Thursday, 4 February 2016

Traders at Ochanja Market Protest alleged Imposition of Leaders as Gov. Obiano Cancels their election

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

Traders at the popular Ochanja market Onitsha, Anambra State had shutdown the market over an alleged plan by their outgoing executive to impose leaders on them.

This was even as the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano dissolved the election committee and subsequently cancelled the poll slated to hold on Friday.

Speaking to, the angry traders alleged that their outgoing President General, Fredrick Ezeona earlier changed their constitution from three year to four year, and retained his position for a second tenure, but as his administration was to expire on Friday, he installed a friend.

They further alleged that when they pressed on him, he constituted an electoral committee and allegedly dictated them on how and who to issue out contestants forms to.

The protesting traders equally claimed that ever since the leadership was on power, they were charged fines of N5000 to recover their stolen or forgot phones, N5000 to gain access into the market on late arrival of goods including whenever their goods arrived at weekend, as well as when leaving their shop at late hour.

However, learnt that trouble started in the market of about 32 lines and 3500 when the dissolved electoral committee zoned the most important positions in the market such as Vice-President, Secretary and President to zones A, B, and C of the market, and issued tickets to one aspirant per zone.

But Chief Umeh Nwabueze, one of the contestants of President General, who managed to obtain ticket a day to the election, said he was denied form because they know he would eventually emerge victorious.

“The commissioner and our working governor Obiano had cancelled the election due to injustice and fraud the electoral committee committed. Election was billed to hold tomorrow, however, they issued ticket to me and few other people’s choice today. Their game plan was to impose unknown persons on us. We have written over 20 petitions to the governor, commissioner of trade and commerce, chief of the staff, the police, DSS, Nigeria at large to stop them from perfecting their illegality. Therefore, we are appealing to the government to come and rescue us from this. If the election would be free and fair, I will gain a landslide victory.”

On what he wishes to achieve at Ochanja if elected, Chief Umeh said he was the person who singlehandedly rebuilt the market after being gutted by fire even though he was not in power, and vowed to execute so many projects, strengthening the market security, installation of fire extinguisher the state government pledged to donate to the market, among other needful.

Expressing happiness over cancellation of the poll, Uchenna Atuanya, Onyeka Agbazu, and Mrs. Ifeoma Emeka said the outcome would favour them as the qualified candidates, who were illegally denied tickets can now vie for the election when new date is eventually fixed. 

When contacted, the President General, South East Amalgamated Market Traders Association of Nigeria (SEAMATA) admitted that the Ochanja market poll was cancelled but could not give reason.



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