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Leadership crisis rocks Onitsha Market

By Vincent Ujumadu

AWKA — THE leadership crisis rocking the electronics market in the commercial town of Onitsha is yet to abate as the former executive of Electronics Dealers Association, EDA, insisted, yesterday, that they would not hand over to a new executive because there were still pending cases in court.

Four members of the former executive were assaulted two weeks ago by some people suspected to be loyal to the new executive over their alleged refusal to hand over and account for their stewardship.

Pending court cases

Chairman of the former executive, Mr. Joseph Udeh, said in Onitsha that the refusal of his executive to hand over was because some aggrieved parties to the election are still contesting the way, manner and outcome of the election in the court, adding that they were served with the court order to stop the election.

He said that even though they were not contesting the conduct of the election, they had an obligation to obey court order, as law-abiding citizens of the country.

Udeh said, “in as much as we are not contesting the conduct of the election, the fact that we were served the court order by the groups that are contesting the conduct of the election placed a duty on us to obey the court’s order.

“Any credibility given to the new executive by my executive will amount to contempt of court and we cannot be part of the people who disobey court orders. The incoming executive knew there was a court order stopping the election and in their desperation to take over the market, went ahead and conducted the election on 17 April with 150 policemen and two truck load of soldiers.”

He denied the allegation that his group was not willing to  render  account of its stewardship, adding that he had already rendered account to the judicial panel of inquiry set up by Governor Peter Obi in 2009 to probe the cause of crisis that rocked the market that year after the opposition petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, against his executive.

According to him, an external auditor brought by EFCC, audited the account of the association under his leadership and no indictments were made against the executive. He added that the EFCC at the panel testified that the allegations leveled against the executive that led to setting up of the panel were false.

He also said that his executive did not collect any money, whether levy, contribution or tax from the traders, adding that there was therefore, nothing to account for again.

Incoming executive speaks

But the spokesman of the incoming executive, Mr. Innocent Emenari, said that the former executive refused to hand over, because they wanted to rubbish the new executive and create the impression that they were incapable  of handling the affairs of the market.

According to him, the main reason was that they do not want to leave office and so they instigated some people to go to court to prolong their stay in office.


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