer platform that connects volunteers with their area(s) of passion and also offers volunteer service to Charities and organizations involved in social works. Amber Circle volunteers number over 300 and are spread across the South West, South-South and North Central geopolitical regions in Nigeria. He is currently the Senior Project Manager for Social Enterprise for Africa Foundation, a social enterprise that exists to nurture and build the habit of giving and sharing within the community. Since May 2016, he has project managed over 20 community projects across Nigeria.

 

Is Personal Branding And PR A Neccessity For Political Aspirants?

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by The Moderator 1 Comment

The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room.

We are a platform of Trellis Group, aimed at cataloguing insightful conversations that can raise the level of thinking around specific subject matters and also kick-start solutions towards the problem of such matters. In the simplest terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.

Oladipupo (ladispeaks): I am Israel Oladipupo Ogunseye, knows widely as LadiSpeaks. I am the Marketing Manager of Transsnet Financials, a fintech startup in Lagos. I run the first pidgin based blog in Nigeria as well-known as PidginBlog.NG and I have keen interests in Politics.

Promise: My name is Promise Chima, a marketing communications expert and Project manager with one of Nigeria’s best Creative Consultancy agency.

Rhema: I am Tunde Rhema. I help hurting individuals recover, get balanced and live a fulfilling life.  A Behavioral Change Practitioner at SOBCA (Africa’s first certifying academy for Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence. Solution providers for Mental Health First Aid, SOBCA-MHFA.)

Muyiwa: Hello Everyone, my name is Muyiwa Babarinde. Is a Senior Communication Associate at Red Media Africa and I basically help brands to shake tables in the marketplace? I am extremely passionate about Marketing, Technology and Development.

Osaretin: Chief Osaretin. Graphic designer x Brand developer x Managing Partner, Jonathan Cole

Peter: I am Peter Kajovo. I am into Marketing Promotions and events.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): My name is Tosin Ajibade. Founder Olorisupergal brand, Media Entrepreneur, Convener of New Media Conference, Author.

The Moderator: My name is Gabriel BALOGUN I am the Project Manager Facilitation and Training at one of Nigeria’s best creative consultancy. I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation.

The Moderator: Great Introductions. Glad to e-meet you all. Now that we have fully been introduced, we have got 40 minutes left to discuss.

The Moderator: Branding is an art, a well-calculated game of positioning. In the business of politics, we have learnt that impression is one of the most underlying factors to success.

But in Nigeria where it’s citizens are more interested/drawn to the political party than the political aspirants. Do you think Personal Branding and PR is a Necessity for Political Aspirants?

The floor is open 😃, let’s begin to share our opinions. Anyone can start

Promise: Person branding and PR are terms which will always be included in politics globally and this didn’t start today. The ability to make yourself be seen in a certain way and also push for everyone to see you are likely to win you a position in the heart of your electorate and also the election.

Muyiwa: More than ever before, I feel personal branding and PR is extremely important for political aspirants, especially in a time when Nigerians are actively seeking the alternative to the crop of politicians who have repeatedly failed them.

Granted the two largest political parties wield a lot of influence between them, and for any outsider to gate crash their territory and win elections even under their noses, it is important to understand the need to have a holistic PR/Marketing approach.

A data-driven approach towards engaging the electorate. A personal brand that will gain the trust of Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religion.

Ultimately, a brand is a promise, a promise which everyone expects to be kept. In today’s evolving world, as the citizens become more interested in politics and as they ask more questions from political aspirants, a personal brand that displays elements of efficiency, effectiveness, vision will be more important than ever before.

Rhema: I’d like to focus on PR.  Political Aspirants can be referred to as people who are institutions, whose fragrance of personality affect others. They are people we believe can identify a gap (Problem and/or a need) and will proffer solutions. It’s essential for aspirants to know how to communicate a process to the general public as well as the stakeholders.  He or she must be spontaneous and speak the language of the people so as to gain their attention.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Personal Branding has been known to be a way in which people perceive an individual. Relating this to the Nigerian political landscape, Nigerians largely vote based on perception. Political aspirants or those who seek or desire a political office, it’s important that they carefully manage how people perceive their image and identity.

Rhema: PR goes beyond marketing to the general public that you will make free food available for the people. It goes beyond patronizing people that there will be power supply. The aforementioned are failed, consistent promises that smart people are tired of hearing.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): I feel personal branding is key for every candidate out there. We can’t ignore the fact it is important during campaigns and even in office.

The Moderator: Great responses. What exactly then is Personal Branding and Public Relations (PR)? What’s the difference?

Muyiwa: Personal Branding is the basically the act of creating a certain perception or image of an individual or group to an audience. It is the experience that people have when they encounter you.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): P.B is where individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. Personal Branding also builds self-confidence.

Peter: 👌👍

Muyiwa: I will use the example of a football club. Different teams have their own style of play: Barcelona plays flair-driven, possession & expansive football, a Stoke City for example however employs a more direct approach. Whenever you put on your TV and you see both teams playing, you can decipher which teams they are, due to the experience you expect from their brands.

Promise; P.B is simply a perception marketing strategy for everyone to see in a certain way.

Muyiwa: However, PR is an ongoing strategic communication process which you can use to build, create, improve, protect an individual or organization’s brand.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): I will add to this that in Politics, it is continuous.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): However, I would like to add that all activities that a political aspirant does to create, shape, manage his or her constituency’s image of him or her can be regarded as Public Relations activities.

Osaretin: Yes, you are right

Osaretin: This is true.

Osaretin: Personal Branding to me is creating and deploying a perception about an individual to people’s subconscious mind. That helps them make a decision about that person. That’s where I fell PR comes in.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): The importance of these two for a Political aspirant cannot be overly emphasized like I mentioned earlier. Take for an example, a Politician who is from the South Senatorial District in a state. The district has a reputation for producing absolutely reckless leaders. That aspirant is faced with one challenge already which is to correct this perception. Now the activities this aspirant will do to correct this would involve Public Relations activities, for example, visiting markets to relate with the citizens there, feeding the destitute etc.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Now this same person at these visits would need to exhume and create a personal brand at these occasions such that when people speak of this person as a brand, they can describe him or her with a word that he or she so desires.

The Moderator: We have seen a large introduction of young candidates since the not too young to run bill… Do they have a chance at winning especially with the right positioning and PR?

Osaretin: Oh yes they sure do.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): No and you know the truth

Osaretin: Why do you say so, ma’am?

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): They may not stand a chance.  I’ve used ‘may’ carefully because I believe that there are stakeholders in every society that you can appeal to with good PR and get them to support your ambitions even though you’re a young candidate.

Promise: It is a 70% and 30% possibility. The system is so flawed and will take a lot of education and sensitization for us to have people (electorate) vote for value. Let the PR and P.B continue and change will come.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): The truth that we are in a corrupt country and we know where all of this will end. It is between corrupt leaders who created parties just for themselves and then move from one party to the other and the same thing happen every 4 years just to stay/remain in power.

