• Experts charge computer village operators on ‘reinvention’

    A section of Computer Village market, Ikeja.
    A section of Computer Village market, Ikeja.
    FOR Computer Village market, adjudged to be Africa’s largest technology market to maintain and improve on that ranking, the need for operators to reinvent the space has been stressed.
    This was the message that re-echoed at the 2015 Computer Village Expo (#CVExpo15) organized at the market in Lagos by Technology Times, an online information platform.
    The three-day maiden #CVExpo15 tagged #OtigbaRising attracted the attention of technology users, mobile consumers, business professionals, the media, entertainment stars and other delegates, who were unanimous in their views that technology retailers in the market must innovate to leverage the online space and remain relevant in the present era.
    President of Phone and Allied Products Dealers Association (PAPDAN), Godfrey Nwosu, said that statistics show that over 20 million phones are sold in the Computer Village, monthly. He recalled that the present location of the market was a residential area until late 1999 or early 2000 when Internet technology became a household name in corporate Nigeria.
    Knowing that a major industry was about to spring forth, savvy businessmen took position in the most vantage location of Ikeja – Otigba Street to commence trading in IT equipments and devices. By 2003 a year after GSM services were introduced to Nigeria, computer village had become a household name among Telecommunication users, especially small businesses and end users.
    President, Online Publishers Association of Nigeria and CEO of Proshare Limited, Femi Awoyemi, said that several business dynamics are currently impacting the market as it is losing grounds to other African markets. According to him, to retain the relevance of the market which the National Bureau of Statistics said contributes two per cent o the national GDP, government ought to make deliberate policies to protect local investors and OEMs.
    President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association, Revd Sunday Folayan moderated the panel discussion with the theme “Computer Village: Unlocking The Potentials of Nigeria’s Largest Technology Market.” The PAPDAN President said the present foreign exchange impasse also has negative impact on the market comprising of mainly startup businesses.
    Nodding in agreement, Mrs. Adenike Shittu, managing director and chief executive officer of Mojoy Computers, said that, before now Computer Village was a toast of other West African markets, but the evolution of online retailers has led to decline of patronage on the customers, couple with neglect by local authorities.
    On her part, Sola Salako, President and Founder, Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria (CAFON), said it behoves on the market players to prove critics wrong by deepening their customer relations.
    This, she said, will restore customers’ confidence and resonate trust in the market. “Quality products and service delivery are still nascent in Nigeria, not just in the computer village. So, buyers expect to have durable products, cost effective and after sales service that will create value for money spent,” she said.
    Chief Operating Officer, NiRA, Mrs. Edith Udeagu, also urged the traders to embrace .ng domain name as a process of rebranding and projecting themselves on the internet.
    She said NiRA and certified registrars were ready to help the traders obtain their internet identity through .ng domain name registration and showcase their local contents as value creation capable of attracting foreign partners to the market.
    Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of Technology Times, Shina Badaru, said that the exhibition was converged to showcase the Computer village (Lagos) Nigeria as the computers and computer accessories market with incredible potentials.
    He said, “This is the biggest technology market in Africa where you can find a wide array of branded computers and cloned PCs here. The market is also host to a multitude of digital cameras and camera accessories, and mobile phones and accessories. This is market awash with computer technical gurus.
    “As the largest technology market in Africa it is usually very busy and rowdy. But it differs greatly from other markets in that it is home to the major dealers of Mobile Phones and computers as well as their accessories. The market was never planned to be what it is so finding your way around it might be problematic if you are a first time visitor.
    “Interestingly, there is never a dull moment here and must remain relevant as a major contributor to employment generation and wealth creation haven. That is why we want to use these few days to showcase the products and abilities of the market people,” he said.
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