Yellow cabs in Lagos began to disappear when Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, headed South and never to return. The roads also made it impossible to turn profit as a taxi cab driver because what is left of your piece of mind is taken by mechanics. And before that, the police, VIO and other agencies who act as a financial bugbear must have theirs. Green cabs are in like manner almost completely unseen on the clogged roads of Kaduna, Ibadan, Abuja, etc.
And precisely because of the bad business climate, China has moved in as it has in nearly every other sector of Nigeria. It hovers over the nation like a towering incubus. O’Pay, a short hand for everything, cabs, motorcycles, rickshaws (Napep),bills,banking and, yes food delivery, is the instrument of the hostile takeover. And this was done with the active cooperation of government officials.
Nigeria and Nigerians don’t see the intrinsic and obvious sabotage these fiendish “foreign direct investments” are. But first, let’s see what O’pay says it is -as seen on its website
“We are more than a payment company. We believe everyone should be able to enjoy financial and social inclusion, without regard for physical borders, boundaries, or even social status.
OPay is a one-stop mobile-based platform for payment, transportation, food & grocery delivery, and other important services in your everyday life. Millions of users rely on OPay everyday to send and receive money, pay bills, and order food and groceries”.
But the truth of the matter is that O’Pay is an unregulated monster which is wiping out competition.
And example. In most parts of Lagos, government has “banned the use of commercial motorcycles (Okada). Where it not banned, people eke out a precarious living riding one of those. They also pay organised unions, Agberos. In short, the business provides its own market chain right down to Ogogoro, local liqueur, which comes with the job.
But O’Pay which has O’Ride, MaxOkada, MaxOkeke, Guokada, etc is conveniently above the law. They don’t pay Agberos nor do they obey traffic rules. Nigerian rider must log in about 10 rides per day. The story is that the motorcycle or Keke will become yours after contributing more that a million Naira. Needless to say ,of course, that at that point , not only would the vehicles have been dead, the rider, too might also be close to death from the stress.
Oh, did I mention that you must also purchase and Android phone as user and rider? Oh yes. You see, that’s where The money really is. It’s more about advert revenues, adsense and data. For some reason, Nigerians don’t know that the entire O’Pay gambit is about a huge Software as a service, SaaS based on and even bigger SaaS, Opera.
Another problem with the motorcycles is that, it has standardize something really bad. For one thing, taxi cabs are in trouble if only because the bikes are faster with Nigeria’s interminable traffic jams. And so people get used to riding bikes. It has become the thing.
The government will also not have the impetus to fix the roads. They also won’t feel pushed to improve on Mass transit, good buses and roads. The Ikeja Bus Terminal, Lagos ,that was commissioned by President Buhari last year is a grave yard.
O’Pay runs a system that is centralised. It is really based in Beijing, China, home of Opera, which also owns Opera News. And so, the Nigerian government won’t be able to track its activities as it relates to taxes.
And now, it has come into micro banking, online shopping and price listing businesses.Local techprenuers will have a hard time competing because the odds are stacked against them.
The take over of Nigeria by O’pay is most telling in the part because China compromises so much on standard and in the main because it kills local initiatives. Like all Chinese gifts, this is meant to exploit Nigeria. And the sad part is that Nigeria is completely unaware of this.