It is no longer news that the Ikeja Computer Village is the largest market place for information technology products in the whole of the West African sub-region. The place attracts shoppers from all parts of West Africa, especially the neighbouring and adjacent countries of Ghana, Togo and even the Benin Republic who come to do business there.
The computer Village has become so popular that it has been featured in top broadcasting networks around the world. The networks have continued to feature the market in documentaries. The British Broadcasting Commission (BBC), The Voice of America (VOA) and the Chinese State Television are some of the networks that have docu-series about the village.
Hence, the city of Ikeja has become synonymous with ICT products and it is the direction of choice for anyone or corporate organization in needs of an upgrade of their equipment. A lot of government ICT contractors even have outlets in the village. However, even as the place became increasingly popular with the attendant beehive of activities it attracted, it became a headache of some sort for Lagos State and its town planners. It has become very apparent that the present location which is sandwiched between Oba Akran Road and Simbiat Abiola way is unsustainable for the long term. Apart from the bottleneck it has created around that axis, it has become so limiting that it has been unable to expand further in the last few years. Hence, it is not living to its full potential.
This much has necessitated the Lagos State government to put in motion steps to relocate the village from its current location to a more expansive and hassle-free environment. This plan has been in the works for several years and has been punted by successive state governments until the current government of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu declared its intention to actualize the long-planned relocation. The plan was already getting into top gears until it was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.
When the government the former governor of the state, Babatunde Fashola broached the idea more than a decade ago, different locations were tabled as options. These included somewhere along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the around Super Bus Stop at the Katangowa area along Abeokuta Expressway. After a passionate debate between government and stakeholders, Katangowa was finally selected as a result of its proximity to the current location and ease of access to Lagosians.
However, the plans have been stymied by less than stellar commitment by various governments at the helm of affairs in Lagos State In December 2019; the government of Sanwo-Olu commenced the process by approving the upgrade and new constructions at the new location. No government had gone that far in the past. This governor is determined to make it one of his signature achievements. In this fifth month of the year, the process would have gone very far if not this hand fate has dealt the whole world.
Meanwhile, dealers in the village are already getting set for the eventual relocation of the Village to Katagowa. Though a lot of them are anxious about what the change will portend for their business, they are nonetheless prepared to face it as it ultimately inevitable. It is just a matter of time and the governor is promising that it will happen in short order after this current crisis goes away.
The Ikeja Computer Village began from the current location in the early 90s as just a few shops selling computer products along one of the streets called Oremeji. At that point, it was largely a residential area. Little by little, other dealers in allied products continued to gravitate towards that vicinity and set up shops and it eventually expanded to the now very popular Otigba Street. Landlords around that area eventually discovered how lucrative it was to rent out their houses to computer products sellers and relocated from their own houses and rented them out as shops. It was so lucrative for the house owners that a lot of them instead became tenants around other parts of the town and converted their houses to shops and plazas to rent out. After the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in 2001, it was only natural that the sales of mobile phones and accessories took root at Ikeja Computer Village. Today, it is the number one port of call for anyone who needs a new phone or gadget.