World of migratory traders exposed – We make more money at crusades becos we won’t sell on credit
The migratory traders, they are conspicuous at important events especially crusades, church conventions, conferences and synods; they display their wares at strategic locations to attract customers. They are unavoidable, they constitute side attractions and most importantly afford locals and visitors alike of opportunities to purchase items at lower prices they normally are, while in turn smile to their banks. Their merch
andise often ranges from clothes both new and used (commonly called BK or akube), bibles and religious books, key-holders and all manners of souvenirs.
The recent Global Crusade with Kumuyi (GCK) in Ogbomoso, Oyo state brought this scenario again to the fore. Dr W.F. Kumuyi is a big man of God and a crowd puller because of the anointing overflowing in his life that makes salvation flow at his crusades, laced with incisive sermons and power of deliverance. Hundreds of thousands of people from many cities, towns and villages and from within thronged the crusade. On the sideline were the migratory or perhaps itinerant traders, who stormed the venue in hundreds, at Ogbomoso Grammar School, along Ikirun road, Oke-Owode. They dotted both the inside and adjoining spaces at the venue making brisk businesses for the 6 days the crusade lasted.
Organizers of crusades and conventions always make room for them, they are factored into the planning and they often get allocated ample space to mount their makeshift tents/shops to display and sell their wares. For the GCK crusade it was an engaging six days.
How do they survive and thrive in this line of business? ogbomosoinsightonline.com visited the venue to speak with one of the migratory traders who subsequently took a few minutes to dwell on the world of migratory trading. It was obviously hard on him taking time to engage in a chat in the face of customers trickling in even though it was in the morning.
Our “catch” gave his name as Popoola Abayomi Gabriel, incidentally, he is an indigene of Ogbomoso but he is based in Ilorin, capital of Kwara state, where he has a permanent shop.
According to the 52 year old he delved into migratory trading about twenty years ago driven into it fortuitously, but since then, he has not looked back as he found it rewarding in terms of profit.
“I sell clothes sewn in Aba in Abia state and take it to places where programmes like crusades are held even though I have a shop at Unity road Ilorin Kwara state,” he said while speaking with ogbomosoinsightonline.com.
“I ventured into it based on the experience I had previously – just sitting in the shop without much sales moreover most of the sales we make is on credit thus instead of progress we were suffering setback. Some will promise to pay by the end of the month but they won’t and we will have to run after them. And not everyone you can retrieve money from by force, it’s hectic, it is not even ideal.
“That is the reason we were drawn into moving from place to place. I came here (Ogbomoso) from another programme. No one will come here to buy on credit, it is cash and carry. In addition, we sell at lower prices than what we sell in the shop, we reduce the price so as to make quick sales.”
On how he actually started he stated, “A programme was held at ECWA Church, Epe, Kwara state, and someone came around to advise that we take our wares to the programme that maybe we will make good sales. When we got there we made good sales. Others in the neighbourhood joined after seeing us and they made good sales too. That is how we started.
“As I am speaking with you some traders like us are in Benin, some in Agelu (Oke-Ogun). We regularly communicate now because the network is wide. We came here from Erio-Ekiti where we spent over a month.”
Popoola said at times they would stay back after the programme had ended to continue their sales if business is good in a particular place. “At Erio as an instance the programme (by CAC) lasted just one week but after they came down from the mountain we were beseeched by the people of the town not to leave because they could see the value of what we offered them is higher than what they were used to buying in established shops around them.
“I am talking about price, if we are to insist that we will sell at the price we sell in the shop is what we will be selling we won’t make much sales. That is where the difference lies. So, when we reduce the prices return on investment will be quick and higher because we sell higher volume in faster time.”
He however explained that those who sell through shops have to factor in the cost of renting shops, having to settle electricity bills, submitting that is why they sell at higher prices. “For us we only take care of transport fare.”
Popoola who was in Ogbomoso with his wife disclosed they had no problem with where to sleep, that they could sleep anywhere, “We are used to it, we sometimes sleep beside the road. We could well be regarded as adaramonsunle (the beautiful ones who do not sleep at home).”
He informed they have boys who help them to sell when two big programmes run concurrently and so would divide themselves.
Sales could be good at times that they would sell all their stocks and have to travel down to Aba to purchase new stocks particularly revealing “At Erio-Ekiti, we ordered new stocks from Aba twice.”
On security he said they are not immune from the general insecurity in the country, disclosing, “many of our people have fallen victims but thank God on our own we never fell victims. We believe as long as day and night don’t meet we won’t come across them. But some of our colleagues have been unfortunate especially while travelling to the north, Boko Haram insurgents attacked some of them.”
They travel wide to make sales as he revealed, “We go to Cameroon, we go to Cotonou (Benin Republic), we go everywhere.”
On the nature of their customers he unveiled if the programme is holding at a camp they depend on the people who come for the programme mostly but if it is within the town their customer base is mostly the inhabitants of the town adding that they even prefer to be outside the programme venue since there is no inhibition like when the programme is ongoing and they are forbidden from selling.
He maintained it is a good business line disclosing he had introduced several people into it.
But that means they are away from home most time and so how do they take care of their loved ones especially wife and children! His response: “We do go home to rest and when we are on trips to sell our merchandise, isn’t it to send money home?”
From Ogbomoso he disclosed gleefully that their next port of call was Mowe on Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Ogun state where he revealed another special programme of a church is holding. “We will be there too for business.”
At this juncture meanwhile circumstances dictated he was left alone as more customers have begun to mill around his wares.