Lack Of Occupancy Of Most Shops Does Not Make Ikorodu Plaza Viable And Conducive For Business – Prince Jamiu Saka

Prince Jamiu Adio Saka, Chairman, Ikorodu Plaza management committee.

Prince Jamiu Adio Saka, (CLU, CFP, FCTI, F.ioD,LLB,BLL), the Chairman of the newly inaugurated Management Board of the Ikorodu Plaza, is an Insurance guru with working experiences, both in Nigeria and abroad.

He is a graduate of both the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada with the degrees of B.A (Economics), Bachelor of Laws (LLB. Hons.), Master’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos and Barrister at Law (BL).

He is the Managing Director, Penguin Insurance Brokers and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ikorodu Division.

He spoke with THE IMPACT in his office at Ojogbe in Ikorodu, after his committee met with occupants of the Ikorodu Plaza located at Ita Elewa on Tuesday (yesterday) lta-Elewa.

Hundreds of shops still locked up several years after the plaza was opened for operations.

In this brief interview with Kunle Adelabu, Publisher/Reporter – in – Chief of THE IMPACT, Prince Saka bore his mind on challenges facing the plaza and how they intend to address them and make the Plaza viable and profitable.  Excerpts:

 IMPACT: Today, you met with occupants of the Ikorodu Plaza at Ita – Elewa, lkorodu, can you briefly tell us how the meeting went?

Prince Saka: The meeting went well. We were able to get the representative of the occupants  (nominated  as member of the new Ikorodu Plaza management committee).  She is no other person than Alhaja Sekinot Dosunmu Solebo. They all unanimously elected her as their statutory member of the committee.

Basically, it was a beautiful outing and we were able to hear from them the foundational challenges and some of their concerns as to what they would like to see to make the plaza sustainable.

THE IMPACT: Sir, there are many shops that are still being locked up and this has posed a great challenge to the viability of the plaza. Aside this, what are the other challenges that you have discovered and how is your committee planning to address them?

Prince Saka: We have been able to gather some of the issues and challenges. The major part of it is that traders establish their businesses simply for profit and a situation where they open shops everyday and are unable to get customers as a result of a failing environment is not encouraging enough. These are issues that the management committee needs to deal with and we are going to face that squarely.

The number of vacancies there is not conducive for a viable trading environment and a situation whereby less than 40 percent are occupying the Plaza and 20 per cent of this are using it as a warehouse, does not help the human traffic movement.

These are the challenges that the committee needs to deal with and we are and we are going to deal with them squarely

We have been able to sub – divided ourselves into two major committees, except for myself as the chairman, and these committees are going to look into the issues and proffer possible and practical solutions.

We have Mobilisation and Occupancy sub – committees which are incharge of sourcing for funds and mobilizing other trading groups into the area. They are also going to look at the tenancy and leasehold agreement and see how we are going to use it to stabilize the Plaza. That may also include the local government and the five council development authorities that we have. Also, we must have the capital outlay to bring the premises into a worthwhile edifice – the clearing of the premises, the improvement of the environmental conditions and many others.

We are trying to see if we can get more banks and eateries into the plaza to encourage more traffic into the area and reflect on the trading activities of the occupiers.

IMPACT:  I have been interacting with some of the occupants of the Plaza since the inauguration of your committee and they have also raised issues concerning security and sanitation. What are you going to do about these sir?

Prince Saka: But first and foremost, the committee needs to have a moral right before asking occupants for anything. In my own point of view, we have to clean the place first.  We have to find a way of paying for whatever it will cost us. We have to make the place environmentally conducive first.

We also have to find a means of repainting the place. It is our edifice, legacy and it is in the interest of the Division to ensure that place remains something everybody can be proud of.

Set of shops inside the plaza unoccupied.

In terms of security, fortunately, they have not been having any security issue except for the people parking within the Plaza and trading somewhere else or parking overnight but we are already looking for ways to correct that by separating Bernabas from Paul.

Those are the issues that the committee will be looking into and hopefully within the next two weeks, and with people like you showing interest in what we are doing which is more of supervising and disseminating the information, we will be able to achieve that.

IMPACT: Lastly sir, regarding the issue of dissemination of information, people are asking if there is still vacancy within the Plaza since most of the stalls are still locked up?

Prince Saka: There are still shops for interested parties. Without looking at my books, I will say that we still have close to 50 shops that are still vacant. There are still those that owners just bought as if they are hoarding them for value. Those are the areas that we need to deal with it. We want to see a situation where we can tailor the agreements along the needs of the people. It is not all of us that can afford a 25 years lease. There are people that want to do business and are probably interested in two years lease or a sub – lease arrangement.

Once we have a formal handover by Arch. Taiwo Kara and Associates which have done very well and whose tenure just ended, we will know what we are dealing with. We have gone round the place and we have seen that there is a lot of environmental cleaning that needed to be done.

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