Marketers at the foremost ICT market in Nigeria -- Computer Village, Ikeja -- appear open towards the proposed relocation, but they want the government to clarify the terms and conditions of the entire process.
Techpoint had a chat with Ahmed Ojikutu, the president of the Computer and Allied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), who shared his thoughts on the impending relocation.
CAPDAN, according to Ojikutu, is the regulatory body for all unions, bodies and associations in Computer Village with an aim to ensure that rules are followed and standards, complied with.
The association maintains a working relationship with the state government which has given rise to support from the Ministry of Wealth Creation & Employment, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) among others.
One such support, the market leader affirms, is business loans that LSETF gives individuals and companies in the market.
The impending relocation
Ojikutu claims there are areas of disagreement on the proposed ICT Park, Katangowa. The market association is currently in talks with the concessionaire -- Bridgeways Global Projects Limited -- as well as the Lagos State Government in order to sort out the disagreement.
The association has written the state government requesting for clarifications so as to avoid a case of changing terms and conditions in the middle of the relocation.
One of the concerns raised in the letter is a request for an official meeting with the government with the hope that the official position of CAPDAN on the new park would be specified.
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The leadership of the market is working towards ensuring that the impending relocation is done in unity which includes making sure that all interests are taken care of and accordingly.
Ojikutu confirms that those operating in the market welcome the relocation idea but want it done holistically.
In spite of the openness to the idea, he points out that the marketers won’t move under any unguarded understanding of the terms and conditions surrounding the relocation.
“Anything that would not allow the market to be together is a disadvantage to the growth and future of the market,” he maintains.
Suggested Read: Ikeja Computer Village: What it was, what it will always be
From all indications, the Lagos State Government did not consult the market body before revealing plans for the proposed relocation. Ojikutu only confirmed that market body would be the off-taker of the new park.
According to our source on the relocation time, the shops are currently on sales but Ojikutu claims otherwise. According to him, the concessionaire is yet to reach out to the body on an official capacity.
The future of Computer Village
Ojikutu believes that one of the validations for Computer Village are its replicas present in major cities of the country.
“Computer Village is a place where entrepreneurship development and apprentice training are addressing unemployment in our society by training the trainers.”
Ojikutu, who is also the National Vice President of Young Entrepreneurs of Nigeria, says the market has transformed into a place where digital and technical skills set are learned and developed.
Apparently, the market body has reached out to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) for capacity building.
The CAPDAN president believes that Nigeria, within the next 10 years, would locally produce its own ICT solutions.
“We won’t just be buyers of technology, we would be markers of technology solutions.”
UPDATE [May 2, 2019]: Computer Village, Ikeja now has a new leadership, following the appointment of an Iyaloja and Babaloja (traditional market leaders) by the Lagos State Market Board. Read about it here.