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Ladipo market: Hope in ‘the promise land’

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Commercial activities at Ladipo Market… PHOTOS: JESUTOMI AKOMOLAFE

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The ongoing rascality, impudence, and chaos which clearly characterizes the daily business activities in Ladipo Market and its environs has reached appalling level and therefore needs to be checkmated. A cursory visit to adjoining roads and streets such as Fatai Atere, Mushin road, Isolo Mushin road and observing things as they unfold, will keep one’s jaw dropping. However, some glittering of hope can be found. 

The reckless abandon and wanton selfishness with which shanty owners use to cause obstruction on what is supposed to public road is shocking. crowd control mechanism and policy is a prerequisite in any densely populated society. Ojo Alaba International Market, which runs a US$4Billion turnover per annum and the largest electronic and electrical (Elect Elect) market in Africa established 1977 starting with only 7 traders; Trade Fair International Market, the new auto parts market and other variety of commodities established in 1996 by the Idumota Traders Union Lagos Island; Tojuoso Yaba clothing market; Supra clothing market at Abule Egba, etc are among the major areas of concern which the State government must focus on. 

The history of Ladipo Market, in a nutshell, is that of a success story. It may have started small but the handlers flourished in their respective business dealings and the physical evidence is not unknown today. To a large extent, it is even enough proof of the Nigerian resilience spirit and a showcasing of their ingenuity. That while many are languishing and lamenting about the biting hardship in the country, others are still engaging themselves in a legitimate deals only lacking government supervision and control.

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In this period when government is grappling with the burgeoning unemployment rates and its adverse effects on the society, the ideal thing to do is not to approach a fragile situation like this so hard and severely. Traders friendly policy can suffice. Among other interventions by the state government, the most important and which will touch the lives of everyone especially road users is the evacuation of rickety vehicles and shanties constantly on the side ways of the roads. If you think Ladipo Market case is a bedlam of chaos and quite repulsive on the surface, then you are likely not to survive the environmental calamity and catastrophe which other mentioned markets especially Ojo Alaba is constituting.

The responsibility staring the face of the state government vis a vis the provision of requisite public facilities such as lavatories, refuge dump sites, designated vehicular parking space for major market locations in particular, cannot continue to be overlooked. If the African adage that ‘where one earns a living or one’s interest is covered is where the person protects jealously and with commitment’ is anything to go by, then indeed it behoove the government to rise to their responsibility in this regard. The internally generated revenue (IGRl realized by the local government and council via tenement rents from the numerous shops, the parking lots charges and other levies runs into hundreds of millions of naira but which the government may not be able to account for. If someone presses that this must be a crude way to keep the street urchins and miscreants busy (locally called agberos) to avoid them wrecking havoc in the society, I will not hesitate to answer that it is not consistent with the ethics of a civilized society moreso one striving to attain international standards of a megacity. 

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The definition of a megacity is one that is very large city, typically with a population of more than 10 million people and above. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in its 2018 “World Urbanization Prospects” report counted urban agglomerations having over 10 million inhabitants. Examples of megacity are found in China, India, the United States, Japan. In Africa, Nigeria ranks topmost with Lagos and Kano. Under this context, the challenge facing the government at fulfilling their responsibility does not lie in its enormity but in mustering the political will to deploy efforts for the execution of the necessary blueprint 

In conclusion, taking cognizance of the overall tremendous benefits of a well organized and managed market places, the onus is on the government to walk their talk towards achieving a tidy, orderly, conducive, and worthwhile commercial environment where business activities can thrive. Hitherto, the undoing of the government which the populace have been compelled to bear the brunt of it is seeing a situation but neglecting to take the needed action. An impressive example and one which holds much credence and relevance to the market place framework under discussion is typically what is obtainable in Promise Land warehouse, a section of the entire Ladipo Market area. The astute management style, the ambience of the market premise, the tight security of goods and wares, (there is no warning signs saying goods are kept at owner’s risk within) and the general conduct of the traders themselves, is worth emulating. If the truism that ‘the bug that eats the wood lives in the wood’ is frightening enough, then it is equally consolating that ‘lillies grows from the mud.’ There may be need to consult certain resourceful stakeholders for gainful contributions, prudent suggestions, and lending insights to the government before coming up with informed set of guidelines for the state market places.
Orajiaku is a freelance journalist and social activist.

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