Crisis brew in Onitsha market as traders vow to resist Caretaker Chairman

Alphonsus Nweze

Crisis is brewing in Ose-Okwodu Market in Onitsha, Anambra State as traders have vowed to resist the plan by the new Caretaker Committee Chairman of the Market, Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie to impose another caretaker chairmen on the zones and lines.

Arising from a meeting, the leadership and traders of the Zones One and Four of the market vowed to resist any attempt by the Caretaker Committee Chairman to impose caretaker on the zones.

The traders who spoke through the removed elected chairman, Hon. Anthony Onwuetiaka, said they would deploy every legal means to frustrate the plot to impose caretaker at micro level of the market, saying that it has never happened that a caretaker imposed another caretaker on the zones and lines.

Other speakers at the meeting called at the behest of the plan to impose caretaker, condemned the idea, stressing that the State Government set up the Caretaker Committee in Ose Okwodu market to engender peace and prepare ground for the election in the market in 2023, not to cause trouble.

They accused the Umeanozie of triggering crisis at the market since he was appointed, the latest being his attempt to impose caretaker heads on the zones and lines.
Before now, they said, the chairman was alleged to have asked zones to submit their past audited account which he has no power to do.

He was also said to have a running battle with medicine dealers section of the market which took them to the umbrella body of the markets, the Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA) for the resolution of the misunderstanding.

Umeanozie was said to be embroiled in another running battle with his fellow members of the Caretaker Committee, including his Vice-Chairman who he bye-passed to appoint non-members as chairmen of adhoc committees.
Hon. Onwuetiaka, who is the chairman of zone one, said when he was removed as the substantive and duly elected chairman of the market, he quietly left and did not want to engage in any battle with anybody.

“I had the right and option to go to Court to contest my removal, since i was duly elected and my tenure was still legitimately,” he said.

Onwuetiaka regretted that the only way Umeanozie wanted to reciprocate his good gesture was to decide to impose caretaker on the zones and lines.

“Umeanozie will fail in his bid as traders would collectively resist him,” he proclaimed.

The Vice Chairman of the Caretaker Committee and Chairman of Zone Four, Mr. Okey Chukwuemeka, accused Umeanozie of refusal to carry other members of the committee along, rather he brought people from outside the committee to handle relevant jobs.
He also accused the Caretaker Committee Chairman of alleging that he bought the position with money and therefore must recoup his money from the traders.
The Vice-Chairman explained why Umeanozie was bent on setting up illegal Caretaker Committee, accusing accused him of being high-handed and using thugs to disrupt his meetings.

There was also an attempt to disrupt the last meeting held by Zones One and Four but they failed.

“The Caretaker Committee Chairman has been seizing people’s wares especially those belonging to people who opposed him,” he revealed.

Both Onwuetiaka and Chukwuemeka said that they have intimated the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Dr. Obinna Ngonadi and Governor Chukwuma Soludo himself but are yet to get any response from them.

Efforts to hear from Umeanozie failed as he was dodging the media.

On several ocassions he was called but he claimed to have gone to Awka and would call back when he comes back but for days he did not call back. Even till press.
It was however learnt that he was holding a meeting at the market on that particular day on how to successfully impose Caretaker Committee on the market zones and lines

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