Members of the Auto Spare Parts and Machinery Dealers Association (ASPAMDA) Market at the Trade Fair Complex, Lagos, are planning to change the market leadership structure. And a frontline importer, High Chief Chukwunonso Calistus Okafor, has advised that only those that would make doing business in the market a peaceful and seamless exercise should be elected into office.
He noted that the market has been enmeshed in leadership crises for long, resulting in court cases. Okafor, CEO of NOSCO Global Agency Limited, who wishes to be president of ASPAMDA, promised that, if elected, his administration would reconcile all warring parties and give everyone a sense of belonging.
“We will reconcile all differences among the elite in ASPAMDA and create an enabling environment where everyone will be happy. We will take ASPAMDA to greater heights,” he asserted.
Okafor said, to bridge the the gap between the poor and the rich in ASPAMDA, he would attract Federal Government funds that would be accessed by traders, who would pay back at low interest rates: “We will partner with the Trade Fair management and attract the Federal Government to rehabilitate the entire market. We want roads done to ensure that heavy duty trucks could come into the market.”
He also pledged to improve network access in the market, saying, “We will empower the youths and address the issues of power supply in ASPAMDA. We will liaise with the senator and lawmaker representing this area at the National Assembly and push our challenges to them. We will also speak with the ministers in charge. We all pay taxes and deserve better facilities. This market is the property of the Federal Government and they are the ones we pay our taxes to.”
Okafor said he was inspired to seek the position to sustain the development initiated by past presidents of the association.
“I was approached by those who want the association to continue to thrive. After consultations with friends and others in the market, I decided to contest for the presidency of the association. I have been in the business for many years. After serving my master and I was settled, I started my own business. While in business, I enrolled in the university and graduated.
“Many might think that I just entered the business and started succeeding. But I went through the normal process. Today, I have spare parts products in NOSCO and Global and they are all doing well in the market,” he said.
Okafor stated that he was prepared to face the leadership challenges in the market, noting that life itself is a challenge and every challenge should be tackled with one’s God-given wisdom.
“I am God-fearing, humble, creative and focused. I am outspoken, sociable and youth-friendly. I also believe in equity and justice. If elected, these are the qualities I will put into practice. When you have the ability to lead people well, they will follow you. All that I am looking for are followers, and I will give good leadership that would enable people to follow me.”
He advised members of the market to always remain peaceful and not see the forthcoming election in ASPAMDA as a do-or-die affair: “I came out for this contest with a very clean and open mind. It is not a do-or-die affair. I have told the people what I have done, what I can do, the way I have given good leadership to my church and my community in Nnobi, Anambra State, the social organisations that I have led in the past.
“My life is an open mirror. I have told the members of the association, my supporters and fans that the election is not a do-or-die affair. I have personally visited each of the 8,000 shops in the market in the course of my campaign. I received attacks in some places, but I never responded to any because I believe that I am not supposed to listen to blackmail, but should continue to tell them what I can do.”