Traders of Ose Okwodu Market in Onitsha, Anambra State have urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to return the lawfully elected leadership of Mr. Anthony Onwuetiaka to the Market.The call was in response to a spurious publication in National Light Newspaper on February 6, 2023, where certain persons passed a vote of confidence on the Caretaker Committee led by Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie.
But in a rejoinder which was sent to the Governor tagged “Re: Anambra Traders Pass Vote Of Confidence On Market Leadership” and made available to newsmen, the traders insisted that their “clamour and desire is that Soludo should return Mr. Anthony Onwuetiaka and his executives duly elected on February 3, 2022, for them to head the administration of the market and restore normalcy to the system.
The rejoinder was signed by Chief Lazarus Uba, Patron, OTU, and Mrs.Kate Anachu, Chairperson, SPL. Line, who dismissed the report as coming from people who have no locus, influence and relevance in the Market union.
The traders said they represent :”the real voice of goodwill, reason, and thousands of people who are oppressed and being buffeted by the terror of Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie and his thugs”.
They appealed to the Governor for the immediate removal of the “Pharaoh” of the Market, Mr. Umeanozie to save Ose Okwodu Market from collapse and crisis.
They alleged that from day one when Umeanozie took over at the Market, every sector of the Market has been inflicted with several disputes.
Consequently, they alleged that various zones, sectors and lines of the Market are in various courts : “contesting various unlawful incursions” by Umeanozie in the once peaceful Market and unions which has caused “uncountable woes and injuries to the lives and livelihood of several members of the market union”.
One of such cases, against Umeanozie, the traders said, is Suit No. 0/259/2022, Mr. Okechukwu Chukwuemeka & Ors vs Ikechukwu Umeanozie & Ors pending at Anambra State High Court No 5, Onitsha.
They alleged that Umeanozie has disputes (mostly court disputes) with Ajasa Traders, Medicine Dealers, Zone 1, and many other lines in the Market.
They also said that water supply in the Market was built when Mr.Onwuetiaka was the Chairman of Ose Okwuodu Traders Union not during Umeanozie’s era.
The traders said there is no single CCTV camera in Ose Okwuodu Market except for the ones few individual traders installed in their respective shops contrary to Umeanozie’s claim.
Other leaders and elders of the Market such as the patron of the Market, Mr Lazarus Ubah, the incumbent Vice-Chairman, Okechukwu Chukwuemeka, Nze Donatus Uzo, Chairman, Park Line and others said they are waiting on the Governor to fulfil the promises made to them when they visited him in Government House, Awka.
They said the reinstatement of Onwuetiaka led executives is the only solution to the lingering logjam in the Market.