I salute those who came out to run and it’s not like I don’t believe in them but let’s be realistic here, are they not the same set of people ruling since Obasanjo’s regime? The new aspirants are trying but until our ‘forefathers’ leave then we will know that there is hope ‘in the near future’.

Rhema: They do have a chance but they can’t WIN if they still use the same approach displayed so far. Several flaws noticed even if they have good intentions. They can communicate better.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): To start with, people don’t believe in the NTYTR Bill and move and you’d need to convince Nigerians on the need for a new order. In fact, the African believes in the older politicians because we in Africa believe in old people have more wisdom which is a mental block for anyone planning to run as a youth against an older person.

Tosin (Olorisupergal) : A notion that needs to change here. Not all old people can rule and also have wisdom. See where they led us.

Osaretin: Yes.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Very true but sadly it’s a societal belief

Muyiwa: My take on this is that we don’t have to see it is a sprint but a marathon. Granted they stand a very slim chance of winning. However, we can all agree that elections all over the world over the past few years have not taken the direction people thought it would go

From Brexit, to Trump, to Macron, we have seen individuals who didn’t seem to be the leading candidate win elections, riding on the anti-establishment wave that has been spreading all over.

Osaretin: True

The Moderator: which do you think is more important for them P.B or PR.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): PR is more important even though both can be said to be equally important.

Tosin (Olorisupergal): PR is more important.  That is what the world wants to see. Personal Branding now becomes something you need to do over and over again ‘being conscious’ of your new title and all. PR is what the rest of the world wants to see. Why are we forgetting that communication is key in this context?

Promise: P.R gives you mileage while P.B gives you outlook, so P.R is more important.

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Which is where PR activities come in most especially for young candidates

Osaretin: Both are important.  Branding is a journey. if you wear black shoes today it would say something about you, like it or not.

The Moderator: As subject matter experts what advice can you give them as they may read this.

Muyiwa: For our new aspirants as well, even though victory might not come at the first trial, their participation is extremely important for the growth of the country’s democracy as it takes us closer to the leaders we want.

4 years ago, it would have been almost impossible for anyone to say the incumbent government with all their power and might would lose the election.

However, the electorate sent a very strong message that if you have good branding or PR or rode on the wings of some influential godfather to get into office, and you don’t perform, you will be booted out

Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Give yourself a positive Personal Brand. Draw up a PR Strategy that helps you connect with the people, position yourself as a plug between the old and the young and defines you as class away from other charlatans who are youths.

Muyiwa: For political aspirants who are looking to throw their hats into the ring. They must have a very strong communication strategy to sell their candidacy to various stakeholders. They must understand the power of data-driven marketing, they have to tie their plans to the pain points that hurt their constituency the most.

Most importantly they have to understand that they are fighting against the establishment. To win, they have to mobilize the English, and Yoruba, and Hausa, and Pidgin and Igbo languages and send it into electoral battle.

They have to tell a story that unites Nigerians, they have to paint a picture of the future they want to create, they have to show passion. True passion (the kind that can’t be faked). And they have to show that they are committed to Nigeria and Nigerians.

Promise: PR and PB is very important, more importantly, the education of the electorate is very important and should be taken seriously this is the only way change can happen.

Rhema:  Let them focus more on reaching out to people. Data collection and utilization is all they need right now. What if one of them speaks on Channels TV immediately after 10:00 pm news for 10 minutes in 7 days. This will cost them a lot but you can’t change a 10 years old Believe in 10 days. So let the young aspirants focus on this and speak less of the old aspirants.

I also think they should know about cultural intelligence. Let them speak the cultural language of the people. Let them understand the norms, values, and communication styles that runs deeply in the people they want to rule.

Engage Influential People in different sectors. Engage musicians who can generate 10Kviews in 20 minutes. Also, reply to some people’s posts on IG and other platforms. Make the public know you are listening to them.

Cultural intelligence does not require you know everything about ALL tribes. It requires that you adapt or respect your host community. More so, automate some responsibilities on your desks.

The Moderator: Wow!!!  Our time is up. This has to be the best conversation I have had on politics in a long time.

Thank you, everyone, for participating fully. Thank you for your time and for sharing valid points. Thank you for adding value.

The Moderator: Thanks Rhema for this loaded advice

Rhema: Thanks Gabriel and everyone. God bless our Nation.

Muyiwa: Thanks Gabriel for hosting us. PS: One final note. They have to build one tribe of Nigerians through their communication.

Promise: Thank you Gabriel for this panel.

Osaretin: You’re most welcome GB

Tosin (Olorisupergal): Thanks Gabriel

The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, once again. I am glad we all had this conversation.

The Octagon Room 029: Is Personal Branding and PR a Necessity for Political Aspirants?

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Osaretin is often described as eccentric, funny and witty. The Nigerian born food and photography lover is a graphic designer who is passionate about building brands, particularly in Nigeria.  He loves tech, venture capitalism, fashion, men’s grooming and travelling. He’s the managing partner for Jonathan Cole, a design and strategy company shaping cultures through design.

Tunde Rhema helps hurting individuals recover, obtain balance and live a fulfilling life. He is passionate about getting the world drunk on God’s love through his lifestyle and teachings. He has carved a niche for himself in Behavioural Science. He is a Licensed Emotional Intelligence Coach, a Faculty Member and the Director of Programs at SOBCA (Sam Obafemi Behavioral Change Academy) – Africa’s first certifying academy for Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence. Solution providers for Mental Health First Aid, SOBCA-MHFA. He is the author of the book, “365 Days of Affirmation” – a book that drives people to stay positive.

Muyiwa is a Senior Communication Associate at Red Media Africa where he works with brands to get
their messages through the clutter, engage with their audience, and maintain relationships with
stakeholders. Over the past few years, he has created communication strategies and worked with
brands including but not limited to: Facebook, Uber, Unilever, HP, Heineken, Union Bank, Access
Bank, Apple, British Council, Lipton, OMO, Pepsodent, CloseUp amongst others. He basically shakes
tables for brands in the marketplace. Muyiwa is extremely passionate about all things technology, marketing, national development and how these can be harnessed to positively transform communities.

Promise Chima is a seasoned marketing & communications professional with over 7 years of core client and agency experience. He has extensive knowledge in telling brand stories from a culture & tone of voice perspective.  Promise is driven by excellent service delivery & flawless execution to the utmost satisfaction of his clients and brand alike.
Israel Oladipupo Ogunseye popular known as LadiSpeaks is the Head Prefect at https://pidginblog.ng, currently living in Lagos, Nigeria. My interests range from marketing communications to public relations to digital advertising and Influencer Marketing. I am also interested in innovation, fintech startups and Politics.
Tosin Ajibade is an Online Media entrepreneur, Founder Olorisupergal brand,  Convener of New Media Conference, Author.
Peter Kajovo is Compere extrodnaire, Personal Brand, Marketing Promotions and Events expert.

Opinion ED: Does The Nigeria Society Hate Women?

