We don’t want caretaker, leave our elected executive – traders tell Soudo

By Alphonsus Nweze

Traders of Ogbaru Main Market have told Governor Chukwuma Soludo to direct his Commissioner for Trade and Commerce to reverse the nullification of their popularly elected executive in the the interest of peace, justice and fairness.
The traders spoke yesterday after a crucial meeting of stakeholders which was attended by Board of Trustees BoT, Patrons, sectional heads, past executives, line chairmen, women group in the market and members of the present executives.
Speaking at the highly tensed up meeting, the chairman of the BoT, High Chief (Sir), Sam Mendu, appealed to the Governor, the Commissioner and all others involved in removing democratic culture in the market to desist from doing that and reverse it with immediate effect..
He appealed that they should respect the wish and fundamental rights of the traders to elect their leadeders which was expressed on January 25, 2022 when they elected the Ndubuisi Ochiogu led leadership.
He said in addition, they obtained a court injuction from a court of competent jurisdiction which declared that status quo ante bellum be maintained.
“we know that markets belong to government but they have to follow due process and rule of law in whatever they do. Due process here is to respect our wish that which was the election of our executives and the ruling of the court. We don’t want caretaker.”

He said it is strange to sack an elected executive and replace them with caretaker committee, and the traders are not happy with the development.

Therefore, he said the government should swallow their pride and allow the elected executives to run the full course of their tenure.

Former chairman of the market and a member of BoT, Chief Eugene Nwaneke, said it is an irony that those who were at one time helmsmen of the market don’t want democracy to thrive.

He lamented that Ochiogu who campaigned for Soludo at the risk of his life on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is being pushed away by members of All Progressives Congress APC and Young people’s Party (YPP).
In his own contribution, Chief Emmanuel Nwadibi, Chairman, sectional heads of the market, said it is unfortunate that people who lost election on January 25, 2022 are being compensated with caretaker committee, while the actual winners are being pushed away.
An elder in the market, Chief Ernest Ibeanusi, lamented that some elements want to take the market back to Egypt, where it was riddled with crisis and violence,. He said that they would not go with them.

He asked the governor to follow due process and rule of law and reverse all the illegal decisions and activities of his Commissioner for Trade and Commerce.
Mrs. Felicia Anikor, one of the sectional heads said since Ochiogu came to power there has been peace and tranquility in the market.

She said the traders like him, because unlike the past regimes, he has been working for them, providing them with water, light, fire fighting equipment, toilets and there is no stealing and crimnality in the market again.

The chairman of all line chairmen in the market, Mr. Chinyelugo Maduka, said the election that brought Ochiogu was free and fair, stressing that all those who are angling for his position participated in the election and lost.

He asked how would Soludo feel if after the 2023 presidential election, the new president nullifies his election, use Police, the Army and DSS to flush him out of office without giving him opportunity to defend himself.

“That is exactly what is happening in our market. That is why we have been calling on the Governor to reverse that obnoxious and oppressive decisions,” he concluded.

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