(Being a paper presented by Jahman Anikulapo at a Workshop on Review of Parastatals under Ministry of Culture and Tourism)

I should like to open with two preambles: both of which will suggest where my conclusion is headed.

I would be a fraud to pretend that anything I say here before the gathering is NEW. In fact I should be sanctioned if I or any other person make such a claim. There is nothing I am going to say today that had not been said in the past about how best to engage the media as an instrument of articulating the cultural and tourism potentialities of, as well as agenda for the nation. Tons of presentations have been made in the past. The latest being as recent as about two weeks ago at the UWTO conference here in Abuja. I think what has been wrong all along is that we – governmental agencies responsible for managing our cultural and tourism sectors as well as the majority of stakeholders, have been both inept and as well unambitious. We have abandoned ourselves in the pit of indifference and disinterestedness.
So for those who have heard me speak on same or similar topic in the past, you will pardon me if I sounded like a broken record. And for those who have attended endless seminars in the past on this same topic, pardon me if I sounded like a copycat.

My second preamble, which however will race me ahead to part of my conclusion, is a little story that I wish to share with us. Two days ago (May 27), Nigeria — as they say in the cliché — joined other countries of the world to mark the International Children’s Day. I must commend the Culture Ministry through some of its agencies for staging grand events to commemorate the day. There were over 3000 children in the expansive yard of the National Museum in Lagos. I, for one, in my 22 years of reporting the Culture Sector – have never seen that huge gathering of children at one event -- organized by a parastatal of the Culture Ministry. I think the managers of the Lagos Museum deserve all the accolades that the Ministry of Culture can spare.
The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation, CBAAC also staged its yearly Children programme: another grand event with Cultural education and parade at the center of the ceremony. But this is where the ‘tory get k-leg’ – as we say in popular lingo.
As a Child-friendly media organization The Guardian had sent a minimum of two reporters to each of all the events staged around Lagos to mark the Day of our Tomorrow – our Children. In the course of the event -- as is traditional with my operation as an editor– I had pulled a call through to my Reporter to find out how he was faring, and more so to give him further instruction on how to maximize his coverage of the event.
And here was the shock: the reporter said he had been told by the Information managers of the CBAAC that he was not INVITED. This was infuriating enough. I directed him to hold on to the call and take his phone to the head of the Information section of the Centre. And she, a woman that one had had one-one-one official interaction with in the past, actually affirmed that she had told the reporter that he was not invited!
I fired torrents of angry queries;
‘Did he not show you his ID Card?’
‘Yes he did but he has no IV’.
‘Did he not tell you he was from The Guardian?’
‘Yes he did; but he has no IV card’.
‘Did he ask you for money?’
‘ No he did not, but he was not invited. We have too many of these people here who are claiming to be Journalists; and later they will want to be ‘settled’…’.
The ping-pong went on endlessly between us; of course, on my phone account.
‘Okay”, I sighed, “I wish to withdraw him from the assignment since you are adamant that he has to be invited to cover a public event by a public agency such as the CBAAC….’
It was when I requested her to pass the phone back to my reporter that I guess it probably dawned on Madam PRO that I was setting a trap. She finally graciously agreed that the Reporter could actually join the party.

I promised that this little drama would race me to aspects of my conclusion: and here I submit:

1. May we resolve here and now that henceforth, the crucial job of information management of our various cultural and tourism agencies will no longer be left in the hands of non-professional, untrained, over red-taped or overcooked civil servants who have no clue what the role of the media is in the promotion, packaging, and presentation of aspects of our cultural and tourism products and ideas to the larger public -- local and international.

2. May we resolve that if ever we were going to allow these untrained civil servants handle such a crucial department, we shall insist on their being properly trained, grilled, and given good dose of etiquette in public relations such as required for any progressive modern organisation or commune of humans.

