I have been to shoprite on many occasions, but I can still remember my first visit, about 10 years ago. I cannot quite say the exact date and time of the day I visited. Shoprite opened its business operations in December, 2005 at the Palms Shopping Mall, Victoria Island, Lagos I can remember when I gallantly walked in taken by all the lovely and foreign items displayed on the shelfs. It was quite fascinating and when the price tag read: N89.99. It was amazing, as I interpreted this to mean N90.
I was part of the last generation that experienced the use of kobo, gone are the days when you can get sweets and biscuits for 10k, 20k, 50k or the like. These days Nigerians see kobo as an inconvenience and the value of goods in the country has escalated so much so that nothing is being sold for 50k or even 80k. So, I was shocked to have entered shoprite located at Ikeja and see kobo still being handed over as change to customers. It was amazing and I thought a lovely piece on it would be nice.
This is to encourage all stores out there trying to be as good as shoprite or even better to instil the kobo culture back into the Nigerian economy. More surprising is the fact that shoprite is not a Nigerian venture yet it recognises the value of our currency and has prevailed over the years to retain its relevance. I can authoritatively tell you that shoprite is the only shop in Nigeria that uses kobo. People spend kobo there and receive kobo as change. We all know the Nigerian history as it pertains to its currency but if we don’t, it might interest you to know that the kobo came into being in January, 1973 along with the naira while the pound system was phased out. However, the kobo has long phase out except for shoprite which still endeavours to make use of it. Am not sure you can find the kobo in Banks and many children of this generation have never seen the kobo or has no idea on what it looks like. Many children when asked what the Nigerian currency is, would or might just say “The Naira.” That is how useless the kobo has become but with the efforts of stores like shoprite the lost glory of the kobo might one day be restored.