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

This article was written BY WILFRED OKICHE 

Misogyny unlimited…

When president Muhammadu Buhari’s visited Germany in October 2016, like many Nigerians who voted for Buhari in 2015, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari about a year into his presidency, found herself unimpressed. The Buhari presidency had admittedly arrived with lofty expectations but the man at the centre made it his business to dash every single one of them. Unlike most Nigerians, Aisha Buhari was in a position to speak out and when she did, she was unsparing.

The presidency must have been embarrassed by Aisha Buhari’s public approach to criticism and Buhari chose a moment when he was on the world stage to put his wife in her place. Responding to a query by a foreign journalist, Buhari offered a thorough dismissal of his wife, who was constantly at his side while he was on the campaign trail.

According to President Buhari, the first lady isn’t a card-carrying member of the political party, and thus had no reason to meddle in the very masculine world of hardcore politics. He then went on to utter the ugly words that would forever define him in terms of gender relations. “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Buhari threw up while sitting next to the all-powerful and very female German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

There are many Nigerians who were embarrassed by Buhari’s outburst, and they should be. Not simply because it happened on foreign soil. Even though that was bad enough, it should worry Nigerians more that instead of choosing to engage with his life partner mentally and politically as an equal, instead of granting her the respect she deserves by virtue of her being a human person, the President chose to sink into the sewer of assuming that on account of her gender, Aisha has no right to weigh in such manly matters as politics.

In Buhari’s world, Aisha is merely a nuisance to be tolerated during election period as she smiles for the cameras and poses merrily with Akara sellers. Having an opinion of her own, let alone one contrary to the party line, decided upon by a roomful of men must be considered radical and retribution handed swiftly. In simple terms, women must never be encouraged to speak out of turn.

In March 2017, Nollywood actress and producer, Rita Dominic, a veteran of over fifteen years, a majority of them spent as a top-flight movie star, took the occasion of the release of her latest film, Bound, to advice that not all films should be screened in cinemas. The statement, put out via an innocuous enough Instagram post, was at once, rebuke and indictment. Her comments didn’t go down well, especially among those who considered themselves ‘’movers and shakers’’ of the industry.

The reactions to Ms Dominic’s post were not surprising. Nollywood, after all, is an industry not known to take well to criticism. But the response of film producer, Don Pedro Obaseki who made Igodo back in 1999 and hasn’t mattered in a long, long, time took the misogyny to another level. Brandishing his PhD, Obaseki thought it fitting to put Dominic in a place he considered hers. Obaseki reminded Dominic of her days as a struggling artiste ‘’roaming from one set to the other’’ and advised her to take a lesson in humility.

The irony was stark and reflective of a larger problem that even successful women are forced to contend with. That a filmmaker who hasn’t scored a hit in years considers himself superior to an in-demand actress just because they crossed paths at the early stages of her career. It didn’t matter that the actress has since gone on to co-star and produce her own film, the critically acclaimed The Meeting in the years since both last made contact.

It also didn’t occur to Obaseki in his rush to shame, and with his intent to punish, that Dominic like most contributors to a functional society, could actually take pride in her humble beginnings. A woman could be beautiful, wealthy, successful, and the average man still considers himself superior just because he is a man.

God help us all. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to redress all the assault that constantly targets women in Nigeria, what are the actionable steps we think can be done?

Do you agree with Wilfred’s points? Do you agree that the Nigeria society hates women?

Kindly share your opinions in the comments.

Opinion ED: The Solution To Nigeria’s Perishing Educational System

Posted on: May 4th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

Every creature is intelligent but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. It will live its whole life believing that it is stupid

The Nigerian educational system has been a thing of beauty especially during the era of our nascent republic. The crop of young leaders and their contemporaries that lived during that era possessed high levels of thinking, communication skills and articulate strategies for charting a new course for history.

Men of the older generation including; Bishop Ajayi Crowther, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and so on were all part and parcel of the full package of that kind of education.

 THE STEADY DECLINE OF EDUCATION

Somewhere during the late 90’s onwards, it was common knowledge that the standard of Nigerian education has fallen, based on the records of WAEC/NECO/JSCE/National common entrance., we have witnessed a steady downward slide in students’ performance in examinations, and several other important areas including confidence, articulation & leadership qualities.

A major reason for the decline in Nigeria’s Education System is her decision not to evolve with the fast-paced educational change the world is experiencing. The curriculum is still the way that it is. The standard was great for preparing students for the 80s but not quite for millennials and definitely not the future.

Another is the effect of brain drain, as the best of our academicians are all over the world. Brilliant professors have relocated overseas and the best of their efforts are over there instead of it being dedicated to our nation.

Increased unemployment factor is another pending issue because due to it, many people have resulted in teaching. These persons have little or no passion for the job, hence you can hardly blame them for going the extra mile. This affects the way they teach which affects what students know and of course their performance in the external examinations. Due to their inexperience, they don’t realize that everyone learns using a variety of learning styles but one learning style is usually predominant in everyone.

THE WAY FORWARD

Often times, we are blinded by the fact that we humans, all share same physical characteristics – Hands, Legs. Etc. We don’t appreciate and accommodate the differences in us. People have different learning capacities; people have different potentials. We can’t impose what we feel on students. We can’t continue to teach them what to think but rather how to think.

The simple antidote to these issues is that the Nigeria Educational System needs to restructure how Nigerians see education and empower her students effectively with life skills. The absolute most important tool for any child is ‘creativity’, students need to be taught the way to learn; explore their minds, trained to be thinkers, encourage innovations and entrepreneurial skills

Learning is the transformative process of taking in information that—when internalized and mixed with experienced, changes what we know and builds on what we do. Education, on the other hand, is the process of facilitating learning.

Due to the Complexity of the human brain, every individual is unique which proves that the process of learning will differ. Research has proven that humans basically learn using four learning styles, which are:

  1. The visual
  2. The auditory
  3. The read-write
  4. The kinesthetic

Understanding these learning styles and infusing them with the uniqueness of each child is what creates the best learning experience. The usage of these teaching techniques will make students see education as a tool that will give them an edge in life rather than a means to getting “paper” (certificate).

Finally, worthy people should be making the decisions about education especially the curriculums. These people should actually be in the system, be attending classes, be experiencing situations first hand. Not people who haven’t seen the four wall of the classroom since their graduation.

The Nigeria Educational System should focus on creating – A BUILDING OF FOURS WITH TOMORROW INSIDE.

Opinion ED: Why The Nigerian Youths Are Not Ready to Run for Office

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

This article was written by CHINEDU GEORGE NNAWETANMA

 

The 2019 Nigerian general election is less than a year away and preparations are predictably in top gear for the country’s fifth democratic transition since its return to civilian leadership in 1999. The atmosphere is politically charged and pre-electioneering buzz has taken over the print, broadcast and social media.

Among the issues on the front burner of conversations across the country is the role of the youth in Nigerian politics or, more specifically, the need to integrate the youth into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. The youth (persons between the ages of 18 and 35) make up about 30% of Nigeria’s population, but occupy a negligible fraction of its elected offices.

