The President of Alaba Amalgamated Association, the umbrella body of the 16 sections that make up Alaba International Market, Nathaniel Anibogu, has said that efforts are being made to include the international market among the existing chambers of commerce and industries in the country.
He said that this is one of the things that he wants to achieve in office before the expiration of his tenure as the president of the entire market.
In this interview, he also spoke on other issues concerning the international market. Excerpt:
Who is Nathaniel Anibogu
Nathaniel Anibogu is the current president of Alaba Amalgamated Association. In Alaba International Market, we have 16 sections and each section has a head who goes by the title of chairman. For instance, I am the chairman of Olojo Drive Traders Association, which is one of the sections.Olojo Drive traders deal in interior decorations,that is house furnishing items. I became the president of Alaba International market in February and I hail from Umudioka in Awka,Anambra State.
What vision do you have for the market?
My vision is to reposition the market and take it to where it rightly belongs as an international market of repute. Go and do your findings, Alaba is the most popular market in the whole of Africa.Go to Japan,China and other countries, once you mention Nigeria, what comes to mind is Alaba International Market. However,when you come to the market, there are no basic infrastructure to support the big name that the traders have made with dint of hard work .So, my vision is to take the market to a greater height. Can you imagine that in a market as big as Alaba, there are no garage, no fire station and no independent power station, while our population is in millions. It is because of this that I am discussing with the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry on how to include Alaba among the chambers of commerce and industry.We have made considerable progress in this and sooner than later, it would become a reality, which would change the narrative of the market and impact positively on the traders and the customers.
Is there any role that you want the government to play in this?
A lot. In 2015, when the Vice President, Prof.Yemi Osibanjo came to Alaba on their campaign then, he promised us that if they win, they will bring independent power plant to Alaba International Market. But they did not fulfill the promise in their first tenure. Now that they have been re-elected for a second term, I am appealing to him to remember the promise of independent power plant that he made to us in 2015 because it is still valied. This is one thing that would trigger off industralization. Nigerians are very creative. Most of the things that we import, we create and design them here and then send to our foreign partners to produce. But if we have steady power supply, most of the things that we are currently importing can be produced here. Alaba International Market is the pride of Nigeria. If you go to outside Nigeria,you would understand what I mean.We are respected.Other countries in Africa hold us in high esteem. So, government should help us by upgrading the infrastructure in the market.
What do you have to say about the 2019 budget now in the National Assembly?
The truth is that no country can survive without commerce.Today, Alaba is the biggest employer of labour in the country.My appeal to the Federal Government is that it should prioritize commerce. Commerce should be having substantial allocation in the budget annually because of the important role it is playing in the economy. Since there are dearths of industries in the country, youths are now going into commerce as alternative source of survival. I can, therefore, safely say that if the government wants to invest in the youth, it should invest in commerce because that is where they are at the moment. Government can do this by giving soft loans to traders, coming up with business friendly policies and reducing the taxes that traders pay.These would herlp to create employment for the teeming unemployed and thereby drastically reduce the insecurity in the country, which most times is the product of unemployment.