Nigerian Consumers deserve better – Akonte

Nigerian Consumers deserve better – Akonte



Akonte Ekine, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Analyst of BrandXchange consumer value in Nigeria. The chief executive who chatted with BusinessDay affirmed that consumers who spent their hard-earned money on goods and services deserve the corresponding value.  Excerpts…

What spurred you into empowering consumers to give feedback on brands because it appears that only a few people care about consumer plight?

We know that sincere companies appreciate consumer feedback through different platforms. We have also done a series of work speaking from the brands perspective to consumers and we felt we should see the possibility of flipping the coin such that the consumers should be the one doing the talking that could bring some form of validity to the promises of brands.

And let us say the truth, we are consumers and we all care about our plights but the challenge is that we seem to have been wired to leave things to some elements, otherwise why do we look for services that we think should equal our taste and interest?

Also, there are many people contributing greatly to the consumer narratives, it is sometimes more work in the background than for the media to see, but we are all involved in ensuring that we have a better consumer experience in the country.

From Marketing Communication practice to Consumer Value Awards, what informed the transition?

There is no transition; we are still in the work of marketing communications because what we aim to do is to promote brand excellence through creating awareness for the rights of consumers. However, the journey started from my experiences in the marketplace in different sectors of the economy. I once spent my good money to buy a brand-new car through a bank and just two weeks after, the car developed a problem. I complained to the seller and to my insurance but they didn’t even show interest in the situation. I invited a lawyer to do a letter to the vehicle sellers/manufacturer’s representative here and they only said the lawyer will not even make them move. So, I was left dry spending money on the car. Another one was my flight from Abuja when I and another passenger were deprived of boarding because of one big man. I reported this matter to the Police station at the Airport. I could not make the flight that day. I wrote to Consumer Protection Council Lagos office, but never got a response then one day from nowhere I got a call that I should bring a witness or two to explain what happened. Unfortunately, the other man said he is not interested because his work will not allow him to do such a thing, I later found out he works with Standard Organization of Nigeria, which should make him more interested but alas he wasn’t. So, I have a catalogue of experiences like most Nigerians and then I have also followed Sola Salako Ajulo’s work to the point where I think she became a lone voice in this situation and we deserve to have more people involved in the cry for better service. It is not easy earning money in this country and then offer poor service.

You have held the first edition of Consumer Value Awards, CVA, what was the experience?

First, we thank God for the courage and opportunity to hold that first edition, I will use this platform to thank Adedayo Ojo for is leadership. The feedback was very encouraging judging from the remarks of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, National Food and Drug Control Agency, and Nigeria Communications Commission for attending and commending the initiative. That we got the 200-capacity venue filled is good feedback and I thank all those that attended the event and those that took time to vote.

Consumertrics recalls, Consumers Value Broadcasting (CVB) Limited had introduced an award for consumers to vote for their favourite brands and personalities based on their experiences.

While launching the website for the award, Managing Director of CVB, Akonte Ekine, said in a statement that the move was a proactive measure to enlist mass awareness of consumers to their rights as consumers.

He said the move became expedient given the current clustered market and growing concern about consumer vulnerability in the country.