Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The entrepreneurial nature of the Igbo came to the fore once again last week when the leadership of Bridge Head Market Traders Association (BHMTA) Onitsha, Anambra state, flagged-off a road construction project within the market which has been in existence for 47 years ago.
The road has been in a bad state for decades and In fact and has caused hardship and low patronage to the traders in the market.
The project starts from the Tinker section of the market; links the Power Tools and Allied market, Uba Plank and the Joint Association to the ever busy Niger Street.
The President General of BHMTA, Sunday Obinze, who performed the flag-off ceremony, explained that the project was purely self-help and did not have the support of government at any level. Flanked by his executive members during the ceremony, Obinze said that the project being executed through direct labour would cost about N25 million. He said that the suffering of their members over the years especially during rainy season when the road was usually flooded with water, scaring away customers from the market caused them to take on the project.
“We are embarking on the project due to the directive by the Governor Willie Obiano that every market should have access roads in case of any emergency and also for the traders and customers to have thoroughfare to access our market as well as to allow free flow of traffic for people coming into the market from Asaba through Niger street.
“It will help small and heavy trucks to come in to offload or to carry loads in the market. The road is about half kilometer and it was part of my campaign promise to the traders which I want to fulfill.
“We had earlier done some other roads in the markets such as Oduigbo road, Ogbogwu and Power Tools road and we want to continue from, Tinker section, Timber to join the Niger street with two drainage systems and box culvert to channel the water to the River Niger,” Obinze stated.
Chairman of Power Tools and Allied Market, Sir Sylvester Ahanonu and his counterpart of the Amalgamated Timber Dealers Association, Bede Nwankwo, commended the effort of the Obinze administration. They said that he has distinguished himself from all those who had occupied the office before him.
“This very one is a continuation of the project by the market leadership and we are very happy. Nobody who visited this place last year and visits the market now will identify the place because there was no road then but now as you can see, we have not only roads but wide and motorable roads in the market,” they said.
Ignatius Ejike and Sylvester Molokwu, both traders in the market, said that the road had been a nightmare to them, stressing that before now, vehicles conveying goods stopped at Oduwani road from where truck pushers would charge them again to bring the goods to their shops. They said that the new road will increase sales by attracting more customers to the market.