3. May we here resolve that media relations is a thorough professional job that has -- in tandem with contemporary experience and the practice in civilised and progressive economies around the world -- gone beyond mere peddling of press releases and sharing of brown envelopes to hungry (de)pressed reporters to include such highly technical and specialised areas as marketing, branding, public relations and integrated communication, which to work effectively and achieve maximum results, require strategic thinking and planning, appropriate skill and knowledge and behavioural refurbishment – to the extent that they are better OUTSOURCED as do happen in nearly all ambitious corporate organisations.

Importantly, it is inconceivable that while we have committed massive resources to reconstructing our operational modules for delivery in cultural and tourism products and programmes, we have never as much as lifted a finger in the direction of setting up appropriate machinery towards packaging, promotion and public presentation of those products and programmes.
Also, it is nothing but an irony of fate, maybe a grand exercise in illogicality, that a country that reputedly has one of the most vibrant media industry – and a swelling class of vastly experienced professionals in the divergent disciplines of the Media – Public Relations, Advertising, Journalism, Branding, Integrated Communication with a high predilection for the ICT – is the least ready or PREPARED to engage the easily available and most times cheap tools of the media to market its cultural and tourism riches.

Now let me work from the Conclusion to the very beginning.
I crave your indulgence to do a bit of mental games here. I shall raise some questions to which I hope you would be able to provide appropriate answers.

1. Why did the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s appearance on the CNN draw so much flak from a cross section of the society that it had to be withdrawn by the Ministry of Information that had initiated it as part of the image re-branding scheme for the country -- almost with shame?
2. Why has Nigeria not have a successful campaign on international media like even smaller countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia and even Ghana?
3. Why in spite of all the grumbling and agitation about the misrepresentation of Africa and especially Nigeria’s image in the international media, we have not, as a country, been able to effectively challenge the misrepresentation?
4. Why haven’t the billions of Naira sunk into image laundering overseas, helped to rescue the country from its struggle to shrug off the image of a pariah nation?

If you were -- as some of us are -- hooked on CNN and BBC, you would probably have seen the documentary on a girl that was taken abroad by her sister, who attempted to turn her to a prostitute, until she was rescued by a ‘good Samaritan’ white lady; who then proceeded to make a documentary out of her story – a documentary that was full of lies and annoyingly unintelligent and illogical claims; such as that every five minutes on the streets of Lagos, a person is robbed. That clip is the most repeated item on CNN, which means millions of people at home and abroad must have been watching it.
Now, imagine that the Information managers in the government have not thought it fit to call up CNN and express our national disgust with the blatant lies that the girl tells in the clip – that every minute a person is robbed or mugged on the streets of Lagos? Why hasn’t our Minister of Information or any of his directors speak up the way the former minister Frank Nweke challenged CNN on the 'arrangee' reporting that the CNN correspondent, Jeff Koinage did on the Niger Delta. Even that, as clever as it was, was a one-off anyway; it wasn’t sustained.
And to rub pepper (salt) on injury, the clip is appearing on the programme INSIDE AFRICA, which is currently sponsored by one of our big banks, ZENITH.

All these questions lead to one mighty question:
Why has the ‘Heart Africa’ project been crawling rather than flying – as it was conceived to be?

Our conclusions here are that;
We have been bad users of the huge volumes of invaluable resources that the Media offer us to promote, project and market our Country; particularly in pushing our CULTURAL and TOURISTIC POTENTIALITIES to the agenda of the Global Community.
Our NTA claims to be the largest network in Africa, but is that the truth? Well maybe in terms of number of stations (of course this is a nation over 120 million people with over 240 tongues, right?). Don’t many of us – especially the leaders in political, economic and social spheres and the international community get to see more of SOUTH AFRICA through its SABC, and even its scheming of aspects of its touristic wealth frequently on CNN, BBC, TV CHANEL etc?


