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The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo - Business - Nairaland

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The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by NorthSharp(m): 1:35pm On Jul 03, 2012
The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo


"Even the blind can see the storms gathering across the Nigerian sky. The question left unanswered is, will they come together in such a formation that it becomes a perfect storm? If it happens, it will blow a lot of people away. But the people most vulnerable are the Igbo. Unfortunately, they have no clue about what is happening up in the sky.

Some have argued so eloquently that the security situation in Northern Nigeria is not a Northern problem. They argue that the Boko Haram threat to the security in Northern Nigeria is a Nigerian problem. It might as well be. But it is an existential problem for the Igbo.

For so many people in Nigeria, Youth Corpers, students, police men, government officials, who find themselves in Northern Nigeria it is a problem. For the Igbo, it is not just a subject of debate. It is not just a problem. It is haunting reality. Many have fled the North. They have abandoned homes and property.

Depending on where you are, your perceptions of events may differ. Watching from Lagos, you do what Nigerians do very well - you pray that Boko Haram doesn’t attack Lagos and force the OPC to declare war. If you are watching from the East, you see tens and tens of folks from your village bringing back their wives, children, spring bed and mattresses. For them the war is on. The country is in disarray. The dream is over. And watching from abroad, the fear is that the perfect storm is about to set on the sky of Nigeria.

The Azazi led security team essentially came up with this rudimentary strategy: get some Christians, pay them and assure them of no prosecution. Send them out to plant bombs in a few churches to make it look as if Christians are also planting bombs in churches. That did not work. Then they came up with the plan to get some Muslims to plant bombs in a mosque so that it would look as if Boko Haram is also bombing mosques. The hope was that maybe that move would cause disaffection for Boko Haram with people in that community. Again, that did not work. So rudimentary. So cheap. So lacking in imagination.

The hope that many of you have now is that the prince of Sokoto, Sambo Dasuki, will gain the trust of security agents and Boko Haram sympathizers who feel that this is all political. With Dasuki, you hope that those who feel alienated in the distribution of power in Nigeria could relax and rejoin the political process. You hope it works. You hope the Boko Haram genie can still be put back in the box.

Like the militants of the Niger Delta, even if Boko Haram group is quelled, we know they can always reactivate their fight whenever it suits them, irrespective of what rehabilitation they went through. When the real and imagined injustices and structural imbalances that permeate every facet of life in Nigeria remain unaddressed, the return to battle is guaranteed.
But that is not the biggest threat facing the Igbo. That problem they could see. And the wise ones have reacted with their feet.

The biggest problem facing the Igbo is so subtle. We got a glimpse of it penultimate week when some traders at Balogun market demonstrated against the Chinese who have come into Nigeria to do business.

The Balogun market branch Dealers of Bags and Leather Wears Association of Nigeria had a protest march against some Chinese business men. They accused the Chinese men of retailing leather products at a very cheap rate, thereby forcing these traders to operate at a loss. The traders said it was a systematic plan to undermine and kill off their business in Nigeria.

These traders said that they have been facing this problem for over five years now- that was when the Chinese came. They wanted the Chinese to remember that the reason the Federal Government allowed them to operate in Nigeria was to build industries that would create employment. These protesting traders called for dialogue with the Chinese with the hope that afterwards the Chinese would go back home and bring machines to set up industries.

One after the other they lined up and spoke to the press, begging the government to come to their aid. They said if the activities of the Chinese were not checked, thousands of them would lose their source of livelihood. If you read their statements you would be sorry for them. These men were shedding tears over the Chinese. They did not know that Walmart is on its way.

According to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Walmart is on its way to Nigeria. This news was also confirmed by the Nigerian ambassador to the United States who told Empowered Newswire that Walmart plans to open two stores in Nigeria. Walmart came into Africa when it bought a controlling share in South Africa’s Massmart Holdings Ltd.
Already Africa’s largest grocer, South African Shoprite, is in Nigeria and other big retail stores like Pepkor Ltd are making plans to come. According to Pepkor Ltd CEO, the clothing company “plans to ride on the coat tails of Shoprite.” So the Igbo traders shedding tears over the Chinese have not seen anything yet.

Currently, these stores appear to target high-income earners in big cities. But over time, they would default to serving low-income earners everywhere in Nigeria. Pepkor, for instance, plans to open up to 50 stores in Nigeria. And that is when these traders will shed more than tears.

Of course, people like the CEO of Pepkor, Mr. Wiese are saying, “there’s enough for everybody. It’s a growing market.” And I bet you, if you get the Chinese business men to speak to the media, they would say the same thing.

The real truth is that the Igbo business model of opening stores in markets across city centers is coming to an end. In a generation or two, there won’t be anything like that anymore. It would all go the way Mom and Pop stores disappeared in American cities where Walmart and Targets set up shop.

The Igbo business model is simple. At the top is an importer. His job is to import items from overseas and have a chain of wholesalers move the goods across Nigeria. The wholesalers on their own have a chain of retailers who buy from them and sell at markets across Nigeria. In one swoop, the Chinese and Walmart will replace all the Igbo traders on this chain from importers to retailers.

