The distance from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria, to Imo State- in south-eastern Nigeria, takes approximately 10-12 hours. Unfortunately, this journey took me over 23 hours. After attending a conference at Top Rank hotel in Abuja, I and my colleagues went to a park in Abuja. Our vehicle left the park at some minutes before 9 pm. I was surprised when our vehicle stopped at Kogi state and spent over an hour that night to pick up more passengers.
We finally left Kogi state, but oh my God, we were virtually moving at snail speed. At 3 am, our vehicle developed a fault. We spent about 45 minutes in the middle of nowhere trying to get the vehicle working again. At about 10 minutes past 8 in the morning, the vehicle stopped in the middle of an expressway and caused a major hold up. We later discovered that the vehicle was out of fuel. I was infuriated!
To cut a long story short, we had about 4 more stopovers; first was due to a mechanical failure of the vehicle, second to get fuel at the company’s park in Anambra state. Surprisingly, the driver was nowhere to be seen after refueling. A lady passenger went to file a complaint at the manager’s office and found our ‘sweet’ driver engaged in an office meeting- during a journey!! The lady got angry and resorted to shouting and one of the workers wanted to beat her for an “assumed” lack of respect. Yes, beat her up for voicing her anger about the companies’ inefficiency. We finally got to our destination at some minutes past 8 in the night.
Unfortunately, this lack of professionalism and efficiency persists in many businesses in Africa today. Many business owners and entrepreneurs refuse to develop and innovate. There has been a shift from customer satisfaction to solely profit-making. Universities do not care if the curriculum is up to date with current technology, but the students must pay their fees. Banks and telecommunication companies charge their customers and subscribers awfully and find some technical terminologies to cover up for the corporate extortion. It looks unpatriotic for me to purchase rice that is smuggled or imported into Nigeria from Thailand. But we fail to observe that the reason a lot of people still buy the more expensive and smuggled rice in Nigeria is to avoid going for stone-induced surgical operations associated with our locally grown rice.
Africa’s business people should start shifting from what is not working to what is working. A shift to the use of hybrid seeds and follow-up of updates of modern practices in agriculture will ensure high productivity and a competitive market in the global stage. When African businesses step up their game by cutting down irrelevant charges in a bid to make more profit, harness the efficiency of modern technology, they will not only reduce cost of production that will ensure more profitability and drive demand for their product, it will also help to increase their chances of competing on a global stage.
Ubazoro, Russel (EAL)