From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Sacked market leaders in Anambra State have allegedly written a petition to Governor Charles Soludo against his Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon Obinna Ngonadi.
On assumption of office, the Commissioner was said to have sacked some market leaders over flawed elections, sharp practices, intimidation of traders, overstay in office, and diversion of government revenues to private pockets in their various markets.
Others were said to be defeated candidates in their market elections who reportedly vowed to frustrate the infrastructural development of the markets with a view to blaming the leadership of such markets.
The Hon Commissioner was said to have bluffed the sacked market leaders who were found wanting as he told them to stop coming to his office to give him bribes other than obeying the State Government’s rules and regulations on market affairs.
Making this disclosure in Onitsha, Wednesday, the Chairman, Anambra State Traders’ Stakeholders Association, Chief Gilbert Okeke, told journalists that the accusations levelled against the Commissioner were baseless and laughable as the petitioners, according to him, were fictitious without clear identification to authenticate their claims.
“The name of the forum is non-existence, petitioners were fictitious names and no clear location as they were sponsored by corrupt and sacked market leaders as well as defeated candidates who on approaching the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Hon Obinna Ngonadi, with enticing gifts and a huge sum of money, to give them audience, were told by the Commissioner to stop coming to his office to give him a bribe.
“Governor Soludo is on the ground, he knows this game they are playing more than they know it and can not be deceived by the antics of those petitioners, most of whom were sacked by the Commissioner over sharp practices, diversion of government revenue to private pockets, overstay in office and because the Commissioner bluffed them, they resorted to going to court, writing make-believe petitions and portraying the image of the Commissioner in bad faith.
“For instance, at Nkpor New Auto Spare parts market, a defeated chairmanship candidate has since his defeat, continued to frustrate the infrastructural development of the leadership of the market. He went to an Idemili High Court to stop construction projects in the market and was defeated. He ran to zone 13 Police Command, Ukpo, and the Police Commander told him that since he was defeated at a High court and he went to Appeal court, he should wait for the judgement of the Appeal court, “he said.
According to Chief Okeke, the petitioners did not accuse the Commissioner of collecting money from them but rather they vowed never to allow him to remain in that seat and sanitize the markets since he refused to abide by their plea as they did to his predecessor and successive administrations.
He urged Governor Soludo to disregard their petition which they copied to various groups and clergy in a bid to attract sympathy. He hinted that Ogbaru Main Relief market, where the Commissioner sacked the market chairman and secretary, over illegal construction of shops, was a case study of part of the sanitation of the markets which the petitioners were afraid of if the Commissioner was allowed to remain in office.