Compliments of the season as I express sincere thanks to you all for the show of support since my take-over of the Presidency of our Association.
As part of my responsibilities, I write in connection with the BIFOBA Blazer Project (an outstanding issue handed over to me by the immediate past Global President (Mr. Feyi Dinyo), to give an update of the current situation and the plan by the current National Executive Council (“Exco”) to resolve the issue once and for all.
Let me assure that I, like every other Old Boy who has paid for the said Blazer is desirous of getting the Blazer as quickly as possible consequently, my Colleagues in Exco and I have resolved to do all that is necessary to ensure that the Project is executed immediately and the Blazers delivered to Old Boys soonest.
It may be necessary to give a background information on the BIFOBA Blazer Project to educate Old Boys on the immediate past Exco’s genuine good intention and efforts to procure the Blazers at a “low” Cost based on Bulk (Volume) purchase which plan unfortunately could not be implemented fully. As the Vice President (School Affairs) of Exco at the point in time, I was involved in the whole process, from the conception stage, through to the implementation and the current stage where everything appears to be in limbo and consequently state as follows:-
i) The Retail Price given by the Manufacturers was US$300.00 per Blazer which Price was arrived at based on the light-weight type woolen Fabric chosen by Old Boys, the specialised Olive-Green colour chosen, the various effects; in terms of the type of buttons to be affixed, “patched” breast & side pockets, double Side Vent cuts etc. and the specialised (totally uncommon) shape of our School Badge. Consideration was also given to the fact Exco had in 2009 made a purchase of 75 Units of the old, thick Blazer from the same Company to mark our School’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in February, 2010.
ii) Based on the existing relationship and the promise to purchase even a larger quantity than 2009, Exco negotiated a Bulk (Discounted) Price of US$200.00 per Unit which was agreed to by the Manufacturers on the promise that Exco places a minimum Order of 150 Units (double the Order of 2009) in the first instance, and commence to place additional Orders of up to 500 Units to make the transaction worth the while of the Manufacturer’s investments since they were going to specifically produce the Olive-Green fabric chosen by BIFOBA which nobody/School currently uses.
iii) The deal was sealed by Exco at a Discounted Rate of US$200.00 per Unit and Exco was expected to place an Order for and pay for the first 150 Units.
iv) Having negotiated the Discounted Rate of US$200.00 per Unit, Exco calculated and requested Old Boys to pay as follows:-
BIFOBA Headquarters (Nigeria) -
N30,000.00 per Unit
North America Chapter - US$200.00 plus $50.00 Delivery Cost
U.K. Chapter - £170.00 plus £30.00 Delivery Cost
v) In the wisdom of our Old Boys in Diaspora (both North America and U.K Chapters) who felt it was cheaper to buy same in Naira (given the prevailing Foreign Exchange Rate at the point in time) chose to pay
N30,000.00 per Blazer stipulated for Old Boys in Nigeria and went further to convince Exco to forget about delivery costs assuring that they will arrange to take the Blazers to America and the U.K respectively on their own private arrangements which Exco acceded to.
It is important to inform that what Exco received from all Old Boys world-over for the Blazers was Naira (not US Dollars or Pounds Sterling).
vi) Exco unfortunately was and is still unable to meet the deadline for the 150 Units Order till date. The total Order received from Nigeria, North America and U.K thus far is for just 82 Units. Exco had requested for an extension of time by 3 months, and another subsequent 3 months and a further 3 months all of which lapsed because Exco could not come up with the 150 Units Order.
It was in the process of trying to get the first 150 Units Order that the Foreign Exchange Rate in Nigeria skyrocketed and eroded almost completely, the value of the
N30,000.00 per Unit paid by Old Boys
Naturally, the Manufacturers are upset with BIFOBA, having already invested a huge sum in the production of the Blazer Fabric in a large quantity to meet this Order and future ones which according to them is looking (as it were), like a loss situation.
The current situation in Nigeria, based on consensus is that Old Boys will pay an additional
N10,000.00 each per Blazer and that Exco should go ahead and place an Order for the current 82 Units as they can no longer continue to wait indefinitely for the Blazers especially since the Exchange Rate is increasing on a daily basis. For Old Boys in Nigeria, the most important thing is to get the Blazers now before the value of the N30,000.00 earlier paid is completely eroded.
Prior to Mr. Dinyo’s retirement as Global President, I am aware that there had been on-going discussions between Exco and the Presidents of both the North America and U.K Chapters on the Blazer issue, both of whom are also of the view that Exco should go ahead and place an Order for the 82 Units for which funds already are in Exco’s possession and that their members will also be willing to pay the additional
N10,000.00 (payable by members in Nigeria) provided that the Order will be placed immediately and will arrive within 90-days from the expected Order placement date which tentatively is put at 31stJuly, 2016 by which time we believe that all of the N10,000.00 additional payments will have been received and necessary Foreign Exchange for the Order procured and wire-transferred to the Manufacturers.
It is pertinent to mention at this stage that Exco received one (1) isolated case (from the U.K Chapter) of an Old Boy requesting that his money be returned to a U.K Bank Account because the BIFOBA Blazer Project according to the said Old Boy had dragged for too long.
Exco needs to reiterate that what we got from the U.K Chapter and indeed from all Old Boys who paid towards the Blazer is
N30,000.00 each, (not Pounds Sterling or Dollars). While Exco has no problems returning the N30,000.00 to any Old Boy emphatically insisting on a refund, we however wish to advise against same as such an attitude will be inimical to the “spirit of unity” and camaraderie being fostered in our Association.
We do recognise that the transaction has dragged however, this Exco is more favourably disposed to finding a lasting solution to the issue and ensuring that Old Boys get their Blazers in the shortest possible time trusting that we shall receive the cooperation of all Old Boys involved.
To enable Exco move forward on the Blazer issue, my Colleagues in Exco and I wish to specially appeal to our members in the North America and U.K Chapters respectively to assist BIFOBA in paying the
N10,000.00 additional sum either in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling such that the total Naira amount to be converted to US Dollars for wire-transfer to the Manufacturers (at the current rapidly rising Exchange Rate) will not be so much, as paying in Naira will still create the problem of having to source for scarce US Dollars currently unavailable even in the parallel market in Nigeria.
Helping to pay this difference in Foreign currency (US$ or £) will go a long way in assisting Exco to get the Blazers produced by the Manufacturers and delivered to us in Lagos much sooner than later such that everybody is happy.
I trust that I can count on our Old Boys to assist in doing the needful as requested.
BARR. KINGSLEY ESSIEN