By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Three groups namely; International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), the Southeast Zone CLO and the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) have in a joint letter, alerted the leading Governorship Candidates in Anambra of the illegal installation of market leaders by the Governor Willie Obiano government and the grave dangers it imposes for the in-coming administration.
The groups informed that this dastardly act is capable of among others; gagging the next Government of the State by throwing a spanner in the Government-markets/traders relationship as well as making same to operate afloat including forcing the installed Market “leaders” to maintain secret and perpetual allegiance to their installers and flittering into their private pockets revenues meant for the development of the State. This is more so when, till date, a good number of former local government chairmen in the State still sign stallage documents for a fee especially “Change-of-Ownership/Allocation Papers”; several years after they left office.
The groups disclosed this in a statement jointly signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi and Barr Chinwe Umeche for Intersociety, Comrade Aloysius Attah for the Southeast CLO and Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme for Anambra State Branch of the CLO.
The joint letter also highlighted other rots bedeviling Anambra Markets to include undue interference in market affairs and muscling of democratic process and right of traders to choose their leaders freely and democratically. Others are favoritism and nepotism, sundry extortions and indiscriminate imposition of criminal taxes and levies out of which, at least 80% hardly ends up in Government coffers or cannot be traced to official Government revenue records.
According to the statement, the markets where this shambolic elections have been organised by the outgoing Government of Anambra State are; the Ogidi International Building Materials Market held on Wednesday 16th June 2021, Niger Street Timbers Market, Onitsha; the Iron Benders (Akpakara) Market in Bridgehead Market, Onitsha and ASMATA. It gave the media link to the shambolic election supervised by Anambra State’s Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Uchenna Okafor (Wiper) as: https://www.sunnewsonline.com/anambra-traders-elect-new-leaders/?fbclid=IwAR3sjAGSnaW3AdeZCQNMaTUQDd6D8MQYCteiYsgDFpX4V-9N4j6VlLzB6Tk.
It noted that these government representatives were imposed as market leader through “unopposed elections”-whereby all the Government appointed “caretaker committees” are now being restored and installed with four year tenure through the so called “unopposed elections”.
It further informed that another shambolic market leaders elections with predetermined outcomes or automatic emergence of their “Caretaker Committees” and their chairmen as “unopposed elected leaders” have been fixed for the 14th July 2021 at the Power Tools and Allied Market in Onitsha Bridgehead Market; the Bridgehead Central Market; Onitsha Drugs Market; Onitsha Main Market; Ogbaru Main Market and Ochanja Main Market. The media link to the shambolic election supervised by Anambra State’s Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Uchenna Okafor (Wiper).
The joint letter specifically pointed out to the leading Governorship Candidates that the dastardly act of the outgoing Government of Anambra State, if unchecked or ignored, is capable of generating in the next dispensation combined negative forces of social disorder, disharmony and security threats or breakdown including setting Anambra Markets on fire.
Lastly, the joint letter demanded from the leading Governorship Candidates that all the conducted “unopposed elections” leading to the emergence of “unopposed elected” Market leaders who are serving members of the Government appointed caretaker committees, starting from the “unopposed election” held on 16th June 2021 at the Ogidi International Building Materials Market, shall be scrapped in the event of the emergence and taking office by any of the Candidates as next Anambra Governor; and that all the remaining Government appointed Markets’ caretaker committees in Anambra Markets shall be dissolved and their leadership positions credibly and popularly democratized.
The recipients of our joint letter are Prof Charles Soludo, APGA Governorship Candidate, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, Governorship Candidate of YPP, Chief Valentine Ozigbo, Governorship Candidate of PDP and Senator Emmanuel Nnamdi Uba, Governorship Candidate of APC. The two alternative Governorship Candidates also petitioned are Hon Chukwuma Umeoji of APGA and Senator Ugochukwu Ubah of PDP. The joint letter was successfully delivered to them on Sunday, 11th July 2021 through a WhatsApp mode of communication, the statement added.