• The thrill, frill of Oja-Oba market
Bamgbola Gbolagunte, Akure
The popular Oja-oba market located in the heart of Akure, the Ondo State capital may have turned to a market majorly patronised by women, as the sales of bend down clothes in the market has increased. Many women from both within and outside the town now troop to the place fairly used and second hand clothes of different types.
The market, which is as old as Akure kingdom is located in a central place such that it is accessible from all the four corners of Akure.
Though known for all forms of goods and various economic activities, the level at which second-hand clothes are being sold and bought in Oja Oba market has become interesting even as it has become a mini
“Dubai”, especially among ladies and women who besiege it daily to buy second-hand clothes and other materials.
A recent survey revealed that the price of fairly use clothes at the popular market is cheaper compared to other markets in the state. The prices are as cheap as N300, a development which makes the market to become centre of wholesale and retail sales for “bend down” clothes.
Unlike other markets in Akure, the Oja-Oba market is a daily market, which is opened to customers from morning till night. There is no exact time for the opening of the market, neither is there any time for it to officially close, as people are often seen at the market both day and night transacting businesses.
However, the attractions in the market is not only limited to the buying and selling of second hand clothing, as other various activities including religious and social activities also take place there.
The high patronage at the bend down clothes section, findings revealed, has made many traders to develop interest in the business.
One of the traders who specialises in it “bend down” clothes at the market, Mrs. Ayobami Olowookere, said she changed to the sales of the clothes when it became clear that many people now buy the them.
Mrs. Olowookere who said she was selling new clothes before she diversified her business, noted that she took the decision because of the high demand for “bend down” clothes.
“I sell more bend down clothes than the new ones because many people demand for it. The young ladies patronise us more than others,” she disclosed.
“I decided to change to the sales of bend down clothes when everybody was demanding for them as the demand for new cloth has dropped. Since I started, things have been moving on well with my business.
“Many of our customers are female students. People are comfortable with the goods and the response has always been positive because the shop is always flooded with customers daily.”
Also, a man who sells the clothes who simply identified himself as Mr. Olu said there were profits in the business as the goods are often sold unlike new clothes that take long time in the shop before being bought.
“Oja Oba market is now known for bend down clothes and people come here from both within and outside the state. There are some of my customers who are from Osun and Ekiti states, some of them buy in wholesale and sell,” he said.
A traditional Chief of Akure, Chief Adesina Adedipe stated that the Oja- Oba market is as old as Akure kingdom itself, stressing that the market is for all kinds of goods and businesses, with people from all parts of the country selling and buying at there.
He said the market, like other Oja Oba in Yoruba land is located close to the Akure Central Mosque and the Palace of the Deji of Akure, adding that “there is nothing brought to the market that will not be sold and the traders make reasonable profits.”
He said the sales of bend down clothes is a new trend, as according to him, “the present economic situation in the country promoted the sale of bend down clothes in the market.
It was not thesituation before now. But, the business is welcome in the market,” he said.
But individuals are not the only ones making a kill. The state government is also said to be reaping bountifully from huge internally generated revenue (IGR) accrued to its coffers from taxes paid by traders and dealers of the bend down clothes.