There is a current challenge in the market hub of Lagos, computer village, The fracas, which arose over leadership, has now divided the market operators along ethnic lines.
Seen as the largest Information and Communication Technology hub in West Africa, accommodating over 3,000 ICT small and medium enterprises, the market is reputed for generating over N1.5 billion turnover on daily basis and contributing significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
However, reliable sources in the market said the technology hub built over the last 15 years was being threatened by on-going crisis that has pitched the Igbo traders against their Yoruba counterparts.
“If you look at this market, Igbos account for over 80 per cent of shops here; we have been here since inception and we are contributing immensely to its growth. After about 15 years, we are saying let us also lead this market for once, but they are saying no.
“We have tolerated them for long, but this time, we have to fight for our right,” a top dealer in the market, who is of Igbo extraction said. As the crisis rages, this newspaper gathered that the Yoruba leaders in the market, who are also the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the market, have approached the court to ascertain their right to the leadership.
Confirming the development, the current President of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), the umbrella body for the market, Mr Ahmed Ojikutu, said efforts were on-going to resolve the issues despite the court case.
“It is true that the market is currently going through a tough time over the issue of leadership. I know that some people are against having Igbo as the next market leader after our tenure, which is unfair because Yorubas have led the market over the last 15 years. My stand is that the right thing should be done and we hope that this will be resolved amicably,” Ojikutu said.
Also speaking, Assistant Public Relations Officer of CAPDAN and Chief Executive Officer, K-Chronos Global Tech Limited, Mr. Presley Ibadin, expressed regret that the progress and growth of the market was now being truncated by the leadership crisis.
“This is a matter of interests and I believe it can be resolved amicably if the parties can come to a round table. It may be rowdy at first since temper is still high, but a second meeting and third will lead to resolution of the matter, with all interests catered for,” he said.
He noted that the suit filed by the market’s BOT would only extend the tenure of current leadership unduly because nothing can be done until the case is decided.
Meanwhile, the current crisis in the market may be worsened by a recent move by Yoruba leaders to install Iyaloja in the tech market. Iyalaoja is a common title in all conventional markets in Lagos. However, the dealers view such title in a technology hub as taking the market back to the medieval age.
“This is a technology hub for crying out loud, not just a market. This is not a tomato or pepper market, we are talking about technology. We shall resist it because it is also an avenue to bring up someone that will be enriched through the market,” one of the dealers said.