A few months ago a huge congregation of artists, culture and tourism producers and workers were gathered in the hall of the International Conference Centre here in Abuja. This was precisely in November during the Conference on UNTAPPED RESOURCES as conceptualized and delivered by the Ford Foundation through the efforts of the Programme Officer, Margie Reese.
I had been asked to speak on the Role of Artists and Media in Culture Advocacy. It was a pity that logistics reasons prevented one from speaking to a larger audience. Though the presentation was done before a sub-group, I am glad that it was still well received by the few people that were in the hall that day.
What I have brought here is a chunk of what one had left unsaid in November due to the mentioned logistical and other technical reasons.
I had spoken on Culture Advocacy in the Media and Advocacy for culture in the media. Here is a bit of that:
I need to stress that the same way we (government and the few operational private sectors) have always neglected to effectively mobilized the large – tens of thousands -- of our artists and culture and tourism workers community in our strategic planning and actions towards advancement of the Culture sector of the economy, we have always done to the institution of the MEDIA. We have always neglected the MEDIA as a vital component of our cultural advocacy strategy towards the agenda for growth of the sector and ostensibly the diversification of the national economy from its oily mono-character.
The origin of this bad attitude is not unknown to many of us, but we are all guilty in this regard. Unfortunately, even our development partners and supporters too seem to have quickly learnt to walk our self-constructed uneven path. Please ask yourself, in our individual and corporate programmes, projects and dreams for the sector, where do we also place the MEDIA organizations? Do we take them to be mere APPENDAGES – a managed instrument (perhaps necessary irritant) to be engaged as we deem fit; or a parasite at enlightened gatherings such as this? What do we think was at the back of the mind of those who proclaim the media the FOURTH ESTATE OF THE REALM?
The media cannot and should not be an appendage in contemplation of development of any nation. That is why it is the Fourth in the ranking of institutions set up to advance the cause of every nation.
4. May we resolve also here that the media will never again be treated as an appendage of cultural and tourism management and administration in this country. And that henceforth the media – in all its ramifications and dimensions -- will always be effectively and aggressively mobilised in the strategy to grow the culture and toursim sectors of the national economy.

It is imperative to examine why advocacy for culture through the media is necessary. What are the specific and measurable agenda for such an endeavour? To whom do the media workers take the case of cultural advocacy? In fact, what case is there to make for our own peculiar culture, which barely exists in a gradually homogenized world -- a world in which one section dominates the rest technologically and culturally?
Media intervention in the Affairs of Culture and Tourism is rooted in a patriotic agenda to protect that, which is our own cultural patrimony against the aggressive incursion of foreign cultures and ideas.
In effect, we advance from the perspective that journalists as part of the intellectual class in any society have a role to play in advocating for policies and legislations that promote and preserve our cultural patrimony with its eye on ensuring that strange, sometimes destructive cultural products are not allowed to overthrow our own cultural ideas. We see media workers as part of a team working in tandem with other activists within the larger society to ensure that the delicate and sometimes tricky effects of the so-called Globalisation and 'Villagelisation' are not administered on our nation in a lopsided manner i.e. against our will and interest. For that is exactly what other nations, especially so-called advanced economies have mastered: making the less strong accept policies and principles detrimental to the interests of their people; more so when leaders of such weaker nations are often driven by personal greed, clueless-ness and an instinctual hatred for progress of their own people.



