Onitsha Traders Seek Obiano’s Intervention As Leadership Crisis Rocks Market
By Nedum Noble
Traders at the popular main market in Onitsha, Anambra state, have appealed to the State Governor, Willie Obiano to intervene in the leadership crisis that has engulfed the market.
The traders, under the auspices of Onitsha Main market amalgamated traders union (OMMATU) asked the governor to visit the market or call a meeting of the incumbent executive of the market in order to resolve the lingering problems.
They said the meeting would involve former Chairmen, Line Chairmen and Secretaries of the market to address some issues, which, according to them, may cause break down of law and order if ignored.
Speaking through their spokesman, Chief Nnamdi Unobuagha, the traders accused the incumbent Chairman, Chief Dozie Okeke’s, of destroying the good name the market is associated with through his style of leadership.
They alleged that he not only takes unilateral decisions on issues affecting the market, but was yet to call meeting of Line Chairmen and Secretaries of the three zone of the market, adding that he encourages collection of illegal levies, harassment and intimidation of customers, among others.
“His administration constructed shops on the only motor park in the market against Obiano’s directive, thereby making loading and off loading of goods impossible for the traders and customers.
“He also constructed over 250 shops inplace of projects that will guarantee traders and customers convenience, with the N10 million naira ‘choose your project’ money Obiano donated to the market,” they alleged.
The aggrieved traders further claimed that the incumbent OMMATU executive stopped the weekly Monday prayers of the market after building on the space where it was conducted, to avoid being stoned.
“He rather chose the projects that will enrich his pocket, and went for building shops which he is selling with his cohorts between N5 to N6 million each.
“We appeal to the Governor to immediately commence, like he promised, the sanitization, we are losing on daily basis our customers from in and out of the state over mounting illegalities” they added
In a sharp reaction, however, the OMMATU Chairman dismissed all the allegations, saying the former OMMATU Chairmen and others attacking him were people who expected one favour, or the other from him, but did not get and therefore, became frustrated and started working tirelessly to cause confusion in the market.
“Yes my administration built shops in Motor Park in Zone 2 in the market, and it was discussed and approved by Governor Obiano and members of his cabinet during the states executive meeting”
“The Commissioner for Trade and Commerce supervised it, and we have launched attacks on those collecting illegal levies, but as you know most of those levies are not collected inside the markets, they are on the roads outside the market.” he said.