Entrepreneurs Cry Out: ELECTION FEVER KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!
With the postponement of the February 14, 2015 elections to March 28 and April 11 respectively, over what the Federal Government of Nigeria called the unpreparedness of INEC, and the need to recapture some of the lost territories to the dreaded Boko Haram, entrepreneurs have been counting their losses, notwithstanding that there are still probable fears that the elections might be shifted again. Some of them who responded to our vox pop recounted how the postponement of the last general elections took a toll on their businesses. Some even said they are incapable of transacting businesses any further as their clients are afraid of what tomorrow holds. Below are what they told YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s GBENGA SHABA…
Amanda Ebeye (CEO, Amanda Ebeye O)
Everyone has caught the election bug. I’m quite nervous. Although, l’ll definitely vote. Nigeria needs change and change we shall get. People that want Nigeria to remain the same are selfish and that is why I’m voting for change.
Akanbi Owosunkanmi (CEO, The Personal Assistant International Services)
A good number of my clients belong to the corporate world and we get complaints from our clients who ordinarily would have started plans on their annual conferences. Such complaints as: we are waiting for the outcome of the elections; like they get information somewhere that Nigeria won’t exist after the elections. Funny, right? But that is the truth. We are supposed to import some conference materials from China, but if we do, it will fall within the elections, which is not safe for us. Also the price of materials have sky rocketed while the value of Naira is nose diving due to the rise in Dollars. It’s obvious that elections affected the value of Dollars because there has been too much flow of Dollars in the system. Some of the government agencies are complaining that the Federal Government hasn’t sent their budget because they are so buried in their plans for elections. So, they have to put all plans for their annual conference on hold. I’m sure the government is being smart by half a dozen. They are not sure of a return ticket . Spending on those agencies now might amount to a waste. Poor country. That’s where we find ourselves.
Akinrotoye Taiwo Patsy (MD, Noventinas Concepts)
As an entrepreneur, who is into selling of ladies’ fashion accessories (bags, shoe, jewelry), the effect is negative because these are luxury demands and since people now mostly care about what to eat, it has been having a negative effect on the sales of foodstuff because people tend to buy food. You know people prefer to buy food in bulk at home because of unforeseen circumstances.
Aminu Lateef Olamide (MD, Edible Foods Ltd.)
Well, sincerely speaking, with the kind of business I run, election fever has not really affected me because election or no election, people have to eat. But really, I just want the election to come and go, abeg.
Ajulo Olawale (CEO, AJ’S World)
Buyers seem to have distanced themselves from spending because of pre and post election violence as it has become a phenomenon in Nigeria. The high rise in importation is not assisting as well. Prices of goods we buy have gone up because we have to change to Dollar before we can transact business. I just hope there wont be post election violence because that can cripple the economy further.
Ebele The Flutist (Musician)
Hmm! I don’t just know what to say. Election fever has put so many things on hold because of fear of the unknown. Dollar’s rise is now affecting business. It’s just terrible, but we are all praying for a successful election!
Aralola Olamuyiwa (CEO, Lola Hair Port, Proangle Nig. Ltd, Ara Entertainment Production)
It’s business as usual at the salon, but the other two businesses have been a bit on a slow ride. People are treading with caution.
Segilola Oluwole (MD, Cinnamon Restaurant & Bar)
“Election Fever” has not directly affected our business. People must eat as you know. But it has affected the business as clients complain of not being liquid. If there is no money in circulation, pockets are lean. Subsequently, spending power reduces. Election 2015 will come and go and may it positively affect our lives for good. Amen.
Ossy Paul Cole (DMD, Oceanglory Commodities Ltd)
The forth coming general election is affecting businesses negatively and the major reason is the uncertainty. Most business owners, especially foreign investors, are not ready to take any risk pre and post election period. That’s why importation is at its lowest for the past 10 months. Another reason is because they are not sure the incumbent president would return and what will be their fate if a new president emerges on March 28, 2015. The new policies might not favor them.
Wilson Inam (Director, Wedding Singer Nigeria)
Basically, each time an election is approaching like this, you are careful and desirous to tidy up all on-going business transactions so as not to encounter delay. I am servicing the wedding industry and Saturdays are its major days, so also the general elections. This automatically means that some weddings meant to happen within those stipulated days will be cancelled, thereby prolonging the job. On the other hand, some couples may want to hasten the process by fixing their weddings before the election. That would certainly put you on the fast lane. And when you are in a hurry, you will not have so much room to bring all you intend to the fore.
Adeyemi Bamidele (CEO, Capaz Communications)
Activities have been so little. All our clients are saying they need to wait till after elections before any transaction could take place. Probably because they don’t know which party would eventually win the election. But, truly, all the focus now is on this forthcoming elections. But we are expecting a joyous journey after the elections.
Chibuzo JC Patrick (CEO, Meljenstin Nig. Ltd)
I can authoritatively tell you that the election fever crippled every form of business. People are scared to invest because no one is sure of the condition that this noble country will be in, no matter the outcome of the election. This singular fear of the unknown has made sponsors rigid, investors adamant, clients obstinate and even budget expenditure shifted till May. Honestly, no genuine entrepreneur is happy now. We all can’t wait for the election to be over for things to return to normal. Salaries must be paid to workers with or without income, so it’s terrible.
Biletiri Oluwafemi (MD, Biletiri and Associates)
The election has affected our business seriously because people are waiting till after the election before they can do any business now.
Osariemen Osagie Osas (CEO, Osas Empire)
Funny enough, the upcoming election has played a major role in the less flow of cash and a little bit of slow motion in the music business. But in all, as the days go by, business has been very good and productive. So, I will be using this medium to urge everyone of us to go out there and vote. #Vote For Change #Vote For The Best Of The Nation. Thanks.
Adebisi Ajibade (CEO, Moment Events)
It has affected Moment Events’ activities because we had an event on 14th of February, but it was postponed due to election; not knowing the election won’t hold and eventually we have another wedding on 28th of March, but it cant hold again because of the coming election. That aside, there is also this serious report I got from a branch of my business that a customer and my stylist had a serious fight because of politics. The customer is a politician, a PDP member and my stylist is an APC member. So, due to a documentary that was shown on AIT on Burahi, my stylist was trying to defend Burahi and was abusing GEJ, not knowing the customer is on GEJ’s side and in the process, fight ensued. I wasn’t there, but I got the report that my stylist was wounded.
Fisayo Ajibola (CEO, Perfectbrandsng)
Election fever has really crippled the Nigeria economy, with its rippling effect spilling to almost all businesses in the country. Clients are skeptical to engage in business because of not being sure how the election will turn out. And the few clients who are bold to give projects out are not ready to pay, but expect you to activate the project and expect your money after the election. There are bills to pay and if funds are not coming in, it’s a big issue, especially in a country like Nigeria where entrepreneurship is not encouraging.
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