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SMP for PMB

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/ AFP PHOTO / BOUREIMA HAMA

In brand management, SMP stands for Single-Minded Proposition. And following the controversy that greeted the letter from OBJ to PMB, I have come to the conclusion that PMB needs an SMP. Having a Single-Minded Proposition means you identify one value offering and pursue its implementation with tenacious determination. In one of the responses of those who attacked OBJ for writing the letter, the writer dismissed OBJ’s eight years as President as a period of retrogression, and said the only thing OBJ achieved was the telecoms revolution. OBJ might have achieved this by default because he didn’t campaign for office with a promise to transform the telecoms sector. But that achievement illustrates one thing our leaders have lacked over the years. They don’t give us Single-Minded Propositions. This is by no means suggesting that they should record only one achievement while in office. Rather, they should prioritize and give focus to their mission while in office. The advantages are enormous.

Obasanjo’s achievement in the telecoms sector completely transformed the way we communicate and do business while unleashing incredible potential in the ways telecommunications can develop our economy. Telecoms now provides millions of direct and indirect employment while also massively reducing the cost of doing business. The multiplier effect is incredible. Our leaders should go into office with the mission to leave at least one everlasting legacy, such that no matter how much your opponents want to discredit you, no matter how much they hate you, they will have no choice but to acknowledge that legacy. You can make history but nobody can change history. No matter how much you hate Obasanjo today, you will most probably be expressing your hatred using one of the telecoms devices or services which he made possible. You may take to the social media to lambast him, but the smart phone in your hands is connected to one of the networks his administration licensed. And the best part of it is simply that the Federal Government generated a lot of money from the GSM licenses. You have to give the man some credit.

When Yar’adua came up with his Seven-Point Agenda, I was sceptical. He didn’t need a Seven-Point Agenda. He only needed a Single-Minded Proposition. Or, if you like, a One-Point Agenda. Electricity! His Seven-Point Agenda ended up pulling him in seven different directions and he ended up not achieving any point in his brief but promising reign. GEJ was supposed to have inherited that agenda. However, I am unable to pin-point any point that was successfully pulled through. If GEJ had adopted a Single-Minded Proposition based on an issue that touches the lives of all Nigerians and had pursued that proposition assiduously, he would still be President of this country as we speak!

The most obvious example is electricity. Imagine if GEJ had solved the problem of electricity in his six years as President! Who in their right minds would deny him a second term? Even if the problem couldn’t be totally solved in one term, if Nigerians saw how far he had gone, they would certainly have given him a second term. This is one proposition that has the potential to transform the lives of all Nigerians. The multiplier effect is unimaginable. The extent to which regular power will unleash our economic potential is mind-blowing! Yet they all know this. We all know this. So why hasn’t any of these past presidents made it a Single-Minded Proposition?

Now, I have a question for that person who said the only thing OBJ achieved was the telecoms revolution. What if each of our past presidents had solved only one problem that had a transformational impact on our lives? What if Babangida had solved the problem of electricity and Abacha had solved the problem of agriculture, such that we now enjoy uninterrupted power supply and the poorest of the poor can easily afford three square meals? What if Jonathan had solved the problem of transportation and I can easily hop on a fast train to any major city in this country? What if every president who spent more than four years in office had solved one major problem and left at least one indelible legacy, just as OBJ did? Just imagine how much difference all of these would have made! Unfortunately, that has not been the case. That’s why we are still complaining about the same problems we had more than forty years ago!

Now let us look ahead and talk to those who want to rule us come 2019. You must have a Single-Minded Proposition! You must commit to providing one major solution that will have a transformational impact on our lives and become a lasting legacy. Imagine finding a lasting solution to our educational system, such that within ten years we have the best universities in Africa and no longer channel billions of foreign exchange to foreign universities but rather, students from all over Africa are coming to ours. Imagine fixing our health sector in such a way that within ten years we have the best hospitals in Africa and our leaders and citizens no longer have to seek specialist medical care abroad with the mind boggling amounts involved.

In fairness to him, PMB came into office with what seemed like a Single-Minded Proposition. Which was the anti-corruption stance. While he had the profile to match this proposition, he has since discovered that democracy doesn’t allow that proposition to be effectively implemented. When he was a military dictator, he was better empowered to fight corruption. But one of the challenges of democracy is how the corrupt and powerful are able to exploit the rule of law, to get away with their criminal acts. If he is able to pursue this fight to a desirable conclusion and leaves a sanitized polity, then he would have left a lasting legacy. Even then, this would not necessarily have a transformational impact on the lives of Nigerians. While that fight must not be abandoned, he needs a deliverable value proposition and really fast too! Especially if he seriously wants a second term. Otherwise, he will end up being the second incumbent to be voted out of office.

• Muyiwa Kayode is CEO at USP Brand Management and author, The Seven Dimensions of Branding. Brand Nation is a platform for promoting national development based on the universal principles of branding.


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Olusegun ObasanjoPMBSMP

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