On the 26th of July, 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, a historic move that will lower the ages of candidacy for the presidency from 40 to 35, the House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and the state houses of assembly from 30 to 25.

On February 15, 2018, it crossed the constitutional threshold of an endorsement by two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 state assemblies and it is now expected to be signed into law by the President in time for the 2019 polls, thereby creating an avenue for more youth to vie for elected offices in a political space that has been dominated by the older generations in recent times.

The youth have not always been on the periphery of Nigeria’s political landscape. In fact, Nigeria’s independence from Britain was won by the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Obafemi Awolowo and Anthony Enahoro who utilized their youthful exuberance to agitate for Nigeria’s emancipation from colonial exploitation in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Upon this independence, youths were immediately propelled into political leadership positions across the country. Remarkably, Mathew Mbu, Mbazulike Amechi, Maitama Sule and Shehu Shagari became cabinet ministers in their 20s and 30s.

Nigeria’s first democratic experience would be brutally cut short by a military coup d’état in 1966, but even that ushered in 6 (out of a total of 8) military juntas that were led by generals in their 30s and early 40s. However, the marginalization of the youth in Nigeria’s political space can be traced to this era of military rule.

It is for this reason that the youth are often called upon to assume the mantle of leadership. It is believed that they possess the innovation, radicalism, and virility needed to transform Nigeria from its state of despondency to accelerated and sustainable development.

But, with the imminent amendment of the Constitution to accommodate the recommendations of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill – which will make all elected offices in Nigeria accessible to the youth – are they really ready for this responsibility? Do they possess the resources needed to wrestle power from the old guard?

I have no atom of doubt that there are capable, well-experienced and eminently qualified youths across Nigeria who can embrace this responsibility and provide the country with the digital leadership that it has so sorely lacked. What worries me is that there are so few of them.

For starters, a great deal of the youth in the country are not interested in politics. They are not politically conscious. They know next to nothing about Nigeria’s political terrain or its history or the recent developments therein and would rather talk about football, showbiz or fashion than engage in meaningful politics-themed conversations or make sense of economic indicators like the GDP, inflation rate, and interest rate. I daresay that the number of youths who will watch Nigeria vs. Argentina match at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia will be far greater than the number of those who will turn out to vote in the 2019 Presidential Election.

Out of the few Nigerian youths who are politically conscious, many of them are inexperienced, ill-equipped and unprepared for political leadership. On the one hand are those who see politics as a livelihood and a fast track to financial security. They are ready to toe the established line, kowtow to the kingmakers and propagate the status quo. When in power, they will be no different from the present ruling class. On the other hand are those who are genuinely interested in utilizing politics as a vehicle for creating positive change and rendering selfless service, but lack the requisite experience and skill sets to make a meaningful impact in government.

Out of the very few Nigerian youths who are adequately experienced and prepared for leadership, many lack the wherewithal to muscle out the moneyed older politicians, who have looted the country’s treasury dry, and their cronies. While the Not Too Young To Run bill addresses the age barrier to running for elected offices in Nigeria, it does not address the financial barrier.

Electioneering all over the world is an expensive venture. In Nigeria, the nomination forms for the presidency, governorship, Senate and House of Representatives are sold for 10 million, 5 million, 2 million and 1 million naira respectively, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) estimates that political parties in the country spent about ₦11.65 billion on traceable media and other related expenses in the 2015 elections.

By contrast, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a December 22, 2017 report, revealed that the combined youth unemployment and underemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 52.65%. Due to the dire economic state of the country, most youths are still struggling to find their feet professionally and financially, make ends meet and take care of basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter. How then can they run for election without soliciting the sponsorship of wealthy individuals with vested interests or the same crooked older politicians that they are so eager to dislodge?

This captures the predicament of the youth in Nigerian politics. The Not Too Young To Run bill may be on its way to becoming a law, but it is not yet Uhuru for the youth in Nigeria’s inhibiting political space. However, it is a huge step in the right direction that must be optimized.

Firstly effort should be made to conscientize the Nigerian youth so that they can become more interested in politics, gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic terrains of the country, demand good governance and accountability from their leaders at all times and participate actively and effectively in the democratic process. This will harness the power of the youth and make them a powerful, active bloc in Nigerian politics.

Secondly, the youth should avail themselves of opportunities that will build their capacity and enhance their leadership exposure. Among other things, they should explore leadership training, mentorship, an internship at public sector and civil society organizations, volunteerism, community development, and entrepreneurship.

Thirdly, pro-youth and pro-democracy civil society organizations (CSOs) should coalesce around and mobilize financial support for credible young aspirants in a bid to help them surmount the financial hurdle of running for office in Nigeria.

Finally, young aspirants must endeavor to embed themselves in their local communities. They must be visible at the grassroots level and not just on Facebook and Twitter. The power of the social media cannot be overemphasized, but it can only go so far if it doesn’t engage the grassroots. Less than half of Nigeria’s population use the internet and even far less are reasonably active on the social media. Consequently, young aspirants must make their campaigns visible on the ground as well as virtually.

Can you share your thoughts? we would love to hear from you

Medical tourism: Why most people prefer to travel abroad for medical check-up and treatment.

Posted on: April 9th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Welcome to the Octagon. Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

Dr Lanre: Good evening all, I’m Lanre, a doctor in Lagos working in HIV/AIDS programming.

Dr Temide: Hello everyone. I’m Dr Temi. I work in health promotion and improving health awareness. It’s good to be here today.

Dr Elizabeth: Good day. I am Elizabeth. I am involved in health education and promotion.

Dr Opeyemi: I’m Ope Owoseni, a physician with special interest in gastroenterology/hepatology

Dr Ayo: I am Ayo, I am a Plastic Surgeon

Dr James: I’m called Osareme. I’m a Medical Officer in Lagos.

Dr Grace: I’m Dr Ikpa Grace, a medical doctor with interest in health management.

Dr Modele: I am Lanre Modele a care coordinator at Hygeia HMO.

The Octagon: Welcome once again, we’ll begin right about now.

The Octagon: Nigeria has 87,000 doctors registered with the Nigerian Medical Association, out of this number 35,000 registered doctors actively practice in the country, this leaves 52000 registered doctors that are unaccounted for. Of the 35,000 registered doctors actively practicing in the country, 24500 practice in urban areas where only 57.7m of the populace lives, while the remaining 10500 practice in the rural area where 153.8m of the populace live. The standard Physician – Patient ratio endorsed by WHO is 1:600, however the above statistics gives a Physician – Patient ratio of 1:2353 in urban areas, while the Physician – Patient ratio in rural areas is 1:14647. In order to attain the WHO standard Nigeria needs an extra 285,345 doctors to make 320,345 doctors to match the ratio of 1:600.

This is both physically as well as numerically overwhelming.

