As Nigeria marks 19 years of democracy today after the return to civilian rule, opinion is divided on how well the country has harnessed the dividends of democratic governance.
While a school of thought holds that the dark days of military dictatorship and autocratic rule, which the return to democracy in 1999 put paid to, remains a high point worth celebrating; there is a contrary view in many quarters that, in spite of the switch from jack-boots to civilian attire, Nigeria remains mired in a seemingly unending struggle to enthrone the values of true and all-inclusive democracy.
On May 29th 1999, Nigerians had witnessed a momentous change of guard; one which finally saw the country shed its well-worn toga of a pariah state when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo took office as President of Nigeria, the first elected and civilian head of state following 16 long years of military rule.
Nineteen years after, the jury is still out on whether our nascent democracy is thriving…
One area in which a sense of democracy has thrived and continues to thrive, however, is the Nigerian e-commerce sector.
For long regarded as a potential cash-cow, e-commerce in Nigeria has seen the influx of a number of entrants or players, foreign and local, all of whom capitalized on the freedom and democratization of access to take roots, spread their tentacles and attempt to reap the windfall from an industry that has been severally predicted to explode.
And why not?
With a booming youthful population, growing internet access and an aspirational mindset among the majority of its populace, e-commerce in Nigeria is widely regarded as the next big thing; an industry that could transform even the most hopeless start-up to a multi-million-dollar company in a couple of years.
Experience, nevertheless, tells a different tale.
A tale of false starts, of shattered dreams, of the untold stories of many who came, saw and quietly exited the scene.
The Nigerian business terrain, democratic though it may be, is a tough one to successfully navigate. Aside the near-absence of any form of government support for the technology sector, in which e-commerce is firmly situated, start-ups in this industry face a herculean battle to stay afloat. It is a battle akin to swimming against a strong tide.
In addition to being a cost-intensive venture, cracking e-commerce in Nigeria requires a large dose of local knowledge; not only of the peculiar business terrain but also of the cultural nuances and predilections that shape the shopping behavior of the average Nigerian.
One of these shopping traits is the uncompromising desire of every Nigerian for genuine quality.
You may claim to offer the best prices unmatched anywhere else but as long as the item or product in question is fake or sourced from a grey channel, you had better not waste that marketing budget.
Here in Nigeria, e-commerce is democracy; a democratic rule governed by offering the average shopper a range of shopping platforms, online and offline; a multiplicity of payment options: cash, online payment, e-wallet, etc. and delivery solutions that guarantee no late delivery stories.
Above all, you must provide access to genuine products and take responsibility for it.
In reality though, a pertinent question worth asking: how many e-commerce companies in Nigeria can claim absolute responsibility for the quality of products they carry? How many can trace the source of their items to the Original Equipment Manufacturers? And how many can boast of owning warehouses for stocking large volumes?
Perhaps, only one stands out…
Recently, smart Nigerians have begun pushing a movement to enthrone quality democracy in their shopping activities; a democratic insistence on quality.
It began like a whisper that started catching on in social circles and has now gained currency among many.
A phrase that brings to life the determination of every Nigerian shopper to get only the very best quality. Put in another way, Konga Me is a new universal language for genuine products only. It is a term that has become popular, not only among young ones, but among adults and trendy youths to differentiate quality products from fake ones sourced from unreliable platforms.
Used to refer quality-minded shoppers to Konga, the e-commerce giant that emerged from the merger between Yudala and Konga after the latter’s acquisition by the Zinox Group, Konga Me is also used to request for quality gifts or favours from friends, family and associates.
As Nigeria marks 19 years of democracy today, Tuesday May 29th 2018, there is no better time to insist on quality product democracy… Indeed, no better time to Konga Me.