The Mayor of Housing and a real estate investor, My-ACE China, has proffered the need to rebrand the South East and the South South to turn around the economies of these regions.
The housing and estate investor, who says he sells value, not just houses, has unveiled plans to use branding to make Port Harcourt an investment capital in the coming years as his own contribution.
Mr China, who is the reigning brand champion in the DMOMA Award, told newsmen that Port Harcourt has what it takes to compete with Lagos.
He said branding could be intensified to sell Port Harcourt as a rallying point for the South-South/South East economic boost, saying those who make the Lagos economy tick are mostly from the east of Niger.
The Mayor won the 2022 brand champion award organised by DMOMA group and says he is keen to remain atop of brand rating in the coming years, China won the 2022 Brand Champion Award in a strong field of contestants.
In essence, Mr China continued, the obsession of his business group is to spread happiness. He revealed his plan for the South/South East saying it is to bridge the dichotomy between Lagos and South-South/South East economic regions.
According to him, “There seems to be a huge dichotomy between the east and Lagos. If you get to Lagos, it is a fast-paced, fast-moving, highly capitalist and highly independent economy. Ironically, most of the people making these things happen in Lagos are actually from the South-South/South East economic belt.”
One of the things his group is keen to execute, he stated, is to bridge the quality and activity gap to tame the gap. “It’s not as if people here want to spend money in Lagos but if they can’t find the kind of quality they find in Lagos, everybody naturally gravitates to Lagos.
“So, we want the kind of efficiency and quality that happens in Lagos to be at least represented here in the East, especially PH and inspire people to stay here. We want people to know that if it’s possible in Lagos, it’s possible here.”
He said his brand is to make people want to patronise the East, especially PH, saying if it is possible in Lagos, it is possible in the East. He said his group would copy whatever is possible anywhere in the world is possible in the East and in the South-South.
On the large following of the youths for the Mayor of Housing brand, Mr China said his brand mostly promotes youth and entrepreneurship, music, comedy, and entertainment. In this regard, the brand champion said the award being overwhelmingly regarded especially by the youths is a call for his organisation to help the youth more. “It’s a motivation for us and a serious commitment to us because we are in pole position to strive harder.
“Any failure on our side will pull down a lot of people and any success will mean lifting people. For us, the greatest achievement you can have is not profit but that your profit is lifting others to rise. For us, it’s a huge motivation to stay on course and keep rising.”
Explaining the essence of DMOMA Award series, the chief organiser, Mr Chidiebere Okoye, said it is an online media award engineered by over 14 bloggers.
Mr Okoye, who is the Rivers State chairman of bloggers association of Nigeria, said the DMOMA Award is open to all of Nigeria but is dedicated to promoting excellence.
He said: “Nominations for 2023 are already coming in from outside Nigeria such as Kenya and Poland. It’s open to the world but Nigeria is the focus, for now. It targets brands and individuals who have achieved uncommon excellence.”
Mr Okoye said the award series seeks to close the economic gap between regions and to unify regions and people as well as bring focus to Port Harcourt.
He said: “It brings all professions together and seeks to unify the nation between the north and south. It also focuses attention on Rivers State as the host state. It beams Rivers State to the world.
“Many personalities that came to Rivers State for the 2022 edition and saw the development and dizzying infrastructure were impressed. This annual event thus promotes the South.”
On unity, the organisers said DMOMA awards series takes nominations from all over Nigeria and thus, the South East and South-South get some visibility. “Winner of music for 2022 is from the North. It brings celebrities and brands together to the south.”
Saying the award is in 4th edition, DMOMA boss said there is a lot of clout about the winners. “The Mayor of Housing won as the brand champion of the year. His brand is unique. He competed with big names but beat them. Some of them thought size is a brand, but people voted for those whose lives were impacted by the brands.
“Big brands wondered why, but they were shown evidence. You do not sit in your house and win. It has processes. People nominate you, vote for you, etc.”
He said the Mayor of Housing represents the new face of branding where you connect with the youths, the entertainment players, and those who want to grow, the startups.
“So, it is about excellence and impact on people or community. It’s about impact on lives and businesses. Popularity is good but it must be followed by impact.”
Showing how the winners are assessed, Okoye said there are ways of verifying the nominees. “Some 14 bloggers are behind this contest. They take their time. They look at the names nominated and then shortlist those that met certain standards.
“Last year, some big brands contested in the brand of the year category which attracted 21 nominations but only four were shortlisted by the award academy. Then public voting followed.”
The award has a fixed date every year (every December 4th), but looking back, the CEO of DMOMA said the winners were always the best. “In 2022, Bro Felix Obuah won the choicest person of the year. It is evident that people love him.
“The man who won Engineer of the Year is known to be loved by workers; other engineers know him. They testified.”
On the Mayor of Housing, he said: “This brand is steadily making waves in Nigeria and Port Harcourt especially. His brand powers music, comedy and entertainment. One artist powered by the Mayor of Housing is now abroad, and is an award winner now.”
For the 2023 edition, Mr Okoye said the Mayor of Housing seems to be flying high again. “Anybody can nominate anybody. It’s open, and it’s going on. There are 37 categories.
“The person that built the UPTH won an award last year. He said since he built it, he is just being mentioned and recognised. The award will continue to run because we want to use it to fish out good patriots and those who help the youth.”
Over all, he said, the essence of the award series and brand promotion is to bring attention to the economy of the South-South and South East and attract the return of businesses and investors to the region by giving them the fast business life in Lagos and create business intensity back to the region.
The hunger for businesses to try the east and south-south seems to be growing bigger everyday going by efforts to promote the east and encourage those in Lagos to think about relocating their businesses east of the Niger. The activities of unknown gunmen and pressing for Sit-At-Home seems to push returnees more to Port Harcourt.
With the coming together of the likes of the Mayor of Housing, the East, especially Port Harcourt may be on fire again and compete with Lagos and most other happening centres in Africa like Cairo and Johannesburg.
Recently groups have intensified efforts to attract investments and businesses back to the East and the South-South, especially Port Harcourt.
While some have started mapping out large areas to develop industrial estates, others have created entertainment zones to tune up the intensity and pace of the south east and south-south to attract businesses.
One of such groups, the DMOMA Prestigious Awards, have chosen Port Harcourt as the host city so global attention would rivet to the oil city in the coming years.
The brains behind the move to make the east bounce back have reasoned that the fast pace and hyper-activity of the Lagos business life is the reason why most investors from the east and south-south prefer to move to Lagos.
For this reason, some business strategists and brand promoters cutting across real estate, banking, engineering, entertainment, media branding, online space, and engineering have come together to fight for this business shift east of the Niger.
On one side, an effort is driven by a colony of bloggers under the DMOMA Awards with huge support from the Mayor of Housing.
Leader of DMOMA group, Okoye, said the major target is to create business attention to the East and Port Harcourt as well as unify Nigeria.