Yabacon Valley is dead. Long live Yaba Right


One is, Yaba has a cultural background and history before Cchub and all these internet companies finding offices there. Why all the new efforts to change that just to appeal to new cluster that have barely been there for 10 years. Yaba is cool. Leave it that way.

Two is, if Yaba is going to find a new name, it will be natural. And maybe very slow. You don’t just wake up one morning and believe you should create a new Silicon Valley in the middle of Yaba and the first thing is, rename the city. We don’t even know if Yaba will be the eventual tech city.


That reminds me of Facebook’s humble days as a simple “hot or not” application. These days, people want to replace Facebook in its current form, but that’s another story.


That was the failure of Google+ built out of ego. They started it to out-facebook Facebook. Where Snapchat that sends disappearing messages soar, almighty G+ was a graveyard. Another story, like you said.

It’s important to note if the community is very serious about creating a cluster, they should be interested more in bringing all the important elements together to ensure the prosperity of the region, for tech and Internet companies. The presence of Yabatech and Unilag for one is a good start. Another is, how cheap is the rent there? And several other elements yet to be considered.

But no, let’s talk about what name is cool or not!

I was in Akure one time, extremely quiet city. You can literally drive with your eyes closed. 3 bedroom as low as N250k per annum. Eateries everywhere. Boulevard is actually there(I swear I’m not lying or exaggerating). I saw trees everywhere. Hotels were built door to door. For a minute, I thought I was out of Nigeria. There is FUTA. Life is cheap, easy and quiet here. What is your business in Lagos again?That’s what I kept asking myself. The only thing left is fast internet and sufficient “geeky” youth presence.

I don’t know mhen, I’m just saying we should just chill on this Yaba obsession.

For me personally, Yaba is not top choice for office if I should set up one today. The last time there, I spent close to an hour around Sabo making a turn.


That’s the take away from everything.


And Port Harcourt folks will be like;
YABA? - Yet Another Bloody Acronym
Yaba to the Right, to the Left
To the Right, To the Left.

I just hope we dont wake up one they and be like; hello @TouchPH! Can we have Ogunabali Valley? Or will it be DLine Valley. Thats another story.


I’ll venture an answer to this.

In the last 18 months I have learnt a lot and one of the most important things I have learnt is that narratives are powerful. Branding, telling a story is what turns Santa Clara into a Silicon Valley. And a “late stage tech company” into a “Unicorn”.

I don’t know if Yaba Right is the right answer (pun intended)(even though I suggested it) but if we are going to attract more money and talent into technology startup space in Nigeria, we need to start telling much better stories and it starts with getting the branding of a community right.

Yaba doesn’t work because it isn’t distinct enough. Just like Sanfrancisco represents many things to many people (it is the home of the gay community for instance), Yaba represents many things to many people.

I may be wrong but I’m always happy to find a way to say yes to things… so YabaRight it is.

  1. Santa Clara is still Santa Clara. The geography of “Silicon Valley” isn’t as simple as just one city renamed;
  2. Names evolve, over time, and not as an outcome of “committee branding”;
  3. It’s a whole lot of assumption to think Yaba is “the place”. For what I’m seeing, emerging clusters hundreds of kilometres from Lagos have a good chance of earning tech nicknames Yaba won’t deserve in a few years;
  4. Instead of looking for a new name by all means, let all cities focus on real work without assumptions;
  5. Silicon Valley is a nickname that was used more by outsiders than those who were busy turning silicon to money in the valley. If Yaba, or a section of it, or a more complex geographical collection of areas, deserve a nickname, it will come. Computer Village was naturally named, and every attempt to export that name hasn’t worked for a reason.


LOL. Best comment!


We need to start telling better stories but the stories should not evolve from artificially branding a community…it starts from the entrepreneurs in the community thinking the right way and building better companies…

I’m personally betting against Yaba becoming the tech hub of Nigeria. It’s way to crowded and doesn’t offer any significant advantages. Any serious business owner ( tech or non-tech) with big expansion plans will not limit themselves to Yaba but will be looking at the Lekki/Ajah axis.

Silicon Valley makes sense because universities in that specific are a major source of tech innovation in the U.S. People are working on cutting edge technologies that scale to become companies and so the talent pool is significant. People move to Silicon Valley because you can’t take a bus from there to Texas everyday for work.


it has taken a whole new twist. Maybe it’s better to let sleeping dogs lie. We’ll get there.


Do you live in yaba?

Because that comment belies a terrible understanding of the benefits of yaba (linkages to market on the island without the high cost of living, a vibrant university and education ecosystem, significant concentration of developers Ati be be lo)

I think the fact that so many in our tech ecosystem are betting against the only viable tech cluster we have is funny. Perhaps you imagine that if Yaba is pulled down other (potential) hub will be lifted up but this is no zero sum game. If Yaba dies, it will be hard to justify Nigeria as a viable tech centre because there is no familiar narrative backing it…

Anyway I digress…

I’ve heard no’s before (Andela anybody??) and Yaba Right (and Yaba) could very well be a waste of time but determined to try…

It’s the most we can do.

