By Chimaobi Nwaiwu, NNEWI
Over 35 ex-chairmen and secretaries of the popular Onitsha Main Market, Anambra State, on the platform of Committee of Ex-Chairmen, Secretaries and Stakeholders of Onitsha Main Market, have kicked against continued leadership of the market by Caretaker Committee, demanding for democratically-elected leadership.
The agitation by the traders follows Governor Willie Obiano’s directive that all suspended elections market union election due to COVID-19 pandemic, should be conducted.
However, while some markets have conducted theirs, Onitsha Main Markets is yet to get a date for theirs.
Some markets, such as Building Materials International Market Ogidi, Bridge Head Market Onitsha, including others, have conducted theirs.
Ochaja Central Market Onitsha, Electronics International Market, Onitsha and other markets, have taken dates in September for their elections.
Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, the former market leaders from the three zone that make up the market (Zones 1, 2 and 3) unanimously rejects continued leadership of Onitsha Market by an appointed Caretaker, demanding for the conduct of Onitsha Main Market Amalgamated Traders Union, OMMATU, election.
They were led by former OMMATU, Chairman, Chief Obi Egbuna; former Vice Chairman, Chief Okwudili Onuorah; ex-Treasurer, Chief Philip Ohamadike, and ex-Chairman of Zone 2, Chief Celestine Akidi, and other zonal Chairmen and Secretaries and stakeholders.
In their separate speeches, they appealed to Governor Obiano to order the conduct of the market election before the November 6 state governorship election.
They reminded Governor Obiano of the numerical strength of Onitsha Main Market, and the imperative of ensuring the conduct of OMMATU election before November 6, saying that it will enhance the state ruling party’s chances of winning the election.
Speaking one after the other, Chief Egbuna, Chief Onuorah, Chief Ohamadike and Chief Akidi, among others, categorically stated that Caretaker Committee leadership in the market cannot control traders’ loyalty let alone deliver victory in the market for the state ruling party.
According to Chief Egbuna, traders in Onitsha Main Market are angry that the elections they should have led the way in conducting in the state, being the biggest market, they seem to be the last, with no date in sight.
“We do not want the OMMATU election delayed further. It will be disastrous for the state government to go into November 6 governorship election without conduction our election.
“The traders are angry. There is no family in the state, or among the electorate that does not have a relation in Onitsha Main Market. So the state government should do the needful about our election.”
Chief Onuorah, on his part, said: “There is division among traders in Onitsha Main Market arising from non-conduct of the OMMATU election.
“The market, as currently led by Caretaker Committee, does not have the capacity to unite the traders. Only a leader we elected that will unite us.”
For Ohamadike and Akidi, in the separate speeches, emphasised the need for a united OMMATU, for them to participate in the November governorship in the state.
They said any party that wants to rule the state must be at peace with traders in Onitsha Main Market and the only way to achieve that is conducting their union’s election.