23rd March, 2011
The popular computer village started growing in the 90s and today, it is the haven of over 3,000 marketers of computers and other ICT products. The market is located in the heart of Ikeja capital of Lagos State, with over 6,000 shops and offices in a primarily residential area. Apart from contributing to traffic problems of the city, computer scraps from the market poseÂ health harzard to the populace. Engr. Tunji Balogun of the Alli Balogun dynasty, President of Computer Allied Products Dealers of Nigeria, CAPDAN, and CEO of Balog Technologies Limited and Briean Integrated System Limited, spoke with Who Is Who about the plan to relocate the market to Katangowa, Abule-Egba, along the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway and the future of ICT in Nigeria.
What are the main objectives of CAPDAN?
The objectives of the association are to promote the interest of our members,Â make sure they do business with best business practices and foster good relationship among them. We make sure ourÂ members do their business within the confines of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in line with the ethics of the Computer Professionals Association, CPN, which is the umbrella body of all ICT associations.
What are your achievements so far?
Within the business district, we make sure fake products are disallowed. We also ensure that intellectual property are well kept to reduce piracy in the market.
How and when did youÂ start this business?
I am an IT professional. I have a Masters in Science and Technology from Pittisburg State University, USA.
What is the next plan of CAPDAN?
We are trying to relocate to a more conducive environment with the assistance of the Lagos State government. The present Computer Village is not conducive for the kind of products we sell. We need a conducive environment where there are no rowdy street traders or touts, so thatÂ people can go about their business peacefully.
What is the level of progress?
Well, the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu gave us about 26 hectares ofÂ land aroundÂ Katangowa market, which is spacious enough to occupy the present Computer Village marketers and forÂ future expansion. We are just waiting for the government to give us the necessary approval, so we can startÂ developing the land.
Is it that the land is yet to be approved or the marketers are not ready to relocate?
We are ready to move. We are waiting for the Ministry of Environment to give one or two approvals that will facilitate our movment.
What is the implication of influx of substandard computer products?
First, when you use substandard products, you donâ€™t get value for your money. What is supposed to serve you for three years can pack up within three months! And some of these computer scraps, if they are not properly recycled, they can cause cancer. Computer products must be properly disposed.
Talking about technological empowerment, do you organise training?
Thatâ€™s a good question. We organise re-vocational training for graduates who want to become entrepreneurs. They are retrained for the new profession. But that will notÂ make you an engineer, but a technician. Most of the people who say they repair mobile phones are all technicians. We do a lot of re-training in Computer Village to create employment and make people self-employed.Â Thatâ€™s what we need to do more in this country. MostÂ of our graduates need to create jobs and become employers of labour. There are lots of opportunities in ICT, to grow and be re-trained as technician who can repair computers, telephones and add to the economy of the country.