Anambra: Tension as govt sacks market leaders, impose politicians...imposed chairman escapes lynching

By Chuks Obi, Onitsha

Tension is currently mounting at the Fruits and Vegetables, (Power Mike) market, Ogbaru Local Government Area, Anambra State, following alleged sack of the market leadership and subsequent imposing of 21 caretaker committee members led by Mr. Afam Enebeli, by the State Government.

It was gathered that while the State  Government is preparing to swear in the appointeees tomorrow, (Tuesday), the chairman of the yet to be sworn in committee, Mr. Enebeli, in company of one Mr. Ndubuisi, stormed the market and started distributing copies of the letter of appointment of the committee members and asking the traders how much they generate from the market.

In anger, the traders, mostly Hausas and Igbo widows, insisted they did not know any other person as their leader except their reported sacked  chairman, Chief Ngozi Egonu, and immediately wanted to Lynch the duo who quickly dashed out of the market with the aid of good Samaritans.

Reacting, the vice chairman of the tomatoe dealers in the market, Alhaji Suleiman Magaji, lamented that Government would sack a sitting leadership of the market where there is no crises and impose politicians to head them adding that they had just held their election last Monday in which Ngozi Egonu emerged victorious.

Briefing newsmen Monday, Magaji said, "It was on Sunday evening that one man we don't know, stormed our Market and started distributing documents and telling us that he is the new Chairman of the market. He also asked us how we generate money here, we see him as being over zealous and told him we know only Ngozi Egonu as our chairman and that if there are changes government will let us know.

"On the process of distributing the documents which we saw has 21 people as commitee members of the market, signed by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Samuel C. Ike, we couldn't believe it because there is no crisis in the market and it is just a month the market has come here from different markets. 

"There are people in this Fruit and Vegetables market who out of frustration died of stroke and disappointment from external forces. We don't know this man that came into this market, government should stop imposing political jobbers on us, these people are not traders and that is why the traders wanted to attack them.

"What Government should do is to reinstate our chairman, Ngozi Egonu, if he is removed, for peace to reign in the market. Government is trying to bring chaos into our market by imposing leaders on us. Many of us have suffered to move the market forward but government is our problem. We have different sections in the market and government should rather pick leaders trom the sections instead of imposing non traders to us," he pleaded.

Also, Mr. Sunday Okolo, a leader in one of the sections stated that, "We are surprise that somebody  we don't know stormed our market on Sunday evening, when the market is not in session, being Sunday, to tell the traders that he is now the new chairman and that we should tell him how much we generate. From the document he distributed, he and 20 others will be sworn in by the Special Adviser to Governor Charles Soludo' on Trade and Markets, Hon. Evarist Ubah on Tuesday.

"So why didn't he wait until after the swearing in at Awka, this is over zealous for money, extortion and he couldn't wait until the swearing in  day and that is why the traders would have lynched him if not for good Samaritans that came to his rescue and he fled with one Mr. Ndubuisi that came with him.

"We don't have crisis in the market and government has not told us of the changes. We only know Ngozi Egonu as our leader and we beg Governor Soludo' to come to our rescue as those imposed on us are not traders. They are out to extort us after a month of coming together as perishable goods dealers and we just did peaceful election last Monday where Ngozi Egonu, emerged the winner," he pleaded 

Earlier, Abubakar Musa, secretary of the tomatoe dealers, cried out to Governor Soludo' not to hesitate in coming to their rescue adding that the new committee if sworn in would result in crisis in the market as majority of them are not traders  but politicians who would only be interested in extorting them 

" Is leadership by force, how can they be imposed upon us when we have no crisis in the market. That was why they wanted to attack the man because they saw that he has come to intimidate us for easy extortion. Why can't he wait until tomorrow he will be sworn in. 

"We plead to Governor Soludo to reinstate our chairman if truely he is removed and stop the alleged swearing in on Tuesday of committee members who we don't know. We are surprise with what is happening in our market. We don't have problem, our problem now is government functionaries because I am sure our able Governor is not aware of this sudden change," he pleaded.

As at the time of filing this report an uneasy calm pervades the atmosphere in the market and curses are being laid on the new committee members.

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