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The Ladipo Spare Parts Market, Lagos (Posted 4th November, 2002) Tell your friends about this page! Email it to them.

Ladipo Market, Mushin, LagosLadipo! Ladipo!! Ladipooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Shouted the bus conductor at Mushin bus stop with veins glaring on his forehead. To Lagosians, Ladipo is no strange place. What and where is Ladipo you may ask? Ladipo is one of the longest streets in Papa Ajao area of Mushin Local Government of Lagos. But, this street unlike others in Lagos is different.

Ladipo is known for car spare parts and is claimed to be the biggest spare parts market south of the Sahara. In fact it is the largest in terms of size and available varieties of car accessories in Nigeria. It is often said that whatever you cannot find in Ladipo is not yet in the country. What makes Ladipo tick then?

A Brief History

The Ladipo phenomena started with a crawl sometime in the mid 1980s. Early traders in the market recalled that they were attracted to the place by the presence of a few auto-mechanic workshops and the popular (now defunct) R. T Briscoe (Nigeria) Limited. According to Mr. Raphael Uche, the public relations officer of the Ladipo/Osoro Traders Union (LOTU), he asserts that "the Ladipo motor spare parts market started far back as 1984, when 3 people started trading on motor spare parts; Toyota, Datsun (Nissan), Volkswagen, Peugeot and other car spares/accessories".

The present day Ladipo was then a semi-swampy forest, which was cleared by the Mushin Local Council around 1988 as requested by the then Papa Ajao Traders Association (PATA). The area was sparsely populated with landlords literally begging prospective shop owners with little short of free rents. The modern sprawl began from 186, Ladipo Street, when the owner of the market land area one Alhaji M. M Akinwunmi decided against his better judgment to build shops as opposed to residential blocks on his land when Pressurised by the traders.

Today, the Ladipo market, which has grown astronomically within a span of 15 years, has made Papa Ajao popular within Mushin. The market is made up of 16 different sections described as autonomous markets under the umbrella of the Ladipo Auto Central Executive Committee (LACEC). Investigation shows that each street in the Papa Ajao area that features a market is seen as an entity thus having a distinct body all subsumed under the control of LACEC.

One admirable development in the market is the presence of well co-ordinated and vibrant market associations. In fact, one will be amazed by the giant strides these bodies have made in terms of general discipline of members, security, cleanliness, arbitration, and noticeable self-generated infrastructure developments in the market. The mother body, LACEC seems to have a strong hold on the different bodies and symmetry exists among all the associations presenting a very formidable united front.

This unity was put to test in 1991 when the landlords in the area decided to arbitrarily increase shop
rents. The Union took up the gauntlet and sought for legal redress in court, where many battles were won and lost. Today they have as chief legal counsel, the fearless lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN).

Where is Ladipo?

The mention of Mushin connotes notoriety to many, but the fact that Ladipo is lodged within Mushin has not diminished her impact on the Nigerian economy. Ladipo market as it is popularly called is situated within Mushin Local Government area just off Apapa-Oworonsoki Expressway. Ladipo Street can also be linked from Agege Motor Road passing through Fatai Atere Way either through Oshodi or from Ilupeju bye pass. Ladipo Street is arguably the longest street in the area, thus the market being synonymous with the street.

The market itself is tucked around the long Ladipo Street, Osoro Street, Unity Close, Jimade Close,
Alhaji Akinwunmi Street, Olapeju Street, Oloruntotiu Street, Odusina Street and Rowland Street. Ladipo extends from the Apapa-Oworonsoki Expressway to link Agege Motor Road at Mushin. Ladipo is accessible through Oshodi, Mushin, Apapa-Oworonsoki and Ilupeju bye pass. One of the factors that actually gave birth to Ladipo market is the Industrial Estate situated along Fatai Atere Way and it's environ.

What to Find at the Market

A visitor to the market can get varieties of car accessories and parts. According to the Public Relations Officer of the Ladipo/Osoro section of the market, "you can get anything in terms of automobile and everything concerning cars alone". Wide range of items are available at the market, spanning all car models and their manufacturers: from Nissan to Toyota, Peugeot, Mitsubishi, Mercedes Benz, and a host of others. There are 2 categories of parts available here: the brand new and the fairly used (Tokunboh in Nigerian Parlance).

Ladipo is a one-stop spare part market that enjoys patronage within and outside Lagos. It is estimated that it records sales of over 2 million Naira (about USD 15, 000) daily with over a thousand shops and over 5,000 shoppers daily. Investigation revealed that the traders source their spare parts from Japan, Taiwan and many European countries. They have a well-orchestrated system in which they generate a pool of funds through contribution from which they send an individual or two abroad to buy their needs in bulk and these parts are then shared based on individual contributions.

Challenges of the Market

The market has cast Mushin in a positive glow, an area only noted for sale of food items and provisions in the established Ojuwoye and Mushin markets. Ladipo has served as a pull for spare parts seekers all around Nigeria and above all it serves as a beacon for other markets to emulate in the area of market organisation and unity.

One must not overlook the immense revenue the market alone accrues to the coffers of the local government. It is not surprising then to hear that the proposed General Hospital under construction in the Ladipo area has been converted to a shopping mall in order to satiate the ever-increasing demand for more shop space.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the traders in the market, much is desired from the authorities of both
Mushin Local Government and the Lagos State Government. The market urgently needs a good network of roads. It takes the sharpest of reflexes to negotiate the deep potholes in the area and it is almost impossible to get a parking space. The traders complained bitterly of water shortages, power outages, and absence of adequate refuse disposal facilities among others. They appealed to the Federal Government to help shore the present decline on the naira and stabilise the exchange rate regime as it has a dire effect on their businesses.

Investment Openings

For an interested investor, focus should be directed more on the provision of services and modernisation of the market. Thus, openings abound in the provision of modern shopping malls equipped with basic infrastructures. Other service industry opportunities are in provision of parking lots, power generation and distribution, water delivery, waste disposal facilities, telephone services, Internet cafe services, computer training, spare parts delivery service, computerisation of the whole market and introduction of computerised inventory, payment, and receipt system, among other needs.

A major investment vacuum exists in wholesale importation and sale of the spare parts to these traders. Though this will involve a large pool of resources as demands of the traders are in the 9-digit bracket. Another, untapped avenue is in online shopping. This will involve setting up of websites for individual traders or one for a section of the market where buyers could click online, order goods, pay online and get delivery via a reliable courier service.

Present day Ladipo is a beehive of activities with banks, factories and other petty traders struggling for space, but it can be made better. How will Ladipo look like in 5 years' time? Same or ultra-modern? An ultra-modern Ladipo may become a reality with wise investment input by somebody reading this feature.

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