The question now is what will the Igbo do before Balogun, Ojo Alaba International, Ochanja, Ogbete, and other markets across Nigeria are turned into Malls, theaters and football fields? With millions of Igbo men and women who engage in retail business across Africa, what happens after the Walmarts of this world have settled in? What happens when regular Nigerians have become accustomed to walking into air-conditioned stores; looking up marked prices, paying for what they can afford and returning items they do not want seven days after they purchased it?

I trust that the Igbo will not fold their arms and go on the street to beg. I believe they will find something else to do. But it will be good if they begin to strategize now. It will be great if a ten-year and twenty-year plans for transition are put in place. I believe that a plan to transition into manufacturing, turning Aba and Nnewi and Nkpor into manufacturing hubs will greatly keep the Igbo in play as the Chinese and Walmart take their places in Africa.

The last war took the Igbo by surprise. They fought gallantly and lost. The debriefing has not been done. As a result, the aftermath of that war is still ravaging the Igbo society. This new war, already in progress, should not take the Igbo by surprise."

Link: http://saharareporters.com/column/end-igbo-business-model-rudolf-ogoo-okonkwo
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by NorthSharp(m): 2:12pm On Jul 03, 2012
Many points raised by Rudolf in this fine article provide good food-for-thought not only for the Igbos for all Nigerians.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Nobody: 2:19pm On Jul 03, 2012
When I mentioned this on Nairaland, I was labelled an Igbo hater. You don't have to be Nostradamus to see this, it will be gradual but it will surely happen.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Nobody: 2:51pm On Jul 03, 2012
Chei!! Nsogbu! very scary!
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by bashr8: 3:05pm On Jul 03, 2012
Aigbofa: When I mentioned this on Nairaland, I was labelled an Igbo hater. You don't have to be Nostradamus to see this, it will be gradual but it will surely happen.
so what about the yorubas and the north that are already finding it toguh what will now happen to them , i will like to see u write an article about that , igbos can take care of themselves. divide nigeria and we igbos will end the madness of importation , aba and onitsha indutries will spring back to life again like it were in the 80s and before the war ,if we continue with this nigeria and all those comapnies come into nigeria we will all go down with your yoruba and northern people having it worse than igbos.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by hardywaltz(m): 3:10pm On Jul 03, 2012
I wish life where this simple unfortunately it isn't. With business when 1 avenue closes another opportunity presents its self, will Wallmart and shoprite also build stores in Kano, Katsina, kaduna etc, definitely NO. Last week I was in Zaria and virtually all the stores selling electronic where own by Igbos and I asked my cousin what he was still doing there and the reply was simple, the people here are too lasy to provide services for themselves, so provide it for them with a fee, and Yes its risky living here but people who were sleeping in their homes got hit by a plane.
When the tym comes the Igbo business man will shift strategy.

2 Likes

Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Lisa1: 3:22pm On Jul 03, 2012
Well down
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by EkoIle1: 3:37pm On Jul 03, 2012
What is this rudolf guy talking about? Shebi kidnapping still dey?

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Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Nobody: 3:44pm On Jul 03, 2012
bashr8: so what about the yorubas and the north that are already finding it toguh what will now happen to them , i will like to see u write an article about that , igbos can take care of themselves. divide nigeria and we igbos will end the madness of importation , aba and onitsha indutries will spring back to life again like it were in the 80s and before the war ,if we continue with this nigeria and all those comapnies come into nigeria we will all go down with your yoruba and northern people having it worse than igbos.

You can bury your head in the sand and pretend Yorubas will suffer more or you can heed the warning that thousands of your people are about to be forced into the labor market. It's your choice.



hardywaltz: I wish life where this simple unfortunately it isn't. With business when 1 avenue closes another opportunity presents its self, will Wallmart and shoprite also build stores in Kano, Katsina, kaduna etc, definitely NO. Last week I was in Zaria and virtually all the stores selling electronic where own by Igbos and I asked my cousin what he was still doing there and the reply was simple, the people here are too lasy to provide services for themselves, so provide it for them with a fee, and Yes its risky living here but people who were sleeping in their homes got hit by a plane.
When the tym comes the Igbo business man will shift strategy.

I laugh in Abiriba.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by 9javoice1(m): 3:55pm On Jul 03, 2012
Fear not brother's. i live in china for about 10years now.

This country has big supermarket's all around,
starting from " WALLMART, TRUSTMART, SEVEN ELEVEN, PACKNSHOP, LOTUS, SHOPRITE, CAREFOR" ETC
But guess what open market is booming as never before. you dont need to be a prophet to know this.
watch and see.

is there any amount of foriegn resturant that can in to nigeria and local foods shall not be petronizing by us?
the answer is no no no.

fear not my there brothers.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Nobody: 4:06pm On Jul 03, 2012
bashr8: so what about the yorubas and the north that are already finding it toguh what will now happen to them , i will like to see u write an article about that , igbos can take care of themselves. divide nigeria and we igbos will end the madness of importation , aba and onitsha indutries will spring back to life again like it were in the 80s and before the war ,if we continue with this nigeria and all those comapnies come into nigeria we will all go down with your yoruba and northern people having it worse than igbos.

