By CHUKS EKE
Reactions have continued to trail the appointment of a new caretaker committee for Onitsha Bridge-head market, by Anambra state government, with most sectional heads in the market applauding the government’s action.
The state government had through the Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Hon. Uchenna Okafor (Wiper) announced the appointment of the new caretaker committee led by Mr. Sunday Obinze.
A group of persons who identified themselves as Stakeholders forum in the market had since the election of Obinze and his executive in 2019, gone to court challenging the validity of his election, having obtained an injunction restraining the state government from conducting an election of new executives in the market.
When the court eventually nullified their election on February 4, this year, barely a year and nine months into Obinze’s second tenure, government appointed him as caretaker committee, saying that he had performed creditably within his first tenure of four year and 22 months into his second tenure.
In the appointment letter signed by Okafor, government said the tenure of the newly appointed Obinze-led caretaker committee would last for one year, with effect from February 20, this year to February 19, 2022 when an election of new executive is expected to be conducted, depending on if the state government had lifted ban on election activities placed in the state since the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to his appointment, Obinze said,” After the nullification of the election that produced me as PG, my opponents still went back to Awka demanding for a caretaker committee but unfortunately for them after thorough investigations, the state government saw it necessary to retain us as caretaker committee to continue our good works in the market based on our verifiable performances and wishes of the majority”.
“I appreciate the State government and my fellow traders for doing the needful. We will continue from where we stopped-opening more access roads, maintaining good rapport with Anambra State government especially during this Covid 19 pandemic and the upcoming Gubernatorial elections. If the wrong persons were appointed it may have fueled crisis caused by these people of which some of them are no longer traders in this market”, said Obinze.
In their reactions so far unions under the Bridge-head market’, Sir Sylvester Ahanonu, Chairman of Tools and Allied Products Dealers Association; Sir Isaac Akubuilo, Founder of Chainsaw business at Bridge-head market, Chief Donatus Ajamma, Chairman of Ogbogwu International market and Chief Beed Nwankwo, Chairman of Amalgamated Timber Dealers Association, ATDA, commended the state government for retaining Obinze on caretaker basis since he proved his mettle in terms of performances.
Ahanonu, Akubuilo, Ajamma and Nwankwo described Obinze as the best leader Bridge-head market had ever had since its inception, adding that they would always stand by him. They advised those trying to foment trouble in the market to stop disrupting the peace enjoyed in the market by the Obinze led administration.
Nwankwo advised government to make proper investigations before registering any association under CAC saying that some of the problems facing the market were the registration of associations under CAC without membership or followership of the majority of the traders.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Stakeholders Forum, Chief Bonaventure Ucheagwu who insisted that their forum rejected the composition of the newly appointed committee urged the State government to allow the market Board of Trustees to manage the affairs of the Association by themselves according to the provisions of law of CAC 1999.