Chief Alex Obi Odunukwe (Pele) was the caretaker committee chairman that oversaw the conduct of BBA/ICC election 2021.
Recently, in an interview with Daily Sun he told Brown Chimezie his challenges during the exercise and how the market could return to its past glory:
The journey so far
I was one of the founding members of this association because, when we were constructing this place, I was one of the executives in Benue Plaza. After construction of the this place, I was among those who first settled here in 2002.
Thereafter, I was made the enforcement chairman, under Felix Orakwe, Task Force chairman. Later, I became president of the association.
Since then, how has it been?
Balogun Business Association (BBA) is not an easy place to run. To God be the glory, we have been able to cope. All along, even the past presidents and their predecessor tried their best. Although they said my administration remained one of the best, all along, all has been fine, until recently when we started having problem because of greed, as some people wanted to seize what belonged to all. Since the inception of this market, there has been nothing like caretaker committee because, immediately after your tenure, you organise election and hand over to another person.
This time around, it is a different ball game because the man whose tenure had elapsed, in the person of Chief Anthony Obi, refused to organise elections after his tenure expired.
When he entered the complex, he made so much money from sale of land. Ordinarily, we thought that, with such money in our coffers, the association would have moved forward but, unfortunately, the money has became a source of trouble for everyone.
They never considered the masses and the development polarised the exco.
What about your role as caretaker chairman under Chief Okey Ezibe, BOT chairman?
Okey Ezibe remains the BOT chairman, while I served as caretaker chairman and the mandate I got in line with CAC directives was to organise election within two months. By the grace of God, we were able to meet that deadline and that election produced Chief Oscar Odogwu as the president-elect.
According to BBA’s constitution, once you become a president, you automatically become a member of the board and anytime you want to take any decision you have to consult other board members, as you do not have the mandate to unilaterally make any changes or amendment to the association’s policies.
But Chief Obi unilaterally went to Abuja in an attempt to add their names as members of the board without the consent of other members.
When we got to Abuja, we discoverd that minutes of meetings were falsified and we moved against it. The Corporate Affairs Comisssion also asked them to provide the genuine documents. When they couldn’t get it, their application for BOT memberships was canceled, hence, Okey Ezibe remains the BOT chairman.
Before then, he inaugurated a caretaker committee and included my name but I turned the offer down because I knew that what they were doing was wrong. Later Okey Ezibe reconstituted the committee and I was made the chairman with two months to organise elections.
So, instead of the Anthony Obi-led government abiding by this arrangement, he and his men continued to go to court to seek tenure elongation.
When I came in to perform my task, they hired thugs and miscreants to prevent me from carrying out my duty. In order to avoid bloodshed, we allow them have their way because we did not want to lose any of our members to death or injury arising from the tussle.
Having been denied the secretariat, we operated from our various offices. We were able to appoint returning officers for the election.
On the day of the election, they also used thugs to scuttle it. So, we went to Abuja where we learnt that we could conduct election anyhere within the country. That was why we went to Villa Park, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos State, and had the election and names of winners were sent to CAC, Abuja.
After all said and done, who is the president of BBA?
The president-elect is Chief Oscar Paul Odogwu, but we have been unable to inaugurate him because of activities of thugs.
Adminstratively, what is the status of BBA now?
As it stands now, we don’t have any government in BBA. Once all crises are resolved, Paul Oscar Odogwu will be inaugurated as substantive president of BBA.