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Alaba International Market Celebrates Founding Fathers, 40 Years After



International Market Alaba Electronics (IMAE) is about 40 years old. Recently, the market association celebrated those behind the establishment of the market. ANTHONY AWUNOR, in this piece, highlights the essence of the ceremony and their achievements in the last four decades.

Largest electronics market in Nigeria, International Market Alaba Electronics (IMAE) on the 29th August 2019 rolled out the drums to celebrate the Founding Fathers of the market, who were the architect of the actualisation of the trading centre, from the very first beginning, four decades ago.

IMAE is an electronics market located in Ojo, Lagos State, Nigeria. Apart from the sales of electronic products, the market also deals in the repair of home appliances. Such combination of wide range of business activities gives opportunities to electronics and electrical engineers who specialise in the repair of faulty home appliances to transact businesses with dealers in electronics. 

In the early hours of that day set aside for honouring these Founding Fathers, the market which is usually opened on a daily basis, except on Sundays and public holidays was shut down completely so that the celebration can be meaningful. 

Speaking at the event, Executive Chairman of IMAE, Evangelist Paulinus Ugochukwu thanked the traders for turning out en-masse, adding that such celebration requires apt attention.

Evangelist Ugochukwu who commended the four Founding Fathers, stated that without them, there would be no market like Alaba International market as it is today.  Ugochukwu who was automatically inducted into the fold of Founding Sons due to his respect for the Founders of the market said “I am very excited for what is happening today. We have brought out the day to celebrate the Founding Fathers who made the establishment of this market possible. Without them, there wouldn’t have been the market. So I commend them for their initiative”.

Explaining the essence of the ceremony, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of IMAE, Mr. Maduabuchukwu Adiukwu stated “We decided to celebrate our Founding Fathers today. That is the reason we are gathered here today. These are the men who founded Alaba Market in 1978. We decided to celebrate them today and say thank you for being there all these years for us. We also want to use the opportunity to inaugurate the founding sons of the association who will take over from the Founding Fathers. We decided to do that because the founding fathers are getting old. There were many before, but you can see they are just about four now. These people will take over from them. We also want to use the opportunity to showcase some of the projects we have embarked upon since we started. 

“From what happened today as you can see. We gave them one brand new Toyota Corolla 2013 model to each and every one of them. It is just like retirement benefits and from time to time, we will still give them some money to take care of themselves”, Adiukwu added. 

On their achievements in the last four decades, Adiukwu said that most of the traders who started with nothing at the market have now grown to become international businessmen and women.

“We have many achievements. In the first place 75 percent of the traders came to the market with nothing. We just came to look for what to eat and better our lives. But you can see, we all have something to show for it. Majority of the traders here are importers who import goods from all parts of the world. Most of them came to the market without anything but today they are doing well in their businesses. 

He further stated that the market  contributes immensely to the economic growth of Ojo local government, Lagos State and Nigeria at large, and that the market is doing a lot in the area of employment as youths and graduates who should be roaming the streets are today gainfully employed in Alaba as sales officers, secretaries, accountants, managers, company representatives and so on. 

Our achievements include: building of task force office, security stations, setting up of sanitation monitoring units, 10 buildings housing different sections of the market, including office for Case Settling Panels, where people who are aggrieved in the market can take their cases so that their cases can be handled. We call it Case Settling Panel office. We have also built this massive Secretariat which was facilitated by former Chairman of IMAE, Mr. Emeka Dike, popularly known as Ohamadike. We also built a very modern toilet for the traders recently”. 

Adiukwu said that he was happy that many prominent Igbo sons and daughters attended the event. According to him, some of them who graced the occasion include Chief Emeka Offor who was ably represented; Vice Chairman of Ojo LGA in Lagos and the Igbo All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Ojo, Lagos State, Chief Barrister Uche Ubochi and the popular Rev Fr Emmanual Chibuzor Obimma amongst others. 

Describing the event, Mr.  Adiukwu said “today is a wonderful day in the history of the market. What happened today has never happened in this market before now. It is unprecedented. For the first time, cars are given to those that merited it. Without them, we will not be here today. They are the people who go under the market and that is why we are honouring them today. It is a good sign that good things will continue to happen in this association”. 

A representative of the Founding Sons who were inaugurated at the event, Mr. James Okwudili thanked the market association for elevating them from mere members to Founding Sons who are taking over from the Founding Fathers.

Mr. Okwudili commended the initiative, just as he promised that they will always work together for the interest and progress of the market, even though he is no longer regular in the market, as it used to be from the beginning when the market started.

In his sermon, Rev Fr Chibuzor Obimma advised the traders to shun cultism and all form of uncleanliness, stressing that “every trader here who is a child of God should try as much as possible to build good relationship with God as Jesus Christ is the King maker. Your friend can fail you but God cannot fail”.

Fr Obimma who is also the Parish Priest of Blessed Iwene Tansi Parish, Umudioka, Dunukofia and the Spiritual Director, Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Anambra State said success does not come from efforts alone but from God Almighty.

He therefore, advised that the traders should focus more on God so as to be blessed ultimately.