Popular Information Communication Technology Market, Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, is presently boiling and this is not unconnected to plans by some factions in the market to create the office of ‘Iyaloja’ and Babaloja’ in the market.
Iyaloja and Babaloja which literally mean ‘Mother of the Market’ and’ Father of the Market’ respectively, are titles not uncommon at the general and all purpose market, with the title holders saddled with the responsibility of steering market affairs, while traders in turn remit some returns to their purse.
As part of the move to reject the idea, a protest was organised in the market during the week to drive home the points of aggrieved traders.The protest extended to the State House of Assembly.
The demonstration, led by President, Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria, Comrade Ahmed Ojikutu, involved aggrieved traders who shut their shops for the period the action lasted.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, Ojikutu noted that establishing the titles of Iyaloja/ Babaloja, would alter the original plan of the market as the ICT hub in Africa.
He explained that while the embattled titles were recognised in consumable market and others, it had no place in a formal market as Computer Village, which is meant to address the technology needs of Africans.
“Computer Village is a respected market across the globe and the eye of Nigeria to global investors. Accommodating such titles would demean the status of the market and harbour unacceptable practices.
However, some factions in the market who are believed to be loyalists of the proposed Iyaloja and Babaloja saw the move as being just and acceptable.”
One of them who spoke on anonymity said, “Iyaloja and Babaloja is not new in markets. Go to every market in Nigeria, you will find them, so why is computer village different ?”
Despite the protests, Thisday learnt that the Iyaloja General of Nigeria has later appointed both Bisola Afeez and Niyi Olasoji as the Iyaloja and Babaloja of the market respectively, while sources claimed that those behind the move had vowed that no authority can change the development as a lot of money had gone into the process.
However, when contacted , Ojikutu insisted that the traders are not in support of the move and that more protests should be expected in the market.
He added that relevant authority in Lagos State including Ikeja Local Government chairman have been contacted on the issue and promised to get back as soon as possible.