By Chinwendu Uzoatu
It was indeed grand as the Department of Marketing, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, in collaboration with the Centre for Multidisciplinary Research and Innovation (CENRI), held its first international conference since its inception in 1999.
The first 2023 Africa Digital Frontier Conference, with the theme, ‘Digital Technology Disruptions and Consumer Behavior in Africa’ started with a courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and Chief Host, Prof. Charles O. Esimone, FAS.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Ven. Prof. Anayo D. Nkamnebe stressed the importance of digitalization in the present world and thanked their collaborators.
“Today’s event is very important in the life of this department and university. It is not just a conference. We are in the age of digitalization. Today, marketing is done through a virtual system. We thank all our collaborators,” he said.
In his welcome address, the Head, Department of Marketing, UNIZIK and host, Dr. Promise Chika Oparah, FIPESA described the occasion as momentous, one that marks a significant milestone in the institution’s commitment to embracing the digital future and leading a discourse in shaping the African technological landscape.
He said: “Our theme: Digital Technology Disruption and Consumer Behaviour in Africa, encapsulates the essence of the transformative journey upon which we are embarking. In today’s rapidly evolving world, digital technology has become an integral part of our lives, revolutionising the way consumers communicate, collaborate, and conduct businesses.”
Dr. Oparah stated that digital disruption describes the changes that occur when new digital technologies, services, capabilities, and business models impact and change the value of existing industry services and goods. He said that the new elements change or disrupt established markets, forcing businesses to reevaluate the current market for goods and services and make adjustments.
“Our objective is to bring together seasoned scholars to suggest frameworks that can be considered by business managers and owners to mitigate the risks of technology disruption and enhance the resilience of their organisation for the future. Our ability to understand, adapt to, and leverage digital disruptions will not only drive innovation but also influence the choices and preferences of our consumers. It is through forums like this that we can explore the intricacies of these dynamics, learn from one another and chart a course towards sustainable digital development.”
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Charles O. Esimone, recognised the resource persons and pointed out the importance of digitalization.
“The march of the inventive spirit of humankind has seen humanity through various stages of socio-economic development: the pre-industrial age, the industrial revolution, and now the digital age, as part of the putative fourth industrial revolution. The digital age or information age is information-technology-driven, using machines and the Internet to disseminate in real-time rapidly evolving information.”
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu, commended the Nigerian Communication Commission and others while thanking the Marketing Department for the innovation and stating that UNIZIK is also keying into the digital device to meet up with time.
The lead paper presenter, Dr Aminu Maida, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), commended UNIZIK and the Centre of Multidisciplinary Research and Innovation in Poland for hosting the Maiden International Conference, stating that the initiative underscores the importance of collaborative, interdisciplinary, research and engagement, which is critical for understanding and addressing the profound changes that digital technology is bringing to our continent.
Dr Maida, represented by Alhaji Ismaila Adegbite, Director of Research, NCC, said that the commission is at the forefront of driving the digital transformation of Nigeria through actively participating in various key initiatives that foster the growth and development of this ecosystem.
Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, Prof Pius V.C. Okoye indicated that the event is very important.
“Life is about marketing and communication. Everything is going digital. Whichever field you find yourself in, you have to market yourself. Imbibe the things you learn here in everyday activity.”
The royal father of the day, Eze Matthew Chiedozie Nwokeoma (Okaa-Omee iv) of Umuokanne Autonomous Community in Ohaji Egbema LGA, Imo State, said: “Commerce is in every aspect of life. What you are doing today caught across every department. We are so happy that we are here today. I have learned a lot.”
Prof Oby Lilian Orogbu, immediate past dean of the faculty and member representing Awka North and South Federal Constituency; Tony Odili Ujubuonu, Managing Director, Anambra Signage and Advertisement Agency (ANSAA); Anthony Nwafor Izunna, Zonal Coordinator, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, South East Zonal Office, Awka, are among the dignitaries that attended the event.
Highlights of the event include keynote speeches by Prof Mercy Mpinganjira of the Department of Marketing Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa and Prof Gladson N. Nwokah, Dean Faculty of Management Sciences, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt; via zoom.