Specifically for the Arts, the media has been a very faithful spouse, but the Culture and Tourism managers have been behaving like a husband who marries a very devoted wife, but prefers to neglect her while squandering his energies in nocturnal ventures. The varied media resources have always offered themselves as willing tools to be exploited by the Arts and its managers in realization of their own agenda, but the operators of art or the culture producers have either being blinded to the instrumentality of the Media or are too engrossed in their own survival battles to notice this available instrument.
It bears re-stating that the Arts has not fully cultivated the Media to effectively put itself in the heart of the national agenda. Interestingly, the little mileage that the Arts has recorded would not have been possible without the creative imput of some Media workers who insist on being apostles of cultural advocacy.
The Artist produces (and will continue to produce) quite all right, but it is the Media that helps to disseminate the products to the attention of the consuming public or the patrons. One could stress that the reason artistic Products have not commanded enough attention in the public is because the producers have been lukewarm in their engagement of the media.
It should be noted that reference to the media here, goes beyond its traditional models -- press and electronic broadcasting – to include its other varying dimensions — public relations, advertising, branding, marketing inclusive. And there is the new media with its vast, ever-expanding fingers in the form of the cyber networking.
This is why just as Media is an important tool for Culture and Tourism sectors to engage for greater fulfillment of their potentials, Culture is also a vehicle that is readily available for the Media to ride on for a distinctive character in the vast world of communication. The symbiosis must be nursed.
The luck we have had for the seeming (but deceptively so) cordial relationship between culture producers and the media is the fact that indeed many of the Journalists on the arts beat are themselves producers of culture as well as activists within the Culture sub-sector itself. That is what has sustained the presence of the Arts in the media. Thus it could be said that the present representation of the arts is traceable to the passion and commitment of individual journalists, and that is why it may NOT be a reliable strategic tool. A worst case scenario best illustrates the danger of relying on this ad-hoc relationship to build a promotional platform for culture an tourism in the media: the moment a particular journalist steps out of the beat or the profession, the page ultimately keeps an appointment with death; the commitment of the particular medium peters out; the visibility of the arts in that particular media house suffers grave consequences, most often total eclipse.
Thus there is the urgent need to schematically link the Culture and Tourism sector and the Media as functional partnership.

Aside the traditional media – print and broadcasting – there are the other Media Resources that we have not even begun to engage.


Nigeria is renowned for its highly professionalised and competent Advertising and Public Relations sub-industry. There are tens of small and medium scales agencies operating already, and we could see their impact in the lives of many of our corporate organizations and private institutions. Fortunately, these sub-industries unlike many aspects of our national life, have collective fronts that regulate their activities, thus the job of sieving the chaff from the grains has been half-done.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and its agencies should be resourceful enough to fraternize with, for instance the Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN), which is the collective for the advertising professionals as well as the other fingers of the industry such as the Organisation of Outdoor Adverstisers of Nigeria, oOAN, VAN (Voice Artistes of Nigeria); Radio and Television in Advertising Association etc.
For maximum advantage, the agencies should not lose sight of the oversight function of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, which regulates activities of the various bodies of practitioners.
Also very important, many of these advertising companies have viable affiliation with internationally reputable Advertising companies. Thus they have advantages of helping to push agenda of their clients internationally.
An effective engagement of these professionals would have prevented the shameful campaign that featured the ex-President dancing like a robot in a TV copy at about same time when Thabo Mbeki of South Africa was on the international screen reciting the great inspiring poem: ‘I am an African’, and grabbing the attention of the world through a well=conceived and executed image laundering campaign.

No doubt, the most effective tool for marketing, promoting and presenting the products of our cultural and tourism sector -- or that of any other country -- is Public Relations. That is why purpose-driven economies spend huge resources to create good images for their country with the ultimate aim of selling same as destination that is worth attention of the people from other climes, who love to move around and explore new possibilities for their personal lives and businesses. The various advertisement copies that we see on international media such as the CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Sky etc are all products of deeply-thought-out PR strategies with the final aim being to ensure that others see the country as a tourist-friendly and consequently, investment-deserving economies.
Incidentally, past efforts by consecutive governments in Nigeria to engage the resources of PR to serve the interest of building a good image of the country has never been well schemed to achieve the set objectives. Some of those initiatives had been reactionary rather than being deliberately authored actions to help boost the image of the country. It is to popular knowledge that billions of dollars were sunk into international image laundering projects for Nigeria, especially since the country slipped into pariah-ness following the imbroglio that trailed the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections. We could say that the only period that we seemed to have managed to reap some benefits from such huge investment was between 1999 and 2007 when president Obasanjo re-launched the international campaign to pull Nigeria out of the woods. But we also know that aside engaging international image launderers, the President against the popular support of the people had to embark on innumerable trips to all parts of the world to assure the global community that Nigeria was reinventing itself, politically, economically and culturally.
But in critical thinking, it has been observed that, even much more would have been achieved if local PR practitioners – who are driven more by patriotic passion, nationalistic commitment and understanding that even their own businesses would not grow of they do not help to clean up the image of the country – had been engaged rather than international consultants whose only prime motive for taking up the assignment is profit.
Yet Nigeria is not lacking in a pool of eminently qualified and tested professionals in the field who have distinguished themselves in global comity of PR practitioners.
In preparing this paper, I had consulted a young practitioner – Ayo Moses Ogedengbe --to articulate the advantages derivable from PR intervention in Culture and Tourism promotion. Below is what he offered;