In speaking numerically, let’s look at the financial angle; Nigeria’s 2017 budget allocated a paltry N304b to the health sector representing about  4.3%  contrary to the recommended 15 percent by African Union countries in the 2001 Abuja declaration which commits member nations to improve national health budgets.

In a NOI poll as published by Nigeria health watch some top factors contributing to Doctor’s migrating to foreign countries include huge knowledge gap and low work satisfaction. Countries migrated to in descending order include: Britain, United States of America, Canada, Saudi Arabia and so on. This depletion in work force as evident by the statistics is just one of the many factors that contribute to medical tourism.

 In your own opinion, what are the pressing factors that contribute to people traveling beyond the shores for medical care?

Dr Elizabeth: Poor job satisfaction in terms of salary and facilities available.

Dr Temide: As you rightly mentioned, there are many factors. People seek healthcare abroad because they don’t have information on health services available here in Nigeria. They wind up spending much more than it would cost to treat them locally.

Dr Lanre: Poor infrastructure in most hospitals, long waiting time in public health institutions due to the doctor to patient ratio already mentioned above and an overall loss of confidence in the average Nigerian doctor by some of our elite Nigerians.

Dr Elizabeth: Poorly implemented health policies

Dr Temide: And in some instances, it is simply because they can afford to. Many people believe that Nigerian healthcare professionals are negligent or incapable of managing their health. And because they have the money or are in official positions, they would take what seems to be the safer option. We cannot also deny the poor infrastructure in many government health facilities.

Dr Lanre: It would cost them a lot more, but they get convenience after spending this money often times. Which is occasionally lacking in our current health system.

The Octagon: Could you expand a bit more on this?

Dr Temide: I agree. But sometimes this convenience can be quite expensive. Not only pocket wise, but also health wise. Some of these countries we patronize have medical laws different from ours. And some of the specialists patronized don’t actually give the best care.

Dr Opeyemi: I believe its many things. Inadequate information on the available health care, unavailability of quite a number of services and when available, they are scattered all over the country. CT scan in Oshodi, MRI at Lekki, endoscopy in Surulere, etc. Also the behaviour of hospital staff leaves a lot to be desired. They may be overworked, poorly treated and hence couldn’t care less about good customer service. In addition, I also think traveling abroad is a status symbol, and some people would rather their health status remain secret, which they may not get here.

Dr Lanre: Our health system hasn’t been given the room to develop as it should because of poor financing from both the public and private sectors.  Even our health insurance system that was supposed to bail us out, has been looted and the average HMO client at a hospital isn’t given optimal services. If this client could afford to go abroad next time, I believe he/she would.

The Octagon: As mentioned above, infrastructure plays a big role in the migration for medical reasons. However, do you think that we can maximize what we currently have and the medical personnel who are being unaccounted for?

Dr Ayo: Well the health care personnel are also under skilled

Dr Lanre: I believe to large extent a number of doctors and patients are still around maximizing what we have currently. No matter how good the system abroad is not everyone can run to assess it. So we can only still try to give our best to the system as we remain here.

Dr Elizabeth: You’re right. Many people are ignorant about the level of expertise of health professionals in Nigeria. Those that are aware lack trust. The average patient that has some form of health insurance cannot be given optimal care because the hospital will want to cut cost in order to make profit

Dr Ayo: The hospitals are also poorly equipped, management is also very poor. Seriously hospital management is one of the worst management I have seen in Nigeria.

Dr Temide: Infrastructure does largely impact our health system in Nigeria, but we can maximize what we have. First we have to value it. We have to value our healthcare workers. Better remuneration, improved working conditions and hiring more staff would go a long way to keep health professionals here and maybe bring some back home.

Dr Temide: Second, we need better health policies that provide for health access for every Nigeria as well as better health facilities. In my opinion, things are this bad because most Nigerians don’t understand that access to healthcare is a basic right. And this happens because they’re largely uneducated. A large number of Nigerians are uneducated!

Dr Temide: Third, we need policies that support the growth of private healthcare businesses. If we viewed healthcare as a potential GDP-raising industry, we would be more inclined to invest in it. Nigeria can also be a destination for medical tourists

Dr Lanre: I totally agree!

Dr Grace: Sometimes though, medical tourism is due to greed on the part of doctors. A typical scenario – most medical tourist reps from India pay incentives to doctors who refer patients to their facilities and it’s usually a percentage of the total sum the patient is expected to pay. Now assuming a patient needs a surgery that can be successfully done by a neurosurgeon at Luth (at a different rate in private wing if the patient prefers), but encounters a doctor elsewhere who has such a partnership agreement, he’d end up in India spending more when he could have spent less.

Dr Lanre: Interesting!  Never knew this was happening.

Dr Temide: This would happen. More people would have heard of surgeries in India than of a good neurosurgeon in Nigeria.

Dr Opeyemi: I’m not so sure about that. Going to India may actually be cheaper the way things are now. He may need serial brain imagining that has to be done outside LUTH because the machines are epileptic. An ambulance has to be paid for. Relatives have to be on ground to run around, accommodation for these relatives, drugs may not be readily available etc.

Dr Lanre: This is true and there’s still that ever growing aspect of medical tourism: “The USA baby boomers,” Who are not really scared of delivering in Nigeria but just want citizenship status for their babies, now that goes a long way beyond what any medical practitioner can correct.

Dr Grace: True

Dr Elizabeth: This happens because the country is a mess. A citizen of a developed country like UK will care less about citizenship of U.S.  Nigeria is in a mess and both the masses need to focus on restructuring every aspect of the country.

Dr Elizabeth: I also think a form public-private partnership system in the health sector can solve some of the problems being encountered in the teaching hospitals. Nobody cares because it is government service. The management could as well wreck it to the ground because there is little or no reprimand.

Dr Temide: I believe this is because there is greater access to this kind of information – medical care in India and the likes- online. Generally, in Nigeria’s health industry, digital marketing is underutilized. And this can be traced to the laws restricting health professionals from advertising their services.

The Octagon: In what way can appropriate information be adequately dispersed to shore up the currently available medical services in the country?

Dr Grace: Recently the minister of health in punch newspaper said that Nigeria needs to train more doctors and build Primary Health Centres for them to work as the total number is grossly inadequate. He obviously failed to account for the underemployed and/owed doctors in the private sector.

Dr Elizabeth: Health care can only become a GDP-raising industry if it is invested in. It is a long term beneficial industry. However, remember that most people will rather invest in a venture that will yield maximal profit in a short term.

Dr Opeyemi: True

 Dr Grace: There should be a campaign to review the law banning advertising by doctors/hospitals. That’s one important factor to blame for widespread ignorance.

Dr Elizabeth: Health should be looked at from the angle of long term benefit. Government should be ready to spend. People should be held accountable for the rot in the system and only doctors with proven managerial skills should be allowed to head hospitals.

Dr Grace: Emphasis on proven managerial skills. Running around in hospitals is another reason people who can afford to travel abroad do so.

 Dr Elizabeth: That is due to the way the hospital is set up and poor management. If it was a private hospital, I doubt the owner will leave clients to run around helplessly.

