The access road before reconstruction started
The access road…under reconstruction
Finished product: After rehabilitation by CCECC
Renovated admin block with part of the reclaimed green area
Sets of office equipment and furniture Ajayi (above), Chairman of LITFC’s board, Barr. Mela Nunghe inspecting progress of work at the complex
By Charles Okogene
Before 2017, the expansive Lagos International Trade Fare Complex (LITFC), the former home base of the yearly Lagos Chamber of Commerce sponsored trade fare exhibition and so many markets like ASPANDA among others, had been ran down.
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The edifice, which is one of the signature infrastructure in Lagos State, if not Nigeria, that the military left behind before it was forced back to the barracks in 1999, can best be described as nondescript as at the time the present All Progressives Congress (APC) government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, took over.
Not only that, organisers of programmes like the yearly trade fare exhibition and the numerous entertainment events that made the venue the choice place to be had all taken flight to other places within the city of Lagos just because of the unkempt nature of the complex.
Simply put, there was no access road to the place right from the Lagos/Badagry Expressway, all the green areas within the precinct of the complex that made the edifice close to nature, had either been over grown by ‘stubborn’ grasses or taken over by the ubiquitous street traders or yobs, electricity supply to the main administrative block had be cut off by the DISCO serving the area, the administrative offices were in shambles as there were lacking essential office furniture and other equipment; and to add to the woes, the concessionaire that the last regime concession the place to, did not remit a dime to the government coffers in spite of the fact that stakeholders within the complex paid their mandatory charges and levies.
In fact, that was the sorry state of LITFC until President Buhari singled out Chief (Mrs.) Lucy Omosefe-Ajayi and appointed her the executive director/CEO of the place in 2017,
And like a woman with a lion heart, which she is, she never allowed the rot in the place, the not too encouraging remarks of fellow women or the numerous court cases brought against her by the former concessionaire discourage her; instead, such became the catalyst she needed to forge ahead.
First on assumption of office, she met with the stakeholders and publicly told them that she had come to work and not to make their stay in there hellish. And they believed her because they had never, in their lifetime throughout their stay in the place, seen a representative of the owner of the place descend from his/her exalted high horse to interact with them in a friendly manner.
Next, she focused on the reclamation of all the green areas that street traders had hijacked. That done, she fenced it with American security wires so they will not stage a come back.
And in line with the promise she made to the stakeholders, she embarked on the rehabilitation of the access and internal roads to the complex and as at the time of filing this report, over two KM of the five KM road have been repaired using a reputable Chinese contractor.
The administrative wing of the complex, which has not seen repainting,and repairs of any kind since it was built, has been repainted, re-roofed while disused and obsolete office equipment and furniture have been changed, thus giving workers reason to put in their best
The mountain of electricity bill that led to the cut of electricity has been settled just as 60KVA generator has been bought accompanied with solar panels to make sure the admin block enjoys minute to minute, 24/7 electricity supply. To complement the easy movement of staff, two utility vehicles have been purchased.
Perhaps, the icing on the cake is that under the leadership of Omosefe-Ajayi, LITFC, is gradually becoming revenue earner for the government. We gathered that for 2019 alone, the place has remitted over N300 million to the government treasury and still poised to do more in 2020. To tell the world that what a men could not do, a woman can make a difference; that it does not take an arm and a leg to make the place come alive again. Now, Ajayi is bringing back the good old days of LITFC as the centre of buying and selling in Lagos.
Pictures by LITFC