Capdan’s Priority Is To Elevate Computer Village’s Image- Ojikuti
Mr Ahmed Ojikuti ,President of the largest Information and Communication Technology(ICT) market in West Africa, under the aegis of the Computer Village Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (Capdan), in this interview with PELUMI OLALEYE lays bare his score card.
You have been at the helms of affairs for over two years, how has it been and what is the way forward?
We are running Computer Village with a new mind set and an entirely different ideology, whereby making people understand that the market belongs to the stakeholders: the buyers, sellers, government and importers.This is a market that everyone takes as something of importance and something that belongs to them. What we have been able to achieve is giving people a sense of belonging and ownership. People have seen Computer Village stream of income, as a place of revenue generation and wealth creation making it easier for us to execute some of the plans we have.
With over 5,000 shops in Computer Village, how have you been able to identify your members?
We have been able to do a successful identity management, you know they say that what you cannot measure you cannot manage, but the fact that we have been able to do a proper identification,which was powered by the leading identity management company in Nigeria, CHAMS. And it has been able to capture people’s identity. The worth of Computer Village ID card is similar to the national ID card .
We continuously strive to organising business development programmes. The orientation and the mentality of people before now is that they are traders. We have changed the buying and selling mentality to a business owner perspective. People now see themselves as businessmen and decision makers. Decisions they take on their businesses are no longer perceived as today’s point of view but rather as an holistic one, whereby, the short, medium and long term are put into consideration. People are now doing proper accounting and record in the market unlike before.What we have been able to do again, is develop the people. We have been able to secure very low interest rate loans for people, and in terms of discipline, we have ensured discipline like never before. When people want to sell, they know that they have to sell with warranty to people.
As president, how have you been able to settle disputes and complaints?
When people bring complaints, we deal with them accordingly. And we tell the buying public, that they have a right to complain to us as an association and we ensure that we get justice for them on any transaction gone sore made in Computer Village.
We also have task force around, and they have been able to maintain peace and discipline. Everybody is now accountable for their behaviour, there is a responsibility on everyone to behave well, if not, you have to be accountable to us and to the association. Whatever thing that people do, either as our member, or the public within the market, we have the Nigerian police force that are working closely with us. We make sure that we hand over people that are migrants with bad intention, who mix with people who come to do genuine business in Computer Village. We have tried as much as possible to arrest them, and hand them over to the police.
With all of these, what have been the challenges?
Where we have a problem is in terms of prosecution, the police cannot do any magic. if a buying public comes around to say someone has duped them, most of these things do not happen in Computer Village, they happen at the suburb or the environs of the Computer Village perimeter, and what we do most of the time is that we make sure we arrest these people that are involved. But the complainant most of the time would say they do not want to stand as a witness for prosecution. We are not magicians, but we need the public to understand that it is needed for convictions, so that it would serve as deterrent to others that wants to dent the image and name of the market by defrauding people of their belongings.
We keep saying this to the public, that we are here to work with them more than ever and that is what we have been doing so far that we have been here.
We are working with the standard organisations of Nigeria (SON), on so many brands.The issue of product documentation is key and we are sorting that out already. We are sorting them out and SON now understands that some of these things are not practicable. For instance, shop A to shop 10 are selling the similar products. Shop A has flash drives of15 models, hard drive 10 models, screen 20 models, charger 35 models, battery 40 models. Do we then say that this person should register each of those models? Is that business anymore? So if he is buying from another shop tomorrow either America, Dubai or China, would he register the same set of different models?
So how does Capdan come in?
What we are trying to fashion out is a peculiar customized way of handling and monitoring whereby we have a joint enforcement team with SON. Then we hand the people with irregularities over to SON for prosecution and government agencies should know that the best form of regulation is self regulation and we are ready to do this not just for ourselves, but the entire buying public and the image of this market.