Dr Temide: Thank you for this question. I believe strongly in preventive medicine. There’s not enough health information out there for people to use. We need to invest in this. It’ll make healthcare less expensive in the long term.

Dr Lanre: That law banning advertisements really needs to be dropped, because there’s still a great deal of ignorance about Healthcare systems generally in Nigeria and only by access to this information can the average patient know it exists. Even the TBAs and herbal homes advertise and take away some of our clients

Dr Temide: I always feel pained when I listen to herbal homes advertising their own type of care/products which can be quite dangerous to the vulnerable public.

Dr Opeyemi: That’s good, but when there is a disease, you need treatment. Most people don’t travel for preventive health care.

Dr Elizabeth: Everyone involved in the health sector should be involved in raising and promoting awareness about available expertise and facilities as regards health practice locally. We also need to gain the trust of Nigerians because the average Nigerian lack basic trust in the country’s health sector

Dr Temide: We can also consider having an accessible database on medical professionals in Nigeria, where they consult and how to access them.

The Octagon: Governments around the world understand the need to be deliberate about advancing their economies. What in your opinion are the things that these countries are doing to ensure that people from around the world come for medical treatment and check-ups?

Dr Elizabeth: These countries have solid health policies that are being implemented. There is massive investment in the health sector with good remuneration for health workers.

Dr Temide: These countries make it easier for people to enter them for medical care. For example, India has a medical tourism visa.

Dr Opeyemi: They have invested in training personnel and advertising their services and facilities.

Dr Elizabeth: The health sector is also being promoted via advertisement with promises being made and fulfilled.

Dr Lanre: They constantly advertise their health parks and healthcare cities. A planned health park in Lagos could help reduce medical tourism.

Dr Temide: These countries have been able to retain their healthcare professionals with good remunerations and better working conditions. This is one reason why professionals from less developed countries migrate to these places

Dr Elizabeth: Take the UAE health care for example. If you have seen the advertisement of her health system, it is really inviting. That is the power of advertisement. Of course you never get to see the slums and the less inviting parts. That is because they have taken charge of how their country should be portrayed.

Dr Lanre: Everything about UAE is inviting!

Dr Elizabeth: The laws in banning advertisement should be modified. Meanwhile, we all that are involved in the health sector can find a way around this by massively promoting the health sector on social media. But then, can we do this when the workers are still fighting for good working condition and payment of salary.

The Octagon: In parting, could you share what you believe are the ways to change/solve the current situation?

Dr Elizabeth: Formation and implementation of strong health policies, massive investment in the health sector will go a long way in changing the current situation.

Dr Lanre: Be as professional as we can when we have the opportunity and to educate every patient appropriately so they return to see a doctor. Pushing for proper health insurance legislation and health advertising. Always keeping at the back of our minds not to be like our current leaders when we attain their positions, because if we don’t have the right hearts and minds in these positions we’ll keep frustrating the sincere few who want to improve the health system in Nigeria.

Dr Opeyemi: Adequate funding, including facilities, training, and remuneration; good and achievable health policies and implementation, good health management.

Dr Temide: We need to invest in health. We need to advocate for universal health coverage. We need to provide better remuneration. We need to train more healthcare workers. We need to portray our healthcare system in a positive light. We need to improve the quality of care available. We need to support the development of private healthcare businesses. We need better management. There’s a lot to be done.

Dr Grace: For health workers, we need adequate training (to a level that enables us compete with our counterparts worldwide), conducive working environment with the required facilities, good and regular remuneration. Also retraining on communication and interaction with patients and their relatives. While for the public, we need to educate them and regain their confidence.

The Octagon: Thank you all for participating in this discussion.

Having a better brand is better than having a better product

Posted on: November 22nd, 2017 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Hi Guys, Please introduce yourselves.

Eugene: Hi guys. My name is Eugene. I’m a Creative Director for Gr8an, A Trellis Group Company. I’m an avid consumer of Speculative Fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, with an unhealthy obsession for time management and process optimization. I read, write and design. Nice to meet you.

Adaora M.D: I’m Adaora MD – Creative Industrialist and Dreamterpreter. Undercover Singer/Songwriter/Rapper. Very very undercover. Passionate about People and Purpose.

Akinlabi: Hi, I am Akinlabi Akinbulumo, but you can call me the Phisha. My most prized possession is a hook because with it I am able to fish all that I need and win all whom I need.

Damola: Hello, I’m Damola Adepetun, a project manager, an underground pencil artist whose alter ego is called Darmani. I’m passionate about helping solve problems, especially for people who are looking for direction and purpose. Also avid Manchester United fan.

Dele: Hi, I’m Dele Anjorin. A juggernaut for anything that ignites a happy soul. Wear a smile and you get me!

Valentine: Hi, I am Valentine. You can call me Val for short. A communication expert, an avid people’s person, I like to relate with people’s mind to get the best thought from them. My mind is my most prized asset.

Tomisin: Hello guys. I’m Tomisin…prefer to be spelt as “Tomisyn”. An Art Director for Gr8an, A Trellis Group Company. Low-key painter, Jazz lover. Inspired by little things.

The Octagon: Awesome introductions. We’ve got 52minutes. I’ll be moderating the conversation. However, we will just let it flow naturally. There’s no right or wrong, just opinions. Our topic for today is; “Having a Better Brand is Better than having a Better product.” Discuss.

Valentine: I will liken a brand to a hen and the product as its egg… the quality of the brand is revealed in the kind of product it delivers. If your brand is good it is revealed by the product you deliver.

Adaora M.D: In my opinion, the ideal thing would be to have both. But If I had to choose, I’d pick having a better brand. No doubt the product is super important, in fact it is crucial to the Brand Perception. However, it is not the only variable that determines brand position.

Akinlabi: I totally agree with the statement simply because I have come to learn that people buy into extensions of themselves. They buy into or buy things that better enhance their personal stories and journeys. This means that your promise is defined first and that any product you develop only ensures that you keep that promise.

Damola: I’m going to go a bit left and pick having the better product over a better brand. The reasoning is that, having the better product ensures you deliver on your brand promise every time.

Eugene: Hmmm. I wouldn’t necessarily say that having a better brand is better than a good product because in the end if the product is subpar it will reflect on the brand, however, a good brand allows you to get away with a less than good product… For a while.

Adaora M.D: What if you have a good product and bad customer service?

Dele: I’d go with having a good brand is better than having a good product. There are different variables here.  Because a fruit is bad doesn’t mean the tree isn’t good.

Adaora M.D: I understand your reasoning. However, let me ask a Question. Is Nike a Better product than Reebok or Adidas?

Akinlabi: I disagree. A good brand will ensure you have a good product. And a good product isn’t about having the best specifications. It is about meeting the people’s needs. It is about understanding who you exist for and what you can develop to help them be themselves more.

Valentine: Some people have promise they intentionally created and some have promise they don’t know they accrued due to poor structure. If a brand seeks to have a good product without the need to build on a proper structure they inevitably create a stigma-like promise.