The rest is for God


That can’t be right. Yaba becoming the thriving tech hub that its well on its way to becoming will not prevent other deserving locales from becoming so as well. It’s not a zero sum game. We can all win.


You are right… There can be multiple tech hubs.


The name was actually a progression of events and attempts. It didn’t spring out if no where, its natural progression was very… human.

Not every valley-ed geography is appellated with ‘valley’. But this particular one was, Before the silicon makers came it was known as the “Valley of Hearts Delight” by locals.

It was obvious by the 70s that the silicon companies were taking over the valley, but It was first mentioned in an article series

Report for Silicon Valley is attributed to Ralph Vaerst, a local entrepreneur. Its first published use is credited to Don Hoefler, a friend of Vaerst’s, who used the phrase as the title of a series of articles in the weekly trade newspaper Electronic News. The series, entitled “Silicon Valley in the USA”,

The name didn’t take root till the early 80s.

Honestly you don’t fight such christening of names and what not, we are bound to come up with a few more before we settle. Once a known founder finds it appealing, or even amusing and makes one public reference its turns pop.

You sell and if they buy, that’s the name it gets; I for one prefered; The Yabacon Strip!

Yabacon sounds bionic, the ‘geography’ is just a strip. So we don’t disappoint Foreigners who come to Yaba looking for a valley.


Oh boy! Yabacon Strip!

Where is the ‘con’ from? Oh, derived from Silicon.
Guys, guys, can we please stop this naming things. It gets more ridiculous for every attempt.


Buddy I didn’t come up with Yabacon.

Just making correctness of ‘Yabacon Valley’ with ‘strip’.

And if you think the name will be christened by celestials think again.

Naming has an integral place with startups. Infact its a small preoccupation.

This infatuation with what the short strip in Yaba is called is only in tune with the times.


Like I said, and re-echoed by @gbengasesan, Yaba may not end up as the eventual cluster in Nigeria. Several clusters are springing up in some other places. Is it too early for any naming? I think so.
Are the suggested names comical? Yabacon, Yabacon Valley, YabaRight, Yabacon Strip. Well, read those out, and be the judge. Leave it as Yaba, and let things truly mature. You don’t just force these things. They happen naturally!

Oh and, since we are in the naming season, I nominate Yaba District. :smile:


Lagos will be the location. I hear gbenga mention places 100s of kilometer away from Lagos. I don’t buy it.

And Yaba is unique for a number of reasons, not as high priced as the island and well centered for Island - Mainland commute.

It already started there, and strongly I might add, others are taking cue.

And I wager our tech cluster will never be anything like the silicon. It will be characterized by the number not the value. Yaba will be known for a prolific cluster not combined value.

Successful startups will be spread all across Lagos. Again Lagos will be the location. Not buying any other location.


Random Guy: “So you are the founder of a fledgling startup in Nigeria. Tell me more about your company.”
Startup Founder: “We are disrupting the insurance industry by making information on policies across companies available at the click of a button. Users can then make informed decisions based on this, and pick a company they will be happy with.”
Random Guy: “Mildly interesting but go on.”
Startup Founder: “We just got an office space in Yaba Right to be closer to other technology companies in the area.”
Random Guy: “I’m sorry?”
Startup Founder: “We believe the proximity to the hub and Unilag will make us more accessible to devel…”
Random Guy: “No, Yaba Right?”
Startup Founder: “Oh that! It’s a term we fondly use to refer to the location, as a number of technology companies have sprung up at Yaba”
Random Guy: “So, ‘right’ because?”
Startup Founder: “There is an insane asylum in the area commonly referred to as Yaba Left and we thought it was funny.”
Random Guy: “A mad house? I’ll take it that it wasn’t given much thought and every one just ran along with this.”
Startup Founder: “Actually, we gave it some thought. We argued over a couple of variations of the name on social media for some time before we settled on this. It used to be referred to as Yabacon Valley at first.”
Random Guy: “Yabacon? After Silicon?”
Startup Founder: “Yes”
Random Guy: “Almost as unimaginative as your product”
Startup Founder: “Well, like I said it was the firs…wait, what?”
Random Guy: “Almost as unimaginative as your product”

I suck at ending fictitious conversations. :disappointed:


@akindolu You forgot to add “Yaba Left” to the suggested names. Credit goes to @Tola for that name. He mentioned it in response in a much earlier thread. When I read Yaba Right, my mind when straight to that mention he did. It was not until I went back to the thread that I was it was Yaba Left rather than “Right”.

It’s usually a futile exercise to try to predict the future. You just do your own part. Whatever becomes “the hub” and whatever name it is given, its all for our good. My thoughts.

UPDATE: Just learned that Yaba Left refers to an asylum in Yaba :smile: