By Moses Nosike
One of the aspirants jostling for the exalted position of President of the Balogun Business Association, BBA, International, Chief John Nzeako popularly called Ojiji has opened up over the lingering power tussle in the market with a vow to restore peace if elected into office. Chief Nzeako who served the association two consecutive times as treasurer with a good record spoke on other thorny issues bedeviling the market and the way forward.
In the beginning…
I had a very humble beginning. My parents were not too rich; I served when my mates were serving as a normal Igbo routine where I grew up from a being a young boy to serve my master for about ten years and with God on my side, I have been succeeding, making waves and helping others to grow including the needy that have come in contact with me.
Forthcoming BBA election
Election into the Central Executive body of Balogun Business Association, BBA, and the International Centre for Commerce, ICC, by all standards is a great event in the annals of one of the biggest markets in Nigeria, nay, Africa. It is comparable only to the American election, because the best candidates are expected to emerge and occupy the exalted positions especially that of the Association’s President. I am a dealer, a distributor and a producer of wines, bitters and beverages. I am also a member of Association of Producers of Wines and Beverages in BBA. I was the first person that brought and distributed ALOMO BITTERS in Nigeria from Ghana in the year 2007. However the uniqueness of this year’s election is hinged on my declaration to vie for the position of the President of BBA. This is because I believe they all know me generally as an acclaimed man of integrity and honor.
What gave me the conviction to vie for the position of BBA President is because, having served the Association for two consecutive tenures as Treasurer; I have the experience to take BBA to another level. This is my second term of serving as the treasurer of the association without blemish. My chance of winning depends on the people of BBA, although BBA knows what they want despite money politics that is trending in the Union now. I advise those collecting peanuts not to sell their conscience. And for those that I have come in contact with, one on one, they know my antecedents. So, I have a better chance.
First and foremost, we have come to BBA to trade, and if you look at the situation of the roads and parking lots, it’s deteriorating. In my first 90 days of being in office, I will create a conducive environment for people and their goods. I will bring sanity to the movement of cars and goods within the Complex. Beyond that, I will empower BBA members through a renowned Micro Finance institution by lending soft loans to BBA members. I will use BBA’s low utility bills to put good governance in BBA without erecting any emergency iron lockup shop called attachment shop. Most important and dear to my heart is my intention to talk to shop owners to subsidize the prices of shops so that those outside can park in. I will also ensure that no packing stores should be downstairs. We will try to make all clusters busy like Lagos Island that even the people upstairs will be busy selling. If you look well, you will see that some clusters are like cemetery, which is like wasted efforts but I will try my best to change the mode, so that people will be happy coming to the market.
Also truck pushers inside the complex will be minimized to certain norms with identity card and uniforms because for now, they are more than the people selling in the Complex and any little mistake they engage in a fight. I will really try my best to turn BBA/ICC to what it is supposed to be, the biggest market in Africa, not even Nigeria.
Peace Corp in the market
If you look around the Complex, you will see some uniformed men working in BBA, I brought them, it’s my initiative. As the Patron of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Lagos Command, I used my connection to bring the Peace Cops men to work with BBA in this Covd-19 situation. And, I believe that if I become the President, BBA will work again. I will stop multiple-taxation by government agencies. With smelling and dirty drainages, lack of attention to rule of law, impunity and others, a lot needed to be done to remedy the wrongs in BBA. On the issue of miscreants collecting money from people around the market, those issues are part of the nuisance which I must stop if voted into office. That is part of what I meant when I said I will bring sanity back to BBA.
Election as a do- or- die affair
It is not a do- or- die affair for me. I have my business; I volunteered myself to serve the people, because there is a lot of suffering in Balogun. On the other hand, if it is not the will of God, I will simply go back to my business. In fact, it is my intention to also carry my opponents along once I am elected President, so that we can input their own good ideas into the running of the market. I have the experience, integrity, transparency, credibility, competence and accountability. I have been tested and I am trusted having served Balogun Market Association for two consecutive tenures as Treasurer. That’s why many call me a game changer. So, given me the opportunity to serve BBA will be the brightest decision BBA can make to better the lives of the business community. I am not only educated but outspoken and I am passionate about the well being and development of BBA/ICC and I will turn BBA into a true World Trade Centre.
Peace in the market
What I think is responsible for the crisis it the market now is power tussle. People don’t have the same understanding. Some people believe that when they are at the top, no one can direct them anymore, but, nobody knows it all. As a leader, you must be humble and have a listening ear. Some leaders fail to understand that they will come down from the position they occupy some day and may want to go to a higher one, and they will need the same people they looked down at before. The crisis has, no doubt, affected the progress of the market adversely. But, I assure you that it will soon be a thing of the past.
Advice to all
My advice to all is that now that we have a competent lady overseeing the affairs of the market in the person of Chief, Mrs. Lucy Ajayi and the good cooperation by our landlords, we should all work together to maintain peace and progress in the market.