Tomisin: I think a better brand would stand the test of time but the product might not if it doesn’t reflect the brand promise.

Eugene: I think a lot of people are under the perception that brand translates to product and vice-versa. While a product might be under a brand, a brand is not necessarily limited to its product.

Dele: A product is sure a reflection of the brand promise. But it doesn’t sum up the totality of the brand

Adaora M.D: I think the term “better product” is relative to the perception of the person consuming the product. E.g. We have probably all tasted various types of Chocolates that are amazing, but somehow Cadbury stays top of mind In their market. Same with Coca Cola, they all taste the same really, but Coca Cola has managed to keep majority of the market share.

Akinlabi: True!

Dele: I agree

Damola: Ok let’s assume the customer service isn’t great, for context I’ll use Nigerian eateries for instance, if the good products meets the need of the person, with albeit subpar customer service satisfaction from having a consistently good product can over ride having a great message but having to apologize for products that don’t work most of the time. My case in point is Dominos vs Debonairs. Dominos has a way stronger brand here but Debonairs is just better pizza. People would forget a customer service scuffle for an amazing slice. I’m also assuming the product involves delivery and other components as well as being “better” not just the client facing.

Adaora M.D: Personally, I don’t think Nike has the better product. However, they have a Solid brand and have built a perception in the mind of consumers that they are the better product

Akinlabi: THIS!

Eugene: Better would be a very subjective term with regards products among the brands you’ve mentioned. Who determines what “better” is. Or rather what is the criteria for measuring better?

Adaora M.D: Exactly. It’s all down to perception ala Brand

Eugene: Yeah, that’s what I mean. Subjective.

Dele: Better is relative. So is luxury

Valentine: A brand may not be limited to its product but it shapes the mind of its customers towards it. We must understand that the product is a voice which the brand uses to communicates its promises to its consumers.

Adaora M.D: Valid Point Damola. Very Valid

Akinlabi: This is a great example. But I don’t think that dominos has a stronger brand. What they might have is a stronger Brand presence which comes from their awareness campaigns and locations.

Tomisin: It’s all about what the customer perceives the brand to be, not what the brand says it is.

Damola: However while they have a stronger brand they also have a good product which is at par or not too far off from their competitors. Cases where the disparity between the brand and the product are too wide wouldn’t stand the test of time. Ultimately the product would have to be changed to save the brand. Same with Nike

Adaora M.D: Hahahhaa. Love this. It reminds me of when a Client says, “Your fee is expensive”. A fee that other people pay without blinking.  The fee isn’t expensive, the client just can’t afford it. 2 separate things.

Damola: A case in point was how Nike needed the air Jordan 3 shoes, with Jordan’s performance that night to save the brand. According to the Tinker man anyway.

Tomisin: It’s all about brand presence and promise

Damola: So how do you fulfil the promise without the product or good service at least?

Adaora M.D: Absolutely, but here’s the thing. The reason the company still had any strength in the market post the product failure is because of Their Brand.  Their market knew they would bounce back, or at least expected it.

Damola: Hmm okay so the better brand is a necessary buffer to allow the product to be improved but only a better product is not enough collateral?

Eugene: So basically, the brand is the foundation. The products and services are the bricks that build the house. If the foundation is solid, even in the worst conditions, the majority of the structure stays intact. And if it doesn’t, you don’t have to start from scratch.

Adaora M.D: THIS! Awesome Analogy. I most definitely think Product is super important. Saying its unimportant is pretty much saying, Death to Value Creation. And I’m a huge proponent of Value. But I don’t think a Product can be successful in isolation of the brand. As Akinlabi said, People definitely buy into people.

Eugene: I’m thinking the same thing.

Adaora M.D: You can have 3 people selling the same quality product in the market, eg. Tomato Sellers. But you’ll always go to your “Customer” because they are doing something different. Even though they’re all selling the same Tomatoes o.

Damola: Haha this is where you have a strong point. There’s brand trust even if the others may be better

Dele: “Water” is one of the best brands in the world. It gives life. But that doesn’t mean you drink all. And it still doesn’t negate the fact that it’s acceptable globally.

Tomisin: The perception of a product to a consumer is determined by how the brand has decided to “package” the durability, usage and excellence of the brand product for the consumer to naturally enjoy. If they (the brand) fail in that aspect, it would be difficult to prove a point meanwhile another competing brand is already there to steal the show with a better perception creation.

Adaora M.D: Ok. Let’s diversify the convo a bit.  Question for you guys. Using the tomato seller scenario I just shared….How do you guys personally pick who you buy from?

Eugene: It’s a tightrope walk!

Damola: What if the product isn’t sorted and the better brand perception loses out

Eugene: Product and service. I might suffer a bad fruit for a friendly seller. Within reason of course

Dele: Trust.

Akinlabi: True

Adaora M.D: How about Price? Would you let your pocket suffer for a brand you trust? E.g. If your customers price is higher than his competitors? Would you still patronize him?

Damola: There’s a strong trust component here but it’s finite. While I trust my electrician, or tomato seller. I have a finite amount of times when I get disappointed I seek better service or product from somewhere else.

Tomisin: Ahhh. Lol. If I’m certain about the product’s durability, surely I will.

Adaora M.D: Disclaimer: I’m using the term Customer here…the Nigerian way o. It’s actually Seller

Damola: Certainly not in all cases – if my relationship can’t sway him to bring his price down and there’s a competitor offering the same level or lower price, I’m switching.

Dele: If the service is top-notch why not.

Valentine: I generally would move towards a cheaper product.

Damola: I’m not the most loyal customer though.

Akinlabi: Relationship!!!!!!!!!

Damola: Isn’t service part of the product? Or are we calling that brand as well.

Akinlabi: I would place delivery….service as part of the brand.

Valentine: I like cheap things sha.

Dele: Lol

Akinlabi: After the first purchase…. we make a connection that I don’t want to lose or change

Eugene: Sometimes, yes. There are products I’d rather have no doubts about regardless of the price.

Adaora M.D: Hmmm. Interesting. Personally, I won’t switch to someone I cannot trust. Would rather stay with someone I trust even if their price increases.

Valentine: But relationship should influence cost, or I think it should.

Adaora M.D: I think that’s where False Economies of scale sets in

Eugene: If you’re limiting it to Tomato sellers. Spar won’t care about your relationship. Well, I guess that’s what loyalty packages are for?

Dele: Sure it is. Which is why I’ll still go with the customer. Brand loyalty can’t be an oversight over time when the brand is stays true to its promise.

How can social media proliferation in Nigerian and the digital community play a critical role in telling the Nigerian story?

Posted on: August 28th, 2017 by The Moderator No Comments

The Octagon: Thanks for accepting to be a part of this Octagon Room.

How can social media proliferation in Nigerian and the digital community play a critical role in telling the Nigerian story?

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do?

