■ Traders protest market leadership election
From Obinna Odogwu, Ekwulobia
More than 500 traders of the Building Material International Market, Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, trooped out recently to the major streets of the community to protest alleged imposition of a president-general on them.
They accused the leadership of the Anambra State Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATAS) led by Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo of masterminding and carrying out the plot.
Some of the protesters marched on to the state secretariat, to the office of the Commissioner for Trade, Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Mrs. Amaka Ilobi, while the others marched to the office of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke, to lay their complaints.
Daily Sun gathered that they had earlier boycotted the election for the new leadership of the market over non-usage of an open secret ballot system against Option A4 they adopted.
They accused government of doing nothing about the numerous petitions written to it on the impending crisis that would erupt if Option A4 was used for the election against open secret ballot system.
Contenders to the said boycotted election, Chief Paulinus Aniagboso and Chief Oragwa Paul, accused Ezenwankwo of creating crisis in the market. They also accused him of collaborating with the incumbent leadership, which they alleged has stayed 10 years without rendering account of their stewardship.
They alleged that thugs were “imported” into the election venue hence their insistence to use an alternative venue outside the market for the elections. Oragwa was beaten black and blue with his clothes torn. He alleged that there was collusion with the police to thwart the wishes of the traders.
Oragwa and Aniagboso appealed for a fresh election, saying that as two out of the three contenders boycotted the election, puppets were sworn in through selection as against their constitution.
They wondered why a set of people who impeached the President General, Austin Edozie since 2006 would still be in leadership for 10 years without rendering any account or getting bored of leading the people just as they have never conducted any meeting for the people.
They lamented that all their petitions to Governor Willie Obiano, the SSG, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu, among other principal officers of the government to avert the scenario did not yield any fruit.
They said that lives would have been lost had they not taken the bold step to walk away from the market when they did, pointing out that as they did so yet an aspirant was still attacked.
They wondered why their rejection of Option A4 should be rejected by their opponents and the state authorities.
When contacted, Ezenwankwo dismissed the allegations leveled against him, saying that they were the figments of the protesters. He had insisted that the election would hold in the market using Option A4 against the position of the other two contenders, who saw it as taking sides with the outgoing team against them.
The winner of the election, Mr. Jude Nwankwo, who is the outgoing treasurer when contacted said he was busy in a meeting and noisy place that he would get back to our correspondent. He never did as at the time of going to press.