Lagos: We own the game

“Your Excellency, I cannot delay writing to congratulate you, members of your cabinet and your staff for the demolition of the partially collapsed Bank of Industry building along Broad Street, Lagos. Along with others invited to the ceremony, I watched with amazement the power of science as the building came crashing down in one solid piece after you have given a countdown for the demolition to be carried out.

Heartiest congratulations for the success which met the demolition work and for its being carried out hitch-free and without any accident or damage to the surrounding buildings. May you continue to administer Lagos State as satisfactorily as you are at present doing. Once again, heartiest congratulation and felicitations.”

These were the words of Mr Akintola Williams (FCA), doyen of the accountancy profession in Nigeria in a letter of commendation to Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the Lagos State governor for his sterling performance in the administration of the state since he came to power in 2007. Daily, letters like this, phone calls and even e-mails get to the governor over his policies and other sundry projects being executed in Lagos. When the Fashola-led regime came into office a little over two years ago, within a short spate of time, it became glaring to the populace that the government is purposeful, focused and positioned to deliver on its promises to electorates. Fashola has not only revamped the machinery of governance, he has also succeeded in quietly transforming the state and thus ensuring that Lagos truly lives to its billings as the real ‘Centre of Excellence.’ The government’s performance indices in the areas of transport, environment, education, health and security are today serving as models to other states and even the Federal Government. They are testimonies to how good governance to a great extent transform lives and change a people’s destination on earth. Indeed, Lagos offers a unique example to apostles of rebranding Nigeria. That real rebranding is predicated on concrete achievements or projects. That good causes or achievements precede a rebranding project.

Having worked thus far, the Lagos government is set to crow on its achievements. And the current Under 17 FIFA World Cup competition which Nigeria is hosting offers the government a unique opportunity to position Lagos as a premium destination spot for business and leisure. This decision is both timely and appropriate. Because one, the attention of the whole world would be on Nigeria and two, soccer as a unifying factor is a ready and veritable tool for marketing.

Perhaps you have been seeing billboards and lamp posts with this message: ‘Lagos- Own the Game’ in and around Lagos in the past few weeks. The message is one of the out of the home advertisements being used to market Lagos for both business and leisure while the Mundial is on. Aside billboards, the messages are also being run in both print and the electronic media. These messages conceptualized and packaged by Wisdom Keys Nigeria, a strategic marketing communications firm which began operations in Nigeria barely a year ago is unique for two major reasons. One, it has both inward and outward meanings. It is meaningful for both visitors and residents that whether in entertainment, sports, business, arts and culture etc, Lagos owns the game. This fact is further buttressed when one takes a roll call of all achievers in Nigeria; virtually all of them have roots or connection with Lagos. Name them: from Wole Soyinka to Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi to Olu Jacobs, Mike Adenuga to Aliko Dangote, Kanu Nwankwo to Jay-Jay Okocha, Chimamanda Adichie to Ben Okri and from Stella Damasus to Ramsey Nouah. They all at one time or the other had contact with Lagos. And this contact to a certain extent boosted their careers. This message would definitely have a positive impact on visitors or tourists arriving Lagos for the first time. Besides, the message is not only apt and direct it is in tandem with the realities on the ground in Lagos. For example, Oshodi, the former notorious haven of criminals in Lagos is now safer, cleaner and better organized while Marina has been turned into a beauty to behold. The broadcast version of this campaign features Sammie Okposo, Segun Arinze, Ego and Omawumi on radio while the TV version features popular actor Segun Brainard and a host of others. According to Wisdom Keys officials, the TVC and radio commercials for the project were all shot at various locations in Lagos.

By Wale Alabi

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