The line in Nigeria’s national anthem, which says that the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain was last Thursday given a meaning as the Evangelist Paulinus Ugochukwu-led executive of International Market Alaba Electronics (IMAE), celebrated their founding fathers.
The founding fathers were appreciated with brand new Toyota Corolla cars worth millions of naira and certificates of merit.
Speaking on the occasion, Evangelist Ugochukwu said that Alaba Market, which they are enjoying today was made possible by the zeal and determination of the founding fathers.
According to him, in 1978 when the market started at its present location at Ojo Alaba, the place was not fit for human habitation let alone doing business.
He said that because everywhere was bushy, the founding fathers were always attacked by hoodlums.
He noted that instead of them giving up, they persevered until development began to trickle around the place.
His words: “What is happening today is that we the executive of International Market Alaba Electronics decided to wipe away the tears of or founding fathers. They are the people that literally laid down their lives for what we are enjoying today. Now, some people are complaining of bad road and epileptic power supply. But when they come here about 40 years ago, every where was bushy. There was no road and no electricity. Hoodlums were attacking them on a daily basis, but instead of running away, they stayed because of you and me. Therefore, it is because of the sacrifice that they made for us that we are celebrating them.”
He appealed to the traders to give his administration maximum support so that he would fulfill what God has mandated him to do for the market.
He noted that the only reason God told him to lead the market was to right the wrongs done by the past administration, which he said was self-serving.
In his contribution, the Vice Chairman, Chief Camilus Amajuoyi said that this is the first time the founding fathers of the market were being remembered for their sacrifices.
He said that the executive decided to celebrate them now that they are still alive so that they would enjoy the fruit of their labour.
According to him, this would also serve as an eye-opener to people in leadership positions in different organisations to do well so that they would be remembered and be celebrated by their successors when they are no more in those positions.
One of the highlights of the event was the adoption of Evangelist Ugochukwu as an honorary member of the founding members.
Ochanja market traders cry out over poor condition of roads
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Poor condition of access roads leading to the popular Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha has become not only a source of worry to the traders in the market, but also a nightmare to them and their customers, including motorists plying the area.
The major roads which lead to the market, Zik’s Avenue which is named after the late first Nigerian President and Owelle of Onitsha, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Iweka Road also named after the famous traditional ruler of Obosi community near Onitsha are in terrible condition.
The road, Zik’s Avenue which was reconstructed during the reign of Dr Chris Nwabueze Ngige as governor of Anambra State and now Minister of Labour and productivity is just an eyesore, thereby depriving traders in the market and other residents of the area from linking up with social life and economic activities of the day.
Narrating the experience of traders in the area, the Financial Secretary, Ochanja Central Market, Hon. Sunday Ezumezu who expressed disappointment over the manner the state government abandoned the roads said that with huge economic activities going on in the affected market and others adjoining it in the area, the state government should have given urgent attention towards the rehabilitation of the two roads.
He noted that because of the bad condition of the roads, trucks and other vehicles conveying goods to the market find it difficult to access the market for un-loading of such goods and called on the Anambra State government to do something urgent about the two roads when the rains subside.
He observed that the state Commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Wealth Creation, Dr Christian Madubuko had inspected the roads during one of his visits to the market, but lamented that nothing had been done after the visit.
Ezumezu who expressed joy for what he described as Governor Willie Obiano’s love for traders, however, pleaded with him to award contracts for the roads, as well as in his magnanimity donate the N10 million grant to markets for infrastructural development of the markets.
We’re yet to get our own N10 million Obiano market projects largesse –Onuzuluike, Iron dealers chair
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Chairman of Iron Dealers Union, Atani road Onitsha, Anambra State, Mr Nnaemeka Onuzuluike has appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to remember the union in his N10 million ‘Markets Choose Your Project’ to the markets in the state.
He said that the project fund has been going on since two years ago in various markets in the state, but it is yet to get to its market, which made it to look as if the state government has forgotten them in the project even when some markets had taken their second phase of the project while they are yet to receive any.
Onuzuluike lamented that the market lacks power supply and would want the market money to be channeled to the provision of independent power supply, saying that for now their fate is hanging since they have not heard anything from the ministry in charge of the project.
According to him, “when the government gave vehicles to the market unions we didn’t get. When this N10 million market project started, we hoped to be part of it, I went to Awka several times to meet with various persons and offices in charge, but up till now we have not gotten any kobo, but our market was shortlisted as those that supposed to benefit from the project.
“I’m appealing to the governor to look into it and urge those in charge of the fund to release our own so that we can use it to provide power supply in our market. Again, the traders have been accusing me of collecting the money in secret and diverted it to my private pocket. I cannot talk before the traders because they said that I should attract our own project to prove them wrong of diverting the fund.”
On the permanent site of the market, he said that eight markets bought large expanse of land at Nteje community where work has commenced for the building of the new markets, which he added would be completed and traders relocated to in the next two years.
“The market when completed will house all the Iron Dealers Unions and other markets in Onitsha, including banks, which the building of the shops had started. The traders still have doubts in me to complete the market project at Nteje as they continuously accused me of diverting money for the government project in our present market.
“We have been supporting the government by paying our stallage fees and development fees which is our way of contributing to the revenue base of the government for development, so government should extend any project or grant given to other markets to our own market,” Onuzuluike pleaded.
He said that apart from securing land for the permanent site of the market as he promised the traders during his first tenure in office, he has also brought peace to the market since he assumed office and had sustained it until now.
Onuzuluike further stated that his union was fully in support of the leadership of ASMATA led by Chief Ik Ekwegbalu, assuring that his unit abides by the decision of monthly prayers in the market, as well as other laudable programmes for the traders in the state.
Butchers’ boss raises alarm: Unhygienic slaughterhouses litter Nnewi
David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Indiscriminate slaughter of cows in Nnewi, Anambra State has been a source of worry to registered butchers in the industrial community. Chairman of Nkwo Nnewi Butchers Association, Chief Kirian Okafor at the weekend said that government both at the state and local government level should not continue to look the other way while illegal slaughter houses kept on surviving in the area.
Chief Okafor said that the only approved and registered slaughter houses in Nnewi, which he insisted were verifiable were those located at Nkwo Nnewi market, Orieagbo and Obinsoedo markets.
He wondered why government should remain unconcerned while cows and even other live stocks continued to be slaughtered at unhygienic locations across Nnewi “as if someone is backing the exercise without minding the health implications to meat consumers.”
He said that government should do the needful, either to hand over the control to the managers of the approved slaughter houses or control it by itself and make sure that the health of meat consumers in Nnewi is not subjected to jeopardy.
He also lamented government’s neglect of the butchers who he said had no access road to their business arena, a functional generator to pump water from a borehole built by the government that has not been officially commissioned.
Chief Okafor noted that the association had been on its own making provision for some of the facilities needed for its business activities.
He said that the issue of non-availability of toilet facility in the market had been over-flogged to the extent that the butchers were tired to talk about it again “despite the fact that we contribute accordingly to the internally generated revenue of the state.”
He complained that the roof of a”worn-out” slaughter house at Nkwo Nnewi market the butchers had been using had become so bad that it had to be re-roofed or “alternatively a modern slaughter house to be built for us.”
According to him, the government had in the past come and taken measurements for a befitting slaughter house for the butchers under the former Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Oforbike with nothing done since then.
He explained that the association had in collaboration with other unions, including those who deal in chicken and goat not long ago given a palliative measure to the road leading to their business premises, adding that the government should not allow them to overstretch themselves instead of coming to their rescue.