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 1.0    Introduction

1.1    Background to the Study

Nigeria has a population of over 150 million people which translates to about one quarter of the population of the entire African continent. Nigeria is not the only largest country in Africa, but also the eighth largest country in the whole world. The countries with the most rapid economic growth in the world today, popularly termed the “BRIC States” – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are all among the ten largest countries in the world. These countries have powered their economies by their large markets to challenge the dominance of the United State of America, the third largest country in the world (Sachs, 2008).

Apart from being the sixth largest producer of crude oil, Nigeria also has an avalanche of numerous mineral and natural resources most of which have remained largely untapped. The 389 ethnic groups in the country have rich cultural heritages and festivals which should ordinarily be delightful to tourists. These include Argungu Fishing Festival in Kebbi, Durbar Festival in Bornu, Osun Osogbo Festival in Osun and Eyo Festival in Lagos among several others.

The country is equally well blessed with several tourist centres. Among these are the Yankari Game Reserve (the only game reserve in the world with a natural warm spring) (Akunyili, 2010). Given the enormous human, natural and material resources at the disposal of Nigeria, it is sad to note that the country has remained an under-dog economically. Investors and tourists have preferred smaller markets with lesser mineral resources and less attractive tourist potentials for their investments, trades and travels.

The Nigerian government attributes the inability of the country to attract sufficient foreign investments and tourists, in spite of her vast potentials, to the negative image of the country before the international community. The average Nigerian is perceived as a criminal or fraudster anywhere he/she goes around the world while Nigeria and Nigerians are considered unsafe to do business with.

In order to correct the negative image of the nation and its debilitating consequences, the federal government has since 2004 embarked on a number of projects aimed at launching the image of the country. The first was the “Nigeria Image Project” launched in July, 2004 by Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu as Minister of Information and National Orientation. In July 2005, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr. had taken over from Chief Chikelu and launced the “Heart of Africa” (HOA) project to replace Chief Chikelu’s pet project. In February 2009, Professor Dora Akunyili the new Minister for Information launched the “Rebranding Nigeria Project” as the new weapon to win the image war. But what is branding? What is Re-branding Nigeria Project all about? What are the conditions for the successful rebranding of Nigeria? This study will attempt to provide systematic and logical answers to these questions.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

The problem statement describes the Nigerian image renewal and the media role. For so many years, various governments have made attempts at renewing the bad image of Nigeria. It is not thoughtless to say the role of the media especially the broadcast media in re-branding Nigeria cannot be underestimated considering its wide coverage and its lasting impact on the mind of viewers and listeners compared to other media.

1.3    Objectives of the Study

  1. To find out the image perception (good or bad) of Nigeria by other nations.
  2. To know which area of the Nigeria society needs rebranding
  3. To know the role of the media in renewing Nigeria’s image
  4. To know the role NTA has played in renewing Nigeria’s image.
  5. To find out the impact of programmes aimed at Nigerian image renewal.

 1.4    Research Questions

  1. How does other nations of the world perceive Nigeria’s image (good or bad)?
  2. Which facet of the Nigeria needs rebranding the most?
  3. What is the role of the media in renewing Nigeria’s image?
  4. What has being the role of NTA in renewing Nigeria’s image?
  5. What is the impact of programmes aimed at image renewal?

 1.5    Scope of the Study

          The scope of this study resides in the topic of the research work, the scope of the study will be limited to NTA. Despite the limitations, the result of the research will be generalized on all mass media since it is difficult if not impossible to reach all mass media nation wide. 

1.6    Significance of the Study

This study which is on Nigeria image renewal and the media role will be beneficial to media practitioners as well as mass communication students.

          This will also help other researchers to further investigate on other aspects that this research might not be able to cover.

          The research will be of benefit to the government to learn from public opinion of the respondents on what is needed to be done and what other plans the government can do to renew the Nigerian image.

          Academically, the study will form an extension of knowledge to the academic study for future researchers.

1.7    Rationale of the Study

          Foreign broadcast media such as BBC, CNN, Al-Jezeera and the likes who have been popular in broadcasting Nigerian events especially from the negative perspectives. It is to this effect that indigenes in Nigeria must rise up to the challenge of re-branding or renewal of Nigeria’s image by correcting the impression these foreign media have made in the minds of other nations of the world through broadcast or programmes that speak the truth.

1.8    Definition of Terms

Role: This is the function or responsibilities expected of mass media (Nigeria Television Authority) to play in renewing the Nigerian image.

Mass Media: These are means of communicating to large, scatter and heterogeneous audience used in renewing the Nigerian image.

Renewal: This has to do with media (NTA) efforts ranging from news reporting, editorial writing, opinion and other methods used to rebrand Nigerian image. 

Image: This has to do with the representation of Nigerian face through Nigerian Television Authority.