By Brown Chimezie
Chief Paul Oscar Odogwu is the president Balogun Bussiness Association, International Trade Fair Lagos. Recently he spoke to the media on how he will restore orderliness to the complex
Tell us about state of affairs in BBA right now
It’s been ok because before you become a man, you must pass through many hurdles and uneasy lays the head that wore the crown. So I believe that the quagmire in the market now is part of my own hurdle but I know that in no distance time, things will be settled and we will take full possession of what rightly belongs to us.
How did the association get into this stalemate?
I think it is out of greed because I could remember that past administration led by Anthony Obi never did well because he led us into what we are in now. His 3 years in office has set us back ten more years.
More so, he refused to conduct election knowing fully well that if election is conducted, I will surely emerge as the winner, hence he decided to scuttle the election.
Secondly because of greed, he claimed that the association owe him huge sum of money.
He and his cohorts are working hard to milk BBA dry.
He is actually the only president that was highly favoured because at the beginning of his tenure, the issue of the new site came up where he allegedly realised over 2 bn Naira that was mismanaged. No single trace of the money is in the complex. Out of greed again, they began plan to sell the Atiku Abubakar Hall, a place where traders normally stack their goods before shipping it out to different parts of the country. They have been nursing this ambition since the tenure of Bro Leonard Ogbonna (LITRACO) that they will sell off the 50 plots of land. They have so far sold 43 Spaces under the illegal CTC of Chief Anselem Dunu.
To me that is greed because selling that loading and offloading bay amount to closing down the business because any market that doesn’t have loading and offloading bay is actually heading to extinction.
Again almost all of them planning to sell that Atiku Abubakar Hall have nothing-tangible doing in the market.
What they had in mind is just to destroy the association and leave so that others coming behind will suffer.
Defiantly, we said no to that. Okey Ezibe being the BOT Chairman said no, that he want his legacy to remain.
He said if the place is sold off, there will be no parking space for trucks and the market will become congested. So we said no to that. That is why we keep on fighting for the right thing to be done. Maybe because majority of the traders in the market are women, and they took it for granted that all of us are women and that they can always have their ways. So we have to tell them that there are rules of law that we must have to fight on to secure the future of our children.
Since the beginning of this tussle, what legal steps have you taken to reclaim your mandate?
You know we had election 24th of June 2021 where I emerged the winner. On the 5th July 2021, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), wrote to IGP for us to be inaugurated on the 5th which is Monday, then this people hearing it, scuttled it. Policemen were brought into the market shooting sporadically. But one thing is certain. Law remains Law and order remains order. The IGP has given order, which must surely be obeyed because no matter the delay, it must come to pass.
The steps we have taken are actually to be on the side of the law. They have been the ones running around from one court to the other. They have sued the CAC and the police. That’s to tell you that the game is almost over.
On the eve of our inauguration, they got wind of it and quickly got a kangaroo injunction to stop the inauguration.
We are challenging that in court because one, they have no legal basis to sue as an incorporated organisation. Again the former president, Tony Obi is accused of allegedly falsifying documents to smuggle his name into the Certificate of the association which on the April 21 2021, the said document he allegedly forged was revoked by the CAC. This people are impostors. I know that the law will gradually catch up with them very soon.