For many Lagosians Akowonjo may sound like one of the suburbs in Lagos state despite being located few metres away from the Mutarla Mohammed Airport, this town which is known in the past for her various joints of beer parlour and restaurants amongst them are the famous Patanla, Approfyne etc has trendily shifted from these beer joints to a major business hub in Lagos. Business analysts have predicted a rapid growth within the shortest period of time, having considered her population which is a major factor in locating a business. This seem to be catching the attention of the current State government as her effort towards relieving some of the bottle necks in accessing Akowonjo/ Alimosho Local Government with the re-opening of the portion of the Abeokuta Expressway that was used as an alternative route during the maintenance repairs of the Dopemu bridge during the last administration and was later blocked despite the pleas from residents and motorists. The attention of the Lagos State government might have been drawn to this as it has completed a multi-million naira building that befits a Police command headquarter for the Area “M” Police command with modern equipment waiting to be commissioned; knowing fully well the role of security in developments no matter at the level.
For Akowonjo and her environs, it seems to be representing the biblical quote of “the rejected stone now the chief corner stone Mathew 21vs 42”. This is represented by the massive investments that have been witnessed in the recent times to this most populated LG with estimated of over 3 million people. Akowonjo and her environs has recorded more investment in the recent years 2014 to 2015 which has seen many businesses both old and new strategically repositioning themselves for business within the LGA.
The financial institutions which are mostly represented by the banks during this period has recoded massive investments in Alimosho with introduction of additional branches while some have embarked on branch expansion so as to accommodate their ever growing customers. Some of these banks include;
Diamond Bank which opened her new office complex for business on Shasha Road, Akowonjo towards the end of the first quarter of 2014, and has been reaping her dividend of investment as both existing and potential customers’ troop in for various degree of business, the branch which was introduced to ease the stress of her customers having to visit her Iyana Ipaja and Ikotun branches for their daily business which does not well represent her role as the leading SMEs support provider, it has created an avenue to further reach their target audience within the Akowonjo and Alimosho in general.
Fidelity Bank is among the list of banks to open her multi million naira office complex- Idimu Branch situated on Idimu Egbeda Road, which also is strategically located to complement her overwhelmed Olugbede Model Market Branch. This new branch also possesses the best gallery of ATM facilities within the axis to serve her numerous clients and others.
Access Bank Plc; with the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank; this has seen Access Bank leveraging on the existing strong branch base of ICB to increase her presence, also they have embarked on various degrees of renovations cum constructions to maintain their architectural designs and to accommodate their numerous clienteles.
First Bank Plc recently completed her new office complex between Abule Odu and Car Wash bus stops on Idimu/Egbeda Road which was designed to provide a more conducive business environment for her mammoth crowd of customers from her former rented office space on the same road.
Zenith Bank Plc is not left out as it opened her newest branch in Alimosho. Strategically located along Ipaja road via Gowon Estate to attract customers from the major estates around like Gowon, Abessan, Shagari, Gemade etc, it is also expected that this will further reduce the time spent by customers in getting their desired services from her existing branches.
The one customer bank (Sterling Bank), as modest as it could be is also not left out in the re-strategizing towards providing her esteemed customers and potentials customers a more-like banking environment as it embarked on a huge structural renovations on her Akowonjo and Idimu branches; while for Ecobank, her acquisition of Oceanic Bank Plc gave her a clout to reach out to her numerous customers in and around Alimosho while various degrees of renovations have been effected in some of her branches to meet with their structural models, though her customers are still agitating for more branches to reduce their time of transactions.
Gtbank on its own has remained outstanding in managing her customers and bridging the lacuna created by the inabilities of other banks with her innovations and the sustenance/maintenance of her e-centres, facebook account opening method and her unique mobile transfer dubbed *737# which has been able to provide relieve for all customers and residents of Alimosho and beyond, also with her new multi million naira branch opened for business last year on Ipaja Road business will never be like it was. Having crowned the best bank of 2014, it is expected that more innovations will be introduced to retain her award.
Hotels & Leisure:
The hospitality business in Alimosho got a major boost with the opening of De Santos Hotel, situated at the heart beat of Alimosho. The Hotel which represents a massive investment with state of art equipment and a lovely ambience for her prospective clients and customers opened her door for business in the first quarter of 2014 and has brought new heights to hospitality in Alimosho. Also, New Moon Hotel also is another hotel that came to the lime light of business in 2014, located on Coker Estate, Orisunbare it has a class of its own to her numerous customers. Havannah Hotels and Suites also have continually braced up with the challenges of her ever increasing competitors by consistently upgrading her facilities and services tailored to bring satisfaction to her guests.
Groceries and supermarkets, top on the list is the most recently opened Just Rite on Iyana Dopemu area of Dopemu in the last quarter of 2014. The structural design and its location is surely going to bring the long awaited relieve to shop-freaks who have been left with no choice than to travel to Ikeja to quench their shopping urge. This will also provide relieve to motorists who might want to ease off the usual traffic tension in the evenings on the Abeokuta Expressway. The groceries will also recognise the expansion of Adide Supermarkets in various locations with the environs and the most recent Beco Supermarkets strategically located near Akowonjo Roundabout.
Service providers and Telecommunications sectors are not left out, Multichoice opened her Akowonjo office within the period under review, the office is located on Sweet Sensation building by Akowonjo Round-about. Etisalat also opened her Experience Centre on Akowonjo Road by Kwara bus sop to bring her quality service deliveries to her ever growing subscribers and thereby stiffening the competition among the existing networks such as MTN and Airtel also located on the same road by Cele and Vulcanizer bus stops respectively.
There was also a mass invasion of various agents of payment portal (PAGA, Poket-Moni etc) and internet service providers ISPs (Swift and Spectranet) and also quite a number of new fuel stations came on board and not forgetting the sensation of the moment, the numerous Sport betting outlets that is located on almost all the street of Alimosho.
The health sector representatives on Akowonjo and her environs are not left out as there has been a regular updating cum upgrading in their facilities to meet with the ever increasing demand for quality healthcare. Consistently, Crystal hospital, West Care, Mary The Queen, Bee Hees and the health centres just to mention few have been leading the list of hospitals in the provision of quality and affordable health care. On the other hand, Funbel has been leading the role in bridging the gap in the area of standard laboratory services.
The traffic situation has remained a major factor why other organisations are not looking in this direction despite efforts by the government the nuisance usually caused by the commercial bus drivers on Akowonjo road, especially by the Egbeda axis require a drastic measures to curtail, though Egbeda is one of the major bus stops in Lagos state without a garage as such this has left the commercial bus driver popularly known as “Danfo Drivers” to constantly obstruct traffic in their quest to load their buses leaving businesses with this axis to suffer as customers are usually sceptical in patronising businesses around it. While business owners are agitating for a garage to be created by the government in curbing this menace.
The Jimoh and Micom bus stops are points on the Akowonjo road that is begging for urgent attention, as these points for years have remained neglected despite been ravaged by flood at any slightest drops of rain, causing huge pains and loses to motorists and business owners around these spots. Some of them claimed that the reason for the flood is as a result of lack of or adequate drainage system and the blockage of the existing ones.
Despite these odds, Akowonjo and environs have remained in an upward trend of growth which analysts believe that if well harnessed will create a massive business haven for Lagos State and Nigeria at large bearing in mind her population which is estimated to be above three million people and her land mass. Some also believe that Alimosho could even experience even more investments as its level of insecurity has remained at the barest minimum and with the keen interest shown by the Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode in community developments, one will expect that Alimosho will benefit immensely.