The Open Yaba Manifesto is here


Hello everyone.

The Yaba technology cluster is something that developed organically in less than a decade, and is a real thing. If you are reading this, you are probably no stranger to it. Now, the people who live and work there want to take an active, deliberate hand in its future development, and that’s what has given rise to the open Yaba Manifesto. “Open” because it will be fleshed out through active contribution from the community.

The result of the Yaba Townhall, which was convened on the 23rd of June at the Co-Creation Hub, was a broad framework around which the details of a coherent roadmap for the Yaba tech cluster can be fleshed out. Seven different objectives were identified and established as the main articles of the manifesto.

  1. Culture: A culture and spirit of community that is conducive to the healthy development of a technology cluster
  2. Funding: The mechanism by which funding for startups in the Yaba technology cluster is harnessed and distributed
  3. Talent: Building the army of technical and operational talent that will execute the ventures that emerge from the cluster
  4. Infrastructure: Power? Traffic? Broadband? Parking? We need to figure that stuff out
  5. Policy: Proactively engaging lawmakers and regulators to pave the way for policy that encourages innovation
  6. Smart city: Positioning the Yaba technology cluster is the perfect microcosm and template for Lagos’ ambitions to create smart cities, powered by cutting edge technology and infrastructure.
  7. Research and development: The means by which the cluster contemplates and invests in future technologies and development

Francis Sani’s recap of the event does a better job of capturing what happened, definitely read that.

The online deliberations on each of these articles/pillars will be led by people you know, as follows.

  1. Culture Team Lead: Oluyomi Ojo, @OluyomiOjo
  2. Funding Team Lead: Mark Essien, @mark
  3. Talent Team Lead: Dele Bakare, @delebakare
  4. Infrastructure Team Lead: Olufunbi Falayi, @olufunbi.falayi
  5. Policy Creation Team Lead: Gbenga Sesan, @gbengasesan
  6. Smart City Team Lead: Emeka Okoye, @emeka_okoye
  7. Research & Development Team Lead: Temie Giwa-Bosun, @temie

We have created threads corresponding to their articles/pillars and opened the conversation (see direct links above). All the conversations will be grouped in the dedicated Yaba Manifesto category that we have created for that purpose. Please feel free to join in any or all of the conversations! But before you do, please take a minute to look at the ground rules. Keeping the conversation clean and intellectual is essential to arriving at a manifesto that will endure the test of time.

We are honoured that Radar was chosen to be the online platform to coordinate and aggregate the conversations that will inform the open Yaba Manifesto, and we look forward to a lively engagement from stakeholders in the Yaba technology cluster, as well as the broader technology community.

Let’s do this.


Yaba Manifesto: Infrastructure
Yaba Manifesto: Policy
Yaba Manifesto: Smart City
Yaba Manifesto: Culture
Yaba Manifesto: Talent
Yaba Manifesto: Funding
Yaba Manifesto: Research and development

I have been planning and deploying Metrowide Fiber to the Home Networks in my capacity as Planning Engineer for ipNX Nigeria Ltd, over the last five years and there are three areas of concern for discussion.

  1. Government regulation and exorbitant Right of Way fees discourage operators to roll out extensive FTTh networks.

  2. The level of participation of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (MCC),the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), and other bodies to define and develop the FTTh standards and benchmarks for the Nigerian market is almost nonexistent as only the FTTh council has shown some representation through their yearly events.

  3. The unavailability of government owned ducts and infrastructure makes operators to roll out their own outside plant networks. The level of service disruptions caused by frequent government construction is also a major concern.

  4. FTTh is a good platform for rolling out infrastructure for telecom carrier services and various other applications especially connected cities. I will be willing to contribute my experience and ideas in these areas.


Well done to @lordbanks and everyone who has in one way or the other started this platform. I will suggest we iterate this manifesto into a masterplan/blueprint/proposal that can be presented at a public forum with the government of Lagos state and the organised private sector in attendance.

For the Lagos state government. Yaba is its primary responsibility, so by default Yaba Manifesto and any plan on how the environment will contribute to the state’s development should interest them.

The private sector would also see the blueprint as an open platform they can latch on either from the business angle, CSR or both.


Great job guys. This is surely the way to go.


Hi Everyone,

I’d like to bring to the fore a few tough questions that have implications for the long-term success of the Yaba Technology Cluster initiative; and these may need to be discussed concurrently with the other 7 Pillars of the Yaba Manifesto currently being developed. The first is: How will the initiative be funded in a sustainable manner every year? and the second; Who or what team will manage the day-to-day execution of the different ideas suggested across all threads? Both questions are important, because this is Nigeria where many good initiatives start out with laudable objectives but quickly develop a variety of strategic execution problems down the line and then they begin to atrophy.

In this light, I believe we need to be intentional about preserving the longevity of this initiative by answering both questions clearly. For me, here’s what I’d suggest our approach should be…

How will the initiative be funded in a sustainable manner every year?

At the end of the one-month open discussion period here, I suggest that the Yaba Technology Cluster initiative should metamorphose into a not-for-profit membership organization registered with Corporate Affairs Commission as this model has useful financial benefits for funding the execution of the ideas that will be adopted in the final Manifesto; here are some of the financial benefits of this model:

1. Individual Membership Dues (between N2m - N10m+ Annually):
If the initiative charges say N10,000 as membership dues per annum and with registration rate of up to 1,000 members from Yaba & environs for example, the newly registered Yaba Technology Cluster CSO could raise up to N10m annually for administration from this source. At the very least this would (1.) Cover the cost of administration (2.) Distribute responsibility/ownership of the initiative across all current and future members.

