By CHUKS EKE
Controversy appeared to be gradually brewing up at Ogbaru main market otherwise called Relief Market, one of the major markets which specializes in the sales and distribution of provisions within the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra state, following the recent dissolution of the incumbent elected executive of the market, by the state government.
This followed a crucial meeting held yesterday at the market hall by the Trustees and sectional heads of the market after which they passed a resolution asking Governor Chukwuma Soludo to reinstate the Chief Ndubuisi Ochiogu-led executive of the market which was among the 32 markets whose executive members were recently sacked in the state by the state government, to avoid revolution by the angry traders.
The State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi had last week announced the dissolution of caretaker committees of 30 markets in the state and the elected leadership of two other markets, including Ose-Ekwodu and Ogbaru main market, saying that the caretaker committee members of the 30 markets would be replaced, while fresh elections would be conducted in the two markets where their elected leadership whose elections were deemed to be flawed.
Ngonadi noted that the essence of dissolving the 32 markets leadership was to strengthen the markets leaderships to involve progressive governance so that the unions can become effective partners in the modernization of the markets, adding that in the case of the dissolved elected leadership of the two markets, government would put in place a frame work to hold transparent, free and fair elections across the markets by Option A4.
But the action of the government in the dissolution process did not go gown well with the Trustees, Sectional heads, stakeholders and the entire traders of the Ochiogu-led Ogbaru market traders association as they rose from a crucial meeting yesterday and demanded that the democratically elected executive should be exempted from the dissolution gale as according to them, the election of January 25, 2022 which brought them into office was conducted in a credible, transparent, free and fair manner.
While pouring their displeasure over the inclusion of Ochiogu-led executive among the victims of the state government sack order, Chairman of the Market Sectional Heads,Mr.Emmanuel Nwadibia said that the entire market was saddened by the state government decision to sack the democratically elected executive members of the market, more so, when the election that enthroned them was witnessed by security agents and officials of the state government, though under former Governor Willie Obiano.
Also expressing concern that the the duly elected executive of the market was sacked under such a controversial circumstance, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, BoT of the market, Chief Sam Mendu; his Deputy, Chief Eugene Nwanekezi; Secretary of Patrons in the market, Emeka Okafor; Financial Secretary, Mrs.Uche Udezue and other Sectional heads in the market, called on the state government to have a rethink and reinstate their sacked executive whom they noted had worked tirelessly to end burglary in the Market.
According to Mendu, Nwanekezi, Okafor and Udezue, “we hereby counsel the state government to rescind its decision and reinstate Chief Ochiogu and his executive who campaigned vigorously in market circle to ensure the victory of Gov. Chukwuma Soludo.during the November 6, 2021 gubernatorial election in the state”
“The removal of Ochiogu must have been carried out in error because the government authorities did not hear from we the market authorities, but relied heavily on the purported allegations contained in series of petitions from the opposition that contested and lost woefully during the market election”, the sectional market heads insinuated.