To say that the KÈKÉ REVOLUTION took Nigeria by storm, is simply stating or putting it mildly. It’s become so much the reality of our time, enough for GOOGLE to notice it and use it as commemorative page during last years’ INDEPENDENCE DAY ANNIVERSARY, as seen in the picture below where Kèké takes the rear from other types of public transportation (DANFO and OKADA/ACHABA) modes as you will see in Nigeria’s major cities like Lagos.
A friend of mine took my advice following my last treatise on the ENTREPRENEURSHIP SERIES, and put all of his savings into purchasing one, in his bid to diversifying his source(s) of income. Infact, at the time he did it, he had only just enough to last a week fending for himself and his family.
He made some mistakes in the initial stages. Mistakes he would definitely not be making in subsequent investments in the business. To start with, he bought the Kèké at a little higher than the market price, because he trusted the coordinator (or CHAIRMAN as they are called) of the PARK (or TARMAC as the operators would like to call it) he wanted his Kèké to run in, and that one skimmed him of over =N=30,000 above the cost of the Tricycle brand (=N=370,000).
When later he got to know about this, he took it in his stride, seeing it as part of the teething stages of his introduction into the business. Another misfortune he encountered in the early days, and this was just a few months ago, was that the operator he got via the “Chairman” never lived up to expectation except for the first week he handled the Kèké, in terms of remitting the agreed sum of =N=13,000 weekly, coming up with one excuse or the other, from the easily plausible to the very ridiculous. Despite the fact that the agreement he appended his signature to, in the presence of the chairman, his guarantor (who it was later discovered even helped make remittance sometimes on the operators’ behalf with his own money, when he defaulted), amongst others, stipulated that the Kèké will be removed from him when he defaults. He managed to continue his shenanigans by exploiting the emotions of my friends’ wife for two months, within which he managed to remit a total sum equal to what he should’ve remitted in a month, and yet still short by =N=5,000.
It was at that point that the wool came off their eyes, as going at the rate the operator was making these returns, it will take ages to make =N=730,000 (being the total sum to be delivered at the end of the cycle, before it is handed over to the operator in the HIRE PURCHASE deal) in good time, enough for them to reinvest in the business. My friend did actually act, issuing warnings, many times through his wife, even going as far as retrieving the tricycle but after much pleadings, released it back to the operator, who again continued running things the way he’d always done without any attempt at change. Each time my friend passed by the tarmac on his way to work he would hardly see the operator handling his Kèké (though it didn’t necessarily mean the operator wasn’t working), once he left late for work and discovered many Kèké operators making a killing from the fact that DANFO (Kombi Buses used for public transportation in Nigeria) drivers were on strike over the exploitative nature of fees imposed upon them by their union, he was filled with rage when he saw his operator in front of a police station attending to some other issues he’d gotten himself embroiled in while his peers where taking advantage of the situation.
Not even the fact that the operators’ wife was about to put to bed at the time, was enough motivation for him to work hard, hence after two months, without prompting, my friend and his wife were in agreement that they had had enough, and called in their supposed “Goose”, that was meant to lay them “golden eggs.”
They decided to change tactics this time, entrusting the care of the Kèké into the hands of the chairman to assign to whomever he deemed fit, as long as deliveries are made as and at when due. This time around, their business plan worked, for the deliveries did come regularly, except for a few snags when the remittances were short by a thousand or two thousand naira, but in a space of four months the chairman had delivered to them the sum equal to half of what they invested as CAPITAL, leaving them enthusiastic enough to want to get another Kèké and continue in the business.
Because of my friend’s unsavoury situation in the first instance with the operator, he hadn’t paid for the procuring of a License Plate Number for the tricycle, and when the issue came up, he added a little to forfeiting a weeks’ due for it to be procured. Again, the chairman found it trite not to procure the Plate Number, as he noticed while monitoring his Kèké when he passed by the Tarmac on his way to work, but he wasn’t worried since he had done his part, knowing full well that there was no way he was going to be asked to part with another sum to procure what he’d already paid for.
It had had it’s ups and downs, but it is eventually beginning to look up for this friend of mine, who is looking to reinvest in the business in the coming weeks, having learnt lessons from his initial foray, now working together with his wife as de facto ENFORCER of his wishes in the business, while paying her a stipend for her overseeing role, because she has more flexible working hours to monitor events.
I have put this up to show you a few of the risks and a few ways to navigate the challenges of being a KEKEPRENEUR. I know a few people who had had to cut their losses in this business and could never see anything good about it, especially regarding the operators (one even got the Kèké burnt at the mechanic he’d taken it, while it was been repaired upside down, and it got soaked from fuel leaking from the tank), whom one must learn to properly manage, if one is to get the upside of this business, or like my friend did, handover the Tricycle to the chairman and not get entangled with operators, concerning oneself only with the coordinator or chairman (as the case may be) and remittances. I know of a chairman, who after the Kèké under his care got stolen where it was parked by an operator, continued to make remittances to the owner, which would’ve been almost impossible had the operator been directly remitting to the owner.
I hope you will weigh these bits of information I have put out in deciding to become a Kekepreneur, so you can avoid the many pitfalls in the business. Hopefully, next time we meet talking ENTREPRENEURSHIP, I will bring you some other business you can engage in while still holding on to your 9 to 5 (or not).
Exchange Rate at this time, is $1 equal to =N=200.