Traders from all over Abia State staged a “One Million-Man March” in support of the governor of the state, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on Friday, June 15, 2018.
The march which held under the auspices of Abia State Market Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA, saw the traders march in their numbers through the streets of Umuahia, the Abia State capital and terminated at the Government House in what was described as “show of solidarity for a trader-friendly governor who has done a lot for traders in the State”.
“It is not easy for you to see an Igbo trader leave his merchandise for a march of this kind. But we have to do this for Governor Ikpeazu because he has proved to us that he is a man who has the interest of not only the traders but that of the masses at heart. Such a man deserves our support,” one of the traders said.
The president of ASMATA, Chief Emeka Enechebe, while addressing the crowd said they decided to march for the governor for his great achievements in the state which included the construction of needed infrastructure critical to their trade. Such infrastructure included Faulks Road that leads to the sprawling Ariaria International market, and other roads all over Abia that have made trading easier as goods are now transported from one point to the other without the usual stress of avoidable delays, accidents and displacements caused by flood.
Addressing the governor directly, Chief Enechebe said, “I am here before all the traders in Abia State to most humbly convey to you our unanimous decision to adopt you as our only governorship candidate for the 2019 governorship elections”. This elicited a rapturous round of applause from the traders.
Responding, a visibly elated Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, thanked the traders for their support and solidarity, saying that what they had done was the greatest show of love to him.
He further reminded the traders of the inestimable value he placed on them which made him make trade and commerce one of the pillars of development of his administration. He told them that apart from what he has already done in the areas of roads and other infrastructure, contract for the construction of Umuchichi Road in Aba has been awarded while work would soon commence on Ngwa and Uratta Roads also in Aba, saying that none of the roads he built has developed pot holes as he adheres to the best standards and qualities in his projects in the state.
“The era of ‘promise and fail’ is gone,” he declared. “I made promises to you and I have delivered. That is why you are here today to show support, and I sincerely appreciate that.” His announcement of donation of a coaster bus to the traders elicited rapturous applause from them.
Continuing amidst punctuations by solidarity songs from the traders, the governor warned that no opposition member should post bills on the projects he has done in the state. He asked the traders to go and get their PVCs in readiness for the 2019 elections. “Anyone who wants your votes must first show you what he/she has been able to do for you. If they cannot show you, they don’t deserve your votes,” he said.
Some of the traders who spoke to newsmen after the march said they are ready to do all within their power to ensure that Dr Ikpeazu is returned as governor come 2019.