Yup, lets blame the lack of competing power on the loss of the civil war. smh
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by 9javoice1(m): 4:10pm On Jul 03, 2012
Let us use SouthAfrica as a ket study.
they have many of this multimillion dollar supermarkets but guess what
"igbo's in south africa has taking away the control of open markets from arabs, indians, chinese and whites"

if we can do it in foreign land, then we can do much more here.

the rich will face supermarkets for their daily use items yet depend much on open market for bigger orders.
while the poor shall depend so much on the open market both in their daily use items etc.

tell me how many design of t-shirt and casual wears super market have, men its impossible.

the igbos are here for live. The only thing that destroys a man's vision is fear.
we can't be afraid, even here in china we are taking away from the local chinese the open market
though the chinese are still very strong in manufacturing and company business,
so relax and enjoy the game.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by kettykin: 4:32pm On Jul 03, 2012
The end of a Business Model will mark the beginning of yet another business model , the only permanet thing in life is change , The very smart igbo business men are no longer doing buying nd selling in parts of the north an e.g is innosson who was into motorcycle manufacturing and before motorcycle business declined through banning of motorcycle he already migrated to Car manufacturing and plastic industries.

At the turn of the century many igbos went into large scale farming owning palm , rubber , cocoa plantation doing business with White importers but all that changed 40 years after (after the civil war) when igbo went into manufacturing , importation , wholesale and retailing all over the country and i think it is about to change 40 years after the civil war as new generation igbos are already into international Banking , Shipping ,Haulage , Pharmaceutical , Manufacturing e.t.c
Quite a very well thought out article whose timing is right , i think the same way igbos are divesting from the north, they should start divesting from lagos , further investment into landed property in Lagos should stop forthwith and progress of work in the dredging of River Niger ,Ibaka sea port the International airport in Enugu and the Interntional Cargo Airport in Owerri should be sped up .
There are enough Diasporan funds that can be used as a seed for new busines opportunities. My hear felt sympathy goes to

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Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by TechRev: 5:00pm On Jul 03, 2012
If Igbos can rise from the ashes of the civil war, i doubt if this will close up the ibo man.

2 Likes

Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by NorthSharp(m): 8:55pm On Jul 03, 2012
kettykin: The end of a Business Model will mark the beginning of yet another business model , the only permanet thing in life is change , The very smart igbo business men are no longer doing buying nd selling in parts of the north an e.g is innosson who was into motorcycle manufacturing and before motorcycle business declined through banning of motorcycle he already migrated to Car manufacturing and plastic industries.

At the turn of the century many igbos went into large scale farming owning palm , rubber , cocoa plantation doing business with White importers but all that changed 40 years after (after the civil war) when igbo went into manufacturing , importation , wholesale and retailing all over the country and i think it is about to change 40 years after the civil war as new generation igbos are already into international Banking , Shipping ,Haulage , Pharmaceutical , Manufacturing e.t.c
Quite a very well thought out article whose timing is right , i think the same way igbos are divesting from the north, they should start divesting from lagos , further investment into landed property in Lagos should stop forthwith and progress of work in the dredging of River Niger ,Ibaka sea port the International airport in Enugu and the Interntional Cargo Airport in Owerri should be sped up .
There are enough Diasporan funds that can be used as a seed for new busines opportunities. My hear felt sympathy goes to

I believe that for a long time to come, and whether we remain as one Nigeria or we go our separate ways, the Igbos would continue to be far ahead of other Nigerian ethnic groups when it comes to business and commerce, local or international.

However, I think the part in bold is not a solution to the potential competition the Igbo are likely to face from international retailers such as Wallmart, or from the Chinese traders who take to street trading in Nigeria); instead of divesting from the North and Lagos, the Igbos would need even bigger market in the future.

That is why I believe ordinary core Northerners and ordinary Igbos are worst affected by the murderous activities.
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by bashr8: 3:22am On Jul 04, 2012
kingoflag:

Yup, lets blame the lack of competing power on the loss of the civil war. smh
mugu where did i write about civil war, igbos are at the top of their game and no amount of wall mart can change that. uac, kingsway and lot others tried and where are they now.i will give shoprite 4 years it will pack up. go and ask the chines and indians that tried to invade the south east and south south , they have all closed up and gone back home , the ones in lagos are trying to bribe lagos govt to get favours cus they are finding it tough ,walmart or whatever are the least of our problem now .
Re: The End Of Igbo Business Model - By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo by Nobody: 8:19am On Jul 04, 2012
bashr8: mugu where did i write about civil war,.

bashr8: . divide nigeria and we igbos will end the madness of importation , aba and onitsha indutries will spring back to life again like it were in the[b] 80s and before the war[/b] ,if we continue with this nigeria and all those comapnies come into nigeria we will all go down with your yoruba and northern people having it worse than igbos.

Not My words dude . . . YOURS!!!
smh

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