2. Corporate Membership Dues & Sponsorship (N500m+ Annually):
The resulting organization could also have Corporate Membership levels which would be for companies who either want to support the initiative as part of their CSR efforts or because they stand to gain from a vibrant technology cluster in the long run. The lowest membership level being N100k and the highest being N10m (for example). Potential corporate members could include banks, venture capital firms, ISPs, oil companies, software giants, Media organizations, key manufacturing firms, global investment firms etc.

3. Pro-Bono Donations
The resulting organization could actively seek for pro-bono donations like events space, newspaper advertisements, Internet connections, etc. If properly executed, this could be a source of additional N5m - N30m in none-cash funding for the cluster’s activities.

4. Sector Specific Grants
From the likes of GIZ’s SEDIN, Omidyar, DFID programs in Naija etc. Again, depending on execution strategy, this could aggregate between N0m - N50m for cluster activities.

6. Yaba Cluster Branded Items
Sales of novelty items, branded T-Shirts, use of the Yaba Cluster Brand at events, lapels, Diaries etc

Moving on to the next core question…

Whom or what team will manage the day-to-day execution of the different ideas suggested across all threads?

I’d suggest that the execution framework/management structure for the Yaba Technology Cluster initiative should consist of 5 levels:

Level 1: Board of Trustees
This will consist of approximately (10) members

  • Key Influencers in government (3)
  • Key Influencers in the private sector (2)
  • Key Influencers/lobbyists conversant with governments & private sector in each of these five (5) continents - Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, South America etc

Having a very, very strong BOT will help open major doors for Yaba Technology Cluster and facilitate execution of key suggestions put forth by volunteers.

Level 2: Executive Board
This will consist of at least a chairman, vice, secretary and all heads of standing committees. The responsibility of the executive board will be to oversee execution of all components of the Cluster’s Plan of Action assigned to Standing committees & Special Purpose Vehicles to be setup.

Members of the EB will have a fixed tenure to execute the broad vision of the cluster; at the end of their tenure an Annual General Assembly will be convened, during which an election to pick the next set of leaders will be conducted. Having this tenured mechanism in place will provide an additional impetus for nominated cluster leaders to deliver tangible results during their tenure for the benefits of all individuals and startups in the Yaba Tech Cluster.

Level 3: Standing Committees
Committees for each pillar (Talent, Infrastructure, R&D, Policy, Funding, Culture, SmartCity) will consist of current Team Leads and their volunteers and will be responsible for executing suitable cluster ideas either as SPVs (in partnership with other organizations) or as stand-alone projects.

Level 4: General Assembly
This will consist of all dues-paying members who will be able to make inputs on an ongoing basis and set strategic direction for the management of the cluster to execute.

Level 5: Support Staff
This will consist of paid staff who run the day-to-day activities of the Yaba Tech Cluster under the strategic direction of the Executive Board. The support staff may carry out activities like book-keeping, data analysis, meeting bookings, maintaining, seamless communications etc…


If this membership model for the Yaba Tech Cluster initiative is adopted, tested and found to be successful, it can be replicated across other tech hubs/clusters across other states in the country within the next 10 years.


@wontiboje Great suggestion. A core aim of the manifesto is a master plan that is jointly created and generally agreed. Ideas about the public forum can be looked into after the call for contributions close. Thanks


Brilliant! Especially the execution bit.


I think there is need for an overall Project Management Office for the project. How do we monitor all identified and agreed activities to be done across the pillars? I think this is key in ensuring that the vision is actualized. Having a PMO to monitor will ensure that the project remains on track, helps to identify areas of issues/ delays, develop ways to mitigate the identified issues/delays etc.


Applaud!!! Knowlegdeables we got in here…Nice plan. Execution NEXT…:muscle:


As part of the Master plan, I can provide Surveys and Documentation, and designs for a Greater Yaba Fiber to The Home Network. Operators like ipNX, provide Quintuplay offerings ( High Speed Internet, Telephony, ipTV, Telepresence and CCTV, over a single fixed customer connection. The FTTh Outside Plant for Yaba already exists on Adekunle so integration is not difficult. The platform provides cheap affordable services for the technology cluster that will depend of viable internet services. Other Operators like Swift and Main one are also evolving their own FTTh Networks.


Hi @lordbanks @bosuntijani,

It’s three days to the July 31st timeline set for making inputs; I have a few questions/need a bit of update if you all don’t mind.

Is there going to be a formal meeting to discuss contributions made so far? Is there an active team already aggregating all suggestions into a browsable format for archiving on the proposed website? (On July 7th, @bosuntijani sent out an email about a bespoke website being developed for the cluster) Has a URL for the website been chosen yet? If not, can community members make inputs on what the URL will be? (There’s a polling tool on this forum, I guess?)

I would think there is a need to schedule one or two General Assemblies so some additional debate can happen around some of the suggestions put forth across all pillars. This general assembly would help determine a clear strategy for disciplined execution. Don’t you think so?

A lot of ideas have been put forth across all pillars by this community; right now everything rises and falls on our execution strategy as a community - and how well we can keep the enthusiasm alive. If there’s already an aggregation team, I have some spare time this weekend (and a bit early next week) and will be able to assist in this regard - that is if an extra hand is needed.

@lordbanks Above and beyond my questions put forward, I’d appreciate any other feedback you may have of background activities happening offline to make this initiative a success. Also, I’d like to know why @temie (R&D Pillar Lead) was not active in moderating the R&D Pillar conversation in the last 28days. Hope she’s doing okay?


Hi @Engr_Abel_Akeni ,

The team aggregating the insightful suggestions contributed so far are the volunteer committees for each pillar. These teams are not fixed and as many volunteers as possible can be part of a team.

At the end of the collation process, we would weigh the need to have a physical meeting to discuss the proposed implementation plans.

Your additions on here so far have been highly detailed and intriguing, look forward to you being an active part of the volunteer committees.