Traders in Aba, Abia State, yesterday complained about the directive to close their markets for a political rally by Governor Theodore Orji.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that many of the markets were closed for business activities to enable traders to participate in the rally at the Enyimba International Stadium, Aba.
Chief Amobi Ike, the President of Abia State Market Traders Association, ASMATA, confirmed that all the markets in the city were closed as a mark of respect for the governor.
Ike said the peace being experienced in the state, particularly in Aba, had brought fresh confidence among their customers who had resumed business in the city.
He said: “We look forward to the governor’s visit today to the city. We have already endorsed him for the second term.’’
But Mr Peter Onah, one of the traders at the famous Ariaria International Market, said the closure of the markets was unacceptable because it would not put food on the table for his family.
He said: “Traders should leave politics for politicians and business for the members, because that is where either of them gets money to feed their children.
“I am not happy that the governor’s coming to Aba to achieve his political ambition will prompt the closure of markets.
“Two weeks ago, markets were shut down for members to participate in the current voter registration. And today again they are doing the same in less than one month without regard to our welfare.’’
He said the market leaders should not be partisan, and must give every candidate the same chance given to the governor to address the traders.
At the Ngwa Road Market, otherwise called “Ahia Ohuru,’’ most of the traders, who turned up for business, were dejected because they were not allowed to enter the market.
Madam Comfort Ikechi, one of the traders in the market, who came with her fresh food items, was shocked at the closure of the market and noted that it was uncalled for.
“How can they be doing this kind of thing to us, the poor, who depend on what we make in the daily sales to feed our family?
“What is politics, what will I tell my children when I get home?”
She urged the market leaders to always think twice before embarking on such wild goose chase to the detriment of their members.
“What happens if other candidates from other political parties want to visit Aba for the campaign, will they be given the same opportunity?’’ she queried.