BRIEF PROFILE OF IBADAN.
The City of Ibadan with its population estimated to be over 3 million people and a friendly weather is a readily available market for any legitimate business. There are promoters looking for investors to partner with. There are also existing start-ups and well-established businesses investors can buy equity in. Some of these businesses and business prospects are spread across the Eleven Local Government areas making up the Ibadan Metropolitan area.
Equally, because of its land mass, business owners can situate their business in any area in the city taking into consideration the target market of such business. The strategic location of the city serving as transit point for travelers is another leverage a business can capitalize on. Personally, I consider the long stretch of Iwo-Road/Lagos-Ibadan Expressway with entries and exits of the various parts of the city, and few kilometers apart along it a unique feature of the city.
The various lanes of the Nigeria Railway Cooperation passing through the city allows for companies to easily locate their warehouses around some locations like Dugbe, Ogunpa, Leventis, Molete, Apata and even as far as locations like Omi, Wofun, Olodo, Elebu and others. Transit by air is well covered by the active airport. Several flights operate daily. It is a city for new and old businesses.
BEFORE YOU START
So, whether you are coming in to do business for a short time or you are intending a permanent stay this will be of tremendous assistant to you. However, this do not guarantee automatic patronage and success for the business or even a nice time during your stay unless one is ready to follow some very important guides, rules and regulations, individual personal requirements, professional, and cultural challenges of doing business in the city. Some of these are generally applicable to all businesses, whether big or small. Some are applicable and suitable only for some specific types of businesses. So you pick what suits you and fly with it.
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES
After sorting out individual personal issues like understanding the type of business you are venturing into, the nature of business, setting your goals and objectives, mission in a well drafted and assessed business plan, getting of funds, and choosing a location for your business, staffing, proposed size of business, who and who are forming the company, the health of the company for those wanting to buy equity into an existing business, background check on such company’s promoters and directors, checking up the cooperate image, and book of account among others. Next are professional issues like trade secret, statutory, and professional restrictions etc. These other issues to be discussed below are equally important.
LAWS AND REGULATIONS
The city is the Capital of Oyo State, Nigeria. Like any other towns and cities in the country, all business must be registered with all the relevant agencies as required by law. Generally, all businesses must be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission located at Total Garden, Yemetu, Ibadan, Oyo state as stipulated by the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) using the service of qualified professionals.
Before and after registration of your business, it is important you pay the relevant taxes as may be assessed by the relevant federal, state, and local government agencies applicable to your line of business. Every tax you will be charged are backed by law and the rates well stated in it too. Hence don’t hesitate to request for the law regulating the tax you are being charged from representative of the agencies or employ the service of a tax consultant or a lawyer.
Then some businesses require individual or specific registration with the relevant agency regulating the line of business you are venturing into. For instance, all advertising agencies must be registered with the state’s advertisement regulatory agency. If you are going into finance and insurance, such company must be registered with Central Bank of Nigeria and Insurance Regulatory Commission. So you need to find out the relevant agencies regulating your line of business.
There are other laws and regulations like the environmental laws and restrictions on trade till 10am every Thursday, and restriction on parking of cars on some roads. This means you will have to secure parking space for your customers and staff.
CULTURE TOURISM AND LEISURE
Ibadan has two major religions; Islam and Christianity. There are also traditional Yoruba religions like Egungun, Sango, Oro and others in the city. There is usually Ileya celebration by the Muslims, Christmas by the Christians, and several traditional celebrations like Oke Ibadan Festival, Egungun Festival, Ose Meji Festival, and Yemoja Festival celebrated with drumming, singing, dancing, eating and drinking. There are several Mosques, churches, and shrines across the city.
There are also notable landmarks like Cocoa House, Femi Johnson or Stockbrokers’ House, The Mall, Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Radio Corporation, Oxford Building, Nigeria Railway Corporation, and Post Office in Dugbe. There is University of Ibadan, Zoological Gardens, Agodi Gardens, Bower Memorial Tower, Oke Aare, Mapo Hall, Oke Mapo, Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, The Teaching Hospital, Golf Course within Ibadan Golf Club, The Barracks Course, IITA Golf Course and other tourist attractions which equally serve as leisure points.
There are some exclusive leisure points and clubs for relaxation. Some of these are Cocoa Dome in Dugbe, Eateries inside the Mall at Dugbe and Ring Road, Genesis in Molete, Bubbles, Infinity, QLounge, 411, Chillers in Bodija, Wallan Hotel, Kakanfo Inn, and Paris Bakery along ring road. There are also local canteens for local dishes like Iyadunni in Challenge, Skye Bank Amala Joint, Asabi Tommy Tucks. The list is endless. Generally the standard of living in Ibadan is cheap. The services of these leisure places refereed are equally affordable
The long stretch of Iwo-Road/Lagos Ibadan Expressway with entry and exit point of the various parts of the city along it, and few kilometers apart is a unique feature of the road network in the city. You will find fascinating the interconnected road network – driving through the smooth traffic, especially being able to detour off a busy road into residential areas and still get to your destination within reasonable minutes and less hassle.
However, when driving through the city you must hold all necessary vehicle documents and means of identification. Police, Federal Road Safety, and Vehicle Inspection Officers are usually physically present and active on the roads. Inspecting vehicles and controlling traffic. And if you must take public transport you must be ready to endure the usually rickety bus and abusive Taxi drivers or you just use the car hire, taxi service companies and know your bus stop or have someone who does around you. You can also ask. Don’t be timid. The people of the city are as friendly as the ambience of the city itself. The various lanes of the Nigeria Railway cooperation pass through the city and there is an active Airport
The city generally is safe. Except for some reported cases of kidnapping which were on the rise some years ago. Police stations are well established across the city. Police vehicles patrol and monitor the security around the city. However, nothing stops you from being watchful.
It is a city for new and old businesses, old and young people too. There are English and majorly Yoruba language speaking people in the city. There are also other languages like Igbo language and Hausa language. Nigerian Pidgin is the most commonly spoken and understood means of communication. So if you can get your way with pidgin, business will be easy.
If you must do business in Ibadan, please take the above into consideration. Most importantly explore the big city, understand, and appreciate the opportunities. If you need business support within the city, there are very qualified professionals who can help. However, take honesty into consideration too.
Did I miss anything out? Please share in the comment box!