“Public relations is the art and science of planning actionable programmes for the purpose of establishing a mutually beneficial understanding between an organisation and her publics whilst studying trends, analyzing same, predicting their consequences and counseling organisation leaders. Where strategies are properly executed, issues bothering on hostility, apathy, prejudice and ignorance would have been motivated to attract the sympathy, interest, acceptance and knowledge needed to help the industry thrive.
The tourism industry is in a position to benefit from a clearly outlined public relations strategy and amongst such possible benefits are:

• Increased awareness for the tourism industry in Nigeria
• Educate Nigerians about attractive tourism destinations of the country
• Publicize industry to the International community
• Create awareness for business potentials of the industry
• Awareness on employment benefits
• Revenue generation for national income
• Foreign Direct Investment earning potential
• Enhance the image and reputation of the country locally and internationally
• Social economic development
• Educational benefits to the citizenry
• Encourage return of Nigerian Professionals abroad back home
• Ensure that hard earned income being taken abroad by Nigerians for tourism purpose are spent here at home
* Relieve Nigerians of stress induced culture of work and no rest which is destroying lives

Just like the advertisers, the Public Relations professionals have collective fronts in NIPR that could be effectively engaged for maximum performance. Aside the NIPR is also the FAPRA, which gives international oversights to operation of the industry.


1. Use of cyberspace –
Internet, Facebook, My Space; You tube

Human communication and interaction have gone beyond the traditional face-to-face meeting often facilitated by physical migrations. Now, millions of people criss-cross boundaries and destinations just by banging or picking on keyboards located in one little corners of their room – even in the rural areas. The cyberspace has further enhanced the ‘villagelisation’ of the world; and for anyone desirous of reaching out to the world, the cyberspace is the easiest, cheapest and instantly delivering platform.
Thousands of Nigerian youths and potential consumers of cultural and tourism products are hooked to the cyberspace every minute of the day – that explains the immense almost phenomenal instant stardom that a lot of our young artists, especially musicians and Nollywood actors, have attained – just as they have barely stepped out to the public attention. If you were to type the name TUFACE or ASA in the google search machine, you will be amazed at the volume of fans they have amassed from all over the world even from places they have never been to.
The Cyberspace is a great promotional and marketing platform that is just there to be engaged almost FOC – FREE OF CHARGE. And if private individuals, especially the youths who have no funding source than probably their pocket money, can use it effectively in spite of our national challenges with power and technology, imagine what each of the culture and tourism parastatals can do with just having a Computer and internet facilities – of course manned by a trained and focused personnel, and not just an over red taped, grumbling civil servant – with such an easy-to-use, cheap-to-use and sometime fun-to-use platform

5. Marketing

All these lead to the 5th item I have put here, which is actually the END RESULT of all the other four items: MARKETING.
Let me say in advance here that the thought I am going to share here on this has been taken from a brilliant PowerPoint presentation titled “HOW MARKETING TECHNIQUES CONTRIBUTE TO ENHANCE AFRICAN DESTINATIONS” delivered at the 47th meeting of the UNWTO CAF, by a resource persons in this same Abuja:
I have taken it as a credo particularly as it gives a practical guide to how one could for instance effectively market NIGERIA as a DESTINATION:

