… Coca-Cola and Pepsi are from the USA, Heineken is from Netherlands, so why can’t Nigerian Jollof rule the world?
By Ediale Kingsley
So in a recent show, our dear Lai Mohammed goofed. Then our dearly beloved VP, Osinbajo was a hero, for the umpteenth time. However, some people feel it’s a drag. They think is a worthless debate we have on the Jollof Rice topic. You do not understand how the Jollof rice debate affects us as a nation? You wonder why Lai’s Senegalese Jollof rice endorsement over the Nigerian Jollof should raise dust? Well, you need to first understand the basics.
Currently, no subject matches the economic importance of the Jollof rice. The different variances of Jollof rice are the most consumed food in Nigeria. Do the economic statistics and see the figures. Then juxtapose with the economic statistics of any subject you think we rather focus on. Already we saw how crude oil messed us up in the recent recession. As enterprising as entertainment and football may appear, it won’t match up the figures. The official, unofficial, professional and regular chefs or food vendors in the Jollof Rice Industry will always outdo whatever figures of employment provided in Nollywood, Nigerian Music and sports put together (I talk football, there’s even a radio station dedicated to talking just sports and people listen. I don’t think the economies of all those talks are anything close to that of Jollof Rice).
It looks may appear so flimsy, but this debate and trending brand battle is a fight for competitive advantage. Food is a global product, a cultural identity, an international commodity and a key item in world tourism. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are from the USA, Heineken is from Netherlands, So why can’t Nigerian Jollof rule the world?
Social media has made everyone a qualified social commentator and this has made a lot of people feel their weightless opinions are apt. Someone even soliloquised on his social media page that Richard Quest must have been bitten by the Nigerianess of things to be asking such a lame question. According to this guy, Quest should have rather focused on Security, Power, Infrastructure, and other economic Issues. What he fails to understand is that most third world countries have had to climb that global ladder of international and economic success through ‘Soft Power’ ( Soft Power is the use of national brands to invigorate your global status, cultural, business and political forces). In a recent ranking by the Monocle magazine, 30 most influential countries were ranked. While it was individuals, Leo Messi and Pope Francis, that helped dragged Argentina to spot 30. Whereas, the blue-and-white robot cat comic character, Doraemon, was part of the items that took Japan to rank-spot 4. So why are we taken this Jollof Rice thing easy?
Take Cheese, for instance, we all know not to mess with the French and their cheese. They invented Comté, camembert, and Croque madames (a.k.a. Some of the Most Delicious Things You Will Ever Put in Your Mouth, Ever), and then figured out a way to mainline the stuff without getting fat. And only recently in a global competition (Yeah, imagine there’s a competition for it. In fact there are several branded and billion dollars sponsored versions of global competition for cheese: From ‘The International Cheese Awards’ to ‘World Cheese Awards’ e.t.c) tagged World Cheese Awards held in San Sebastian—an annual event held by the Guild of Fine Foods—a blue cheese from Norway claimed the title of world’s best cheese. And France isn’t happy about losing that battle. They are currently mourning that loss! So, again, I say why we must take our ‘Jollof’ rice identity with kids’ gloves.
We have talked about these Jollof Rice for too long. Someone should take the initiative, make it a national pride. 130 years ago, Coca-Cola was just a drink recipe in the hands of family food vendor. Today, it’s the pride of United States. It contributes to the U.S economy.