Nigeria’s Diamond Independence jubilee was supposed to be a time of celebration for all Nigerians trying to shake off the economic effects of a Coronavirus lockdown. It should be a celebration for all class of Nigerians, home and abroad.
The 1st of October 2020 should be an overview of the journey it has taken the citizenry to get to this point in history since attaining independence in 1960. But another scandal connected to the logo unveiled for the diamond jubilee might be threatening to dampen the verve of the celebrations.
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This controversial logo was unveiled on Wednesday, the 16th of September, 2020, by President Muhammadu Buhari in a mini ceremony at Aso Rock Villa. Remnants of the gloomy atmosphere of the Coronavirus may have dampened some of the expected excitement that should culminate from the unveiling, but the allegations that surfaced hours after the event did more harm.
The allegation was that Nigeria’s logo for the celebrations was plagiarized from a Russian source. The crystal design sitting pretty in the ‘0’ part of the ’60’ contained a picture which picture searches indicated it is an image of a 51 Carat Russian Dynasty diamond.
For a logo that should be original and very creative – depicting the theme “Together as One”; choosing one that is plagiarized from a pool submitted by contestants in the 60th jubilee competition is poorly thought out.
As the President Buhari enthused at the logo unveiling ceremony:
“I’m informed that the selected option depicts our togetherness; a country of over 200 million people, whose natural talents, grits and passion glitter like the precious diamond we are,”
But the logo is not only a representation of copyright infringement, but it is also so bland that it literally contradicts the ovation Buhari showered on it in his prepared statement. If such a 60th Nigerian independence jubilee logo is regaled as the best that can come out of the vast creativity of Nigerians, then something is definitely wrong with the nation’s talent hunting template.
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And this would not be the first time that a plagiarisation scandal haunted the logo unveiling of something of national importance.
We are reminded that in 2018 when the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation tried to unveil the logo of the ghostly ‘Nigeria Air’, the logo was reported to have been plagiarized from an organisation domiciled in Bahrain. It did not stop at that, the designer of the Nigeria Air logo was also said to have collected at least N1.2 billion for the design.
Such controversies are not ideal for a 60-year-old independent nation. If anything, such gaffe is a reflection of the rot being encouraged in government ministries, departments and parastatals where procurement and contracting is usually awarded to the least qualified or most expensive.
If the nepotism which is rife in many government establishments is actively wound back, directors and managers at these institutions will begin to identify the trove of talented contractors who will handle creative projects better.
It is not too late for us, as a nation, to believe in local capabilities – to strive to give the best presentations an opportunity to shine rather than cultivating nepotistic habits.
It is high time that we gave the young brilliant minds in our nation a chance at being their possible best today. The promise of being leaders of tomorrow is already 60 years late.
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