The paper contends that Media has become the most pervasive, permanent aspects of our lives: we expect it, we need it, we demand it, and we are lost without it. She added that the media plays a critical role in how we make a sense of our world politically, socially, geographically, economically, spiritually and environmentally. Media has become a tool for education, liberation, inspiration and unification across geographies, ages, cultures, religions, parties and generations.
It also extrapolated on how Media could be engaged to specifically MARKET tourism, particularly: DESTINATION MARKETING – which is germane to cultural tourism. “Marketing plays a critical role in expressing a nation’s: Focus on the future; Aspirations for growth and development; Capabilities at social, technological, industrial and economic levels; Spirit of its People; Values as a Culture; Energy as a reflection of its Personality; Stability as a society, as a holiday location, as a centre for investment.
And to make marketing function optimally in the interest of Destination Marketing, the paper said it could be strategically designed to Provoke curiosity; Create interest; Shift perceptions; Build national image and appeal; Inspire visitors and investors to show greater interest and respect in cultural and tourism products of Nigeria.

The paper then proposed an acronym: P-R-I-D-E:

P: PATNERSHIPS: Establish high-profile, high-credibility PARTNERSHIPS with highly-respected Media, leveraging their Brand equity and reach as a way of magnifying the destination’s Brand equity and maximizing media ROI.

R: REACH: Understand whom you need to REACH with your marketing:
Identifying your target market(s); Understanding their interests and motivators; establishing when and how best to communicate with them; Understanding your competitor set

I: INVEST in Brand-building, committing time and funds to the development of:
(a) Advertising: compelling messaging which creatively connects with audiences in words, images, music, moments
(b) Media: carefully thought out campaign plan, which reaches the right people in the right places at the right time.

D: DIFFERENTIATED. Ensure your destination is clearly, confidently and compellingly DIFFERENTIATED as a Brand offering. Define your core messages - a set of few, focused, unique statements which capture the essence of the destination’s offering and set you apart from others, expressing a promise which you absolutely can deliver on.

E: EXPERENTIAL. Showcase the EXPERIENTIAL aspects of the destination -- demonstrate how the destination allows visitors to touch it, and be touched by it, using the assets, icons and attractions of the destination to connect with visitors at an emotional level… sending them home with stories and souvenirs.


•Effectively engaging and cultivating the various platforms existing
in the Cultural Journalism, including Tourism journalism bodies
AWON; EWAN; Book Reviewers’ Society; Movie Reporters Association; FIPRESCI; AICA; ANJET… we should also not leave out the various professional bodies representing the arts – that for writers, theatre artists, visual artists, filmmakers, fashion etc
There is not even an inventory on what these organizations are; where they are; how they operate; what their needs are.
Cultivation of the organizations should go beyond the humdrum of Press Release-Brown Envelope-come-and-report-us relationship that currently exists. Imagine if at the very onset of planning a programme for culture and tourism, the Media was already involved. This encourages them to start their reporting from the process and on to the final results of the project. A lot of private programme producers are doing this already; but I am afraid not so for governmental agencies. This is why we could end up with the sort of attitude displayed by the information managers at the CBAAC.

•Encouraging Art schools to design programmers for reporting in the various disciplines

Cultivating the media resources available should place emphasize on helping to organize training and advancement of careers of the personnel in Cultural and tourism reporting. It is of course known that Nigeria with such a vast media resources has few almost negligible educational programmes for Cultural reporting and tourism – as we speak there is not (not to my knowledge) any tertiary institutions offering training to journalists interested in reporting Tourism or Culture affairs.
However, institutions within the ministry such as NICO, Department of Culture, NICHOTOURS, NOA should be effectively mobilized to develop training modules that could help the media deliver qualitative intervention in Culture and Tourism management.

•Professionalising the Media units of the various agencies under the Ministry of culture and Tourism
It is clear that those manning the media departments (Media Relations) in the various parastatals in the ministry are not well equipped or not equipped enough to effectively perform their roles. I am aware that some of these information officers were deployed from Information ministry – just because they work in that ministry. The Culture and Tourism parastatals should develop a module that enable them recruit real, tested and well equipped (intellectually and technically) personnel to man that units.
The ultimate is to OUTSOURCE the unit, which means engaging the services of professional Media managers.


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