Akonte Ekine, Founder BrandXchange and Convener Consumers Value Awards, and stakeholder in the Nigerian consumerism ecosystem writes the PBAT on the recent “Dismiss” (as an initial statement by Ajuri Ngalele tagged it) of Mr. Babatunde Irukera as the EVC/CEO, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC). Ekine counsels the government on doing the needful as it shops for the next FCCPC’s EVC/CEO.
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing in line with the right of the consumer to be part of conversations in the country and as such please permit me to quote you on the subject of your interest as expressed in your New Year greetings to us on 1st January 2024.
“I am well aware that for some time now the conversations and debates have centered on the rising cost of living, high inflation which is now above 28% and the unacceptable high under-employment rate.
From the boardrooms at Broad Street in Lagos to the main streets of Kano and Nembe Creeks in Bayelsa, I hear the groans of Nigerians who work hard every day to provide for themselves and their families.
I am not oblivious to the expressed and sometimes unexpressed frustrations of my fellow citizens. I know for a fact that some of our compatriots are even asking if this is how our administration wants to renew their hope’’.
Your Excellency, I commend you for observing our situations across the country.
In line with your observation, I would like to express my deep concern regarding the recent disengagement of Mr. Babatunde Irukera, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Mr. Irukera. He has been instrumental in championing consumer rights in Nigeria since his appointment in 2019.
Having attended the 2023 Edition of the Consumer International Congress in Nairobi, it became evident that consumerism plays a crucial role in shaping economies and societies. We consumers, amidst the challenges of a high cost of living, deserve better recognition and protection of our rights.
Mr. Irukera’s tenure has seen significant strides in safeguarding consumers from unfair trade practices and ensuring fair competition. I pray that his removal will not jeopardize the progress made and I am also consoled by the statement made by your Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, that “the decision was in conformity with plans to restructure and reposition critical agencies of the Federal Government towards protecting the rights of Nigerian consumers and providing a strong basis for enhanced contributions to the nation’s economy by key growth-enabling institutions”.
As you consider the new and next head of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, I humbly request that your searchlight should be on someone with the following skills, quality and character:
Expertise in Consumer Protection: The selected individual should have a strong background and expertise in consumer protection, competition law, and related fields.
Proven Track Record: A candidate with a proven track record of advocating for consumer rights and implementing effective consumer protection measures. Experience in similar roles or organizations is a valuable asset.
Ethical Leadership: The appointed individual should demonstrate high ethical standards and a commitment to upholding consumer rights. This includes a willingness to take a stand against unfair business practices and protect consumers from exploitation.
Strategic Vision: A visionary leader with a strategic mindset can contribute to the long-term success of consumer protection initiatives. The ability to develop and implement policies that address current and future challenges in the market is crucial.
Collaborative Skills: Consumer protection involves collaboration with various stakeholders, including government agencies, businesses, and non-governmental organizations. The appointed head should possess strong interpersonal and collaboration skills to navigate these relationships effectively.
Communication Skills: Effective communication is key in raising awareness about consumer rights and building trust with the public. The head should be able to communicate complex issues clearly and understandably to us.
Adaptability: Given the dynamic nature of markets and consumer needs, the appointed individual should be adaptable and open to innovation. This includes the ability to respond to emerging challenges and technological advancements that may impact consumer protection as highlighted in Nairobi.
Transparency and Accountability: Transparency and accountability are crucial in ensuring public trust. The appointed head should be committed to transparent decision-making processes and be accountable for the outcomes of consumer protection initiatives.
It is my sincere hope that based on your observation and interest in restructuring and repositioning the commission you will make a good decision in your choice and therefore align with global standards and reinforce your commitment to promoting a fair and competitive market.
Thank you for your attention, I trust that you will act in our best interest
Akonte Ekine, Founder BrandXchange and Convener Consumers Value Awards