From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The disqualification of non-indigenes of Anambra State from contesting the chairmanship of Mgbuka Amazu General Old Motor Spare Parts Dealers Association, in Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State sparked a spontaneous crisis that nearly caused a major breach of peace in the market yesterday.
The election of the leadership of the market billed to hold yesterday was, however, quickly postponed following the spontaneous protest of non-indigenes who vowed that the election would not hold if their candidates were disqualified from taking part in the election.
Consequently, the representatives of the Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) conferred on the phone with their President-General, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu who directed that the election should be postponed to avoid a breach of peace in the market.
The election was already ongoing with accreditation concluded when the Electoral Committee Chairman, Mr. Romanus Omeje, announced the disqualification of two candidates who were not indigenes of Anambra State on the grounds that non-indigenes were not allowed to contest the chairmanship of markets in the state.
This announcement infuriated the non-indigenes who vowed that their candidates must take part in the election since the market was not built by the state government.
One of the candidates, a former chairman of the market, Chief Ikechukwu Onuigbo, said the order was a strange one because it had never been applied in the market since they built it.
He vowed that the order would never apply in the market because 80 percent of the traders in the market were non-indigenes, who on their own built the market with their hard-earned money.
Chief Onuigbo said the order was the latest development which was communicated to them by an anonymous caller on the night of November 17, 2021.
The former chairman said even in Lagos State, Yoruba land, non-indigenes were not stopped from becoming the chairman of Alaba International market and other markets which they built.
Some of the aggrieved traders who spoke on the matter, called on Governor Willie Obiano and the incoming governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to remove what he described as “obnoxious and illegal policy capable of destroying Igbo unity and solidarity.”