Taslim: I’m Taslim. Ex-Googler & Digital Marketer. Runs a talent-focused digital consultancy where I build people to grow businesses. Interests include but not limited to digital education, startups, Africa and Jollof. *Nigerian jollof to be precise. 😁

Osaretin: I’m Chief Osaretin. Graphics Designer, Brand Developer, Photographer & Creative Director for Jonathan Cole.

Peace: Hi Everyone, I’m Peace Itimi. Digital Marketer, Google Digital Skills Trainer and Co-founder of Rene Digital Hub.

Chuka: Hey Everyone, Chuka Ekeledo – I head up Astract9: a budding digital agency with strong tenets in data driven marketing. Head up Redux, the digital arm of Red Media & Whogohost Biz growth – a SME-centric web solutions service.

Genevieve: Hello everyone…. I’m Genevieve Craig, Digital Media Consultant and Creative Writer.

Damilola: Hello everyone, I’m Damilola Oshifowora. Social Media Manager and Marketer and a budding brand communicator.

Petra:  Hi, I’m Petra. Marketing and communications officer at Junior Achievement Nigeria.

Joyce: I am Joyce Imiegha, I am an entrepreneur and an idealist (sometimes). I am a digital marketer and a business development lead at René digital hub.

The Octagon: Within the last decade Nigeria has witnessed a massive spread in the use of smartphones and PC’s, coupled with the ease of access to internet data and an ever increasing mobile network coverage. It’s no more a strange sight to see primary school children with internet enabled phones or tablets, neither is it a rarity to encounter grandparents connected to their families via Facebook or WhatsApp, even those in the rural areas have not been left behind in this digital race especially with the foray of affordable smartphones. Studies suggest that when Nigerians go online (predominantly with their mobile phones) they spend much of their time on social media platforms (Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on).

According to premium times, at least 7.1 million people use Facebook daily in Nigeria, making the country Africa’s biggest user of the social media platform. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is ranked 10th on the list of world’s top internet users, according to eMarketer; with 57.7 million users at the end of 2014, which is predicted to rise to 84.3 million by 2018. Social media platforms have proven to be an effective market to reach out to target audience as popular brands, organizations, celebrities, the media and even politicians have taken advantage to improve on their presence, brand and products.

Do you think our country Nigeria can take advantage of digital media to improve global perception?

Chuka: First off, great statistics – I’m definitely going to use it in my next pitch. Second, personally yes I think we can take advantage but are these people online interested in improving the global perception or they just want to have fun?

I like this term “good use” but my question is how we can control the narrative because from my time online – a lot of people aren’t putting their digital activities to good use but more to vanity.

Petra: Is the perception on a local or national scale a positive one? Very many Nigerians don’t believe in the brand Nigeria. While a few others do, they are ashamed to show that they to show that they do

Damilola: Yes we can. In fact we have already started taking advantage of digital media. With the likes of Osa7 for Microsoft and The rise to fame of Olajumoke the bread seller. I think we just need to focus on making positive perception.

Taslim: Interesting stats there. Yes, we can definitely improve global perception by harnessing the advantages of digital media.

The internet provided us with more channels to be able to connect with one another as well as more platforms to solve solutions. For instance, Facebook which started as a social media (for connecting people) has become an entire ecosystem (a mashup of different tools and platforms). This simply means you can do more things with your regular Facebook account. I think it starts with driving awareness through social media which is already happening. But we need to do more to ensure that the youth are keyed into the good use of these channels.

Joyce: We can, if we are willing to. Generally, I think the average Nigerian has a nonchalant attitude towards the maintaining a good perception of the nation globally.

Peace: Most definitely we can and I think we are already doing so. All it takes to change the global perception of a person or a brand or in this case a country, is to promote online the creative and positive things about us. The more we drive (and promote) conversations, innovations and talents of Nigerians, the more world sees us differently.

Taslim: To control the narrative, we need to engage influencers and make them the face of the movement. Influencers in different industries from music to tech to government are the ones who control this narrative.

Peace: I totally agree with this.

Joyce: Well said

Damilola: This is true. We’d need to tell untold stories that will shape the perception of Nigeria on a global scale.

Genevieve: Yes, most definitely. Let’s look at the country as if it was a brand. The key to brand management is telling a great story about the brand concerned. Nigeria has many stories which have been untold… Most of them have been either forgotten or taken for granted. Digital media creates so many avenues to recreate the image of Nigeria both within the country (to us Nigerians) and globally.

Peace: To control the narrative, influencers in different sectors would need to come into play.

Genevieve: True. The average Nigerian doesn’t have a sense of pride when it comes to a lot of things concerning the country.  How do we begin to shape the minds of citizens to have a sense of national pride? Every industry has a part to play.

Chuka: But again, this is a bit superficial because anyone who is willing to look beyond the surface will see that uncouth nature of the average Nigerian through their commentary

Petra: I think we should resell Nigeria to Nigerians.

 Chuka: I think this should be the foundation of any branding effort. First shaping the mindset of the Nigerian, and that it is very hard for a country that has failed its citizens again and again. That is the core of the problem is how Nigerians think. If you can change how a man thinks, you can change the world.

Damilola: Yes. A country is its citizens though.

The Octagon:  A lot has been expressed, what do you think is responsible for the poor image of the country in spite of the great stories beginning to emerge.

Taslim: Bad media. We don’t blow our whistle enough when we do the good things. We end up getting popular for the wrong reasons. Imagine the people we see as role models are uncouth, would we be otherwise? If all Wizkid and Davido uses Twitter for is beef, how do you expect their fans (who run into millions btw) to behave online? I still believe influencers have a lot to do with how we appear online. Celebrities beef everywhere are not helping matters. Another example is the way celebrities show off wealth. It has affected the average Nigerian to think the measure of happy living is how many notes of Naira you can display on Instagram. Same also goes to musicians singing about internet fraudsters. All of this come into play when we start to measure our global perception from the digital angle. I think the influencers across industries have a big role to play in that.

Damilola: Misrepresentation and misuse of digital media platforms.

Petra: We must take it beyond Jollof rice wars.

Genevieve: It’s largely related to governmental issues

Osaretin: The average Nigerian youth have not been able to take their eyes off “music and yahoo x2” as a means of making it. Yes there are other great ways to make money and we have amazing examples. Government is not the problem here.

Petra: One good impression if Nigeria that I believe digital media has helped established is our resilience.

Peace: The fact that an average Nigeria would rather tweet about how Buhari is not doing anything and how the country is Trash rather than celebrate the amazing success stories and little victories we have.

Petra: I agree however, in terms of place public relations which takes us back to branding the nation. Consider some parts of the UAE for instance. If not for branding and publicity through traditional and digital media, who really goes on vacation in a desert.

Joyce: First, the leadership. The reaction towards the poor conditions/corruption of/in the country. The poor moral standards and mindset of citizens. The things we report/post on social media/the internet. The sad impression internet fraudsters have established for us.

Damilola: Plus Nigerians have been stereotyped and we’re playing into these stereotypes.

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