CFL Group to Replicate Silicon Valley, Unveils N5bn IT Mart

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Gboyega Akinsanmi

A subsidiary of CFL Group, Master Reality Int’l Concept Limited, has unveiled a comprehensive plan to replicate Silicon Valley, the United States site of technology-focused institutions, in Ikeja, Lagos.

Consequently, the group has perfected plan to construct a N5 billion information and communication technology (ICT) hub, which it christened Ikeja IT Mart to kick-start a similitude of Silicon Valley in Lagos.

The firm’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Lai Omotola revealed the plan at an interactive session with journalists in Lagos recently, noting that his firm’s strategic vision is “to build our own Silicon Valley in Ikeja and in Lagos.”
Silicon Valley is home to many start-up and global technology companies like Apple, Facebook and Google among others. It is also the site of technology-focused institutions centered around Palo Alto’s Stanford University.

Omotola disclosed that Nigeria should not be left behind in the IT world, noting that content and content development would the country’s next crude oil if properly harnessed.

He said that was the main reason his firm conceived Ikeja IT Mart, which he said, would be a similitude of Silicon Valley where ideas, innovation and development would happen in the nearest future.

“What we want to achieve with this is to build our own Silicon Valley in Ikeja and in Lagos. When it comes to anything concerning IT, the first point of call will be Lagos and Ikeja. So, we are building up an edifice that the entire globe will recognise as our own IT super house. But when we say Silicon Valley, our own mart is not compared to what Silicon Valley is now. But it is a starting point towards it. What we are saying is that content is the next crude oil for Nigeria. It is going to be bigger than crude oil. We are confident about this,” he said.

Omotola explained that with the population of Nigeria, the network providers could no longer operate seamlessly, noting that there “is no single network today that operates a seamless communication. This is because the number of people on each network is just too much.

“The demand is overwhelming. But the capacity and critical infrastructure to hold on to it are not there. So, it hampers revenue that the government could have raked in. It equally hampers the number of job opportunities that would have been created. Content is the next crude oil.

“It is not for government to pioneer the revolution. It is for the entrepreneurs. But the government will just give a regulatory backup or support to create these opportunities seamlessly. We are looking at two to three months to get all our approvals ready by the government,” he said.