News

  13 Jul 2020

31ST INAUGURAL LECTURE OF ABSU: NIGERIANS URGED TO EMBRACE PROJECT NAIJA AND SHUN “AKPIRI BEKEE” TO ENHANCE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The concept of Project Naija and its manifestation in consumption lifestyles can significantly change the face of Nigeria’s production and service sectors, which in turn will spur National Development.

A Professor of Marketing and Director, Academic Planning, Abia State University, *Ihegazie Sunday Okpara*, who stated this while delivering the 31st Inaugural Lecture of the University, on the topic: *PROJECT NAIJA: DECONSTRUCTING THE CONSUMPTION COMPLEX SYNDROME (AKPIRI BEKEE) FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT*, commended the Governor and Visitor to the University, *Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D*, for being  a passionate Ambassador of Project Naija and unwittingly assuming the role of the Chief Marketing Officer of Aba made shoes and clothings, with huge attendant positive consequences on the State Economy.

Consumption Complex Syndrome as propounded by the Inaugural Lecturer is defined as *”a state of the consumer’s mind, which predisposes him to favour and prefer foreign labelled products, without a consistently justifiable reason for this”*. This, he attributed to inferiority complex, which everyone has in different degrees.

The Lecturer further disclosed that people pre-disposed to Consumption Syndrome are likely to have the following attributes:

*1*. *Hypocritical Attitude*:- People who feel innately deficient, hardly see others as sufficient.

*2*. *Blame Tendecy*:- For them, all their shortcomings are caused by others .

*3*. *Feeling of Persecution*:- A feeling that others are seeking to ruin them.

*4*. *Inappropriate Response to Flattery*:- Constantly fishing for compliments.

*5*. *Insensitivity to Criticism*:- Dislike for others to point out their shortcomings.

*6*. *Tendency towards Seclusion*:- Feeling of not being as intelligent as others.

*7*. *Negative Feeling about Competition*:- Avoiding all forms of competitive engagements.

The Lecturer defined *Consumer Behaviour* in Marketing as the study of the process undergone by individuals and Institutions as they select, secure, use and dispose of products and services, plus the impact of this process on them. “Consumer behaviour is very vital, as the understanding of the process helps companies and regulators in their strategies and policies”.

The thrust of the Inaugural Lecture, according to him, “is explaining the factors and trends that shape a consumer’s behaviour towards local products and the ways Nigerian Companies and Government can effectively use this information to bolster domestic product patronage”.

*National Development*, on the other hand, refers to the ability of a Nation to improve the lives of its citizens and this can be weighed by examining the following basic indicators:

🔸 Poverty
🔸 Hunger
🔸 Education
🔸 Employment
🔸 Environment
🔸 Industry
🔸 Infrastructure.

*Project Naija* is a coinage for National Rebirth, rooted in attitudinal change in favour of Nigerian products, services and values.

According to Professor Okpara, an expert in Development Marketing, Strategic Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, several reasons had been adduced for the raving preference of foreign goods- *quality*, *price* and *packaging*, which had been largely refuted in a Blind Brand Experiment (Okpara, 2007). He however, posits that the penchant could be placed on the crave by Nigerians to belong and avoid loosing “face”, which is in the domain of shame. “Therefore, managing consumption complex should commence with managing “shame” in the minds of the consumers”.

The Lecturer, therefore, made the following *recommendations* to enhance patronage of home made products.

🔸 That promotional strategies by Government and stakeholders should be encouraged.

🔸 That effective paradigm shift in Attitude to domestic products should be encouraged.

🔸 That Nigerians should be made to understand that domestic products have come a long way in quality (thanks to regulatory bodies) and that the so-called foreign products, may actually be made in Nigeria.

🔸 That “Celebrity endorsement” for domestic products and services are vital in boosting confidence in home products.

🔸 That Government should handle the “Institutional voids” of business-power, road infrastructure, security, tax, forex etc.

In conclusion, Professor Okpara stated: *”we are Nigerians and Project Naija, is “Project Us”. You and I can reinvigorate the Nation’s economy by Thinking Right, Shopping Right and Consuming Right”.*

The Lecturer described the Vice-Chancellor, *Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne* as a Consummate Academic and Iconic Leader of inestimable value, with uncommon qualities which have transformed the University into an enviable Citadel of Learning.

In appreciation, the Vice-Chancellor and Chairman, *Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne*, formally welcomed the Lecturer into the *”College of Distinguished Professors”*.

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