By Sunny A Ijomah
The Anambra State Commissioner for Commerce, Markets and Wealth Creation, Chief Uchenna Okafor, has been accused of plotting to impose the current Caretaker Committee Chairman of Onitsha Bridgehead Drug Market, popularly called Ogbogwu on the traders of the market.
In a joint petition by three pressure Groups in the Market, the traders also alleged that Ajanma and the Commissioner popularly called “Wiper” might have allegedly siphoned about N100m belonging to the Market Union.
The petition was signed by Chief Godwin Maduka, Chairman, Ogbogwu Elders Forum (OEF), Chief Zack Unah, Publicity Secretary, Anambra Traders’ Forum (ATF), and Chief Ikechukwu Okoli, Chairman of Citizens Traders’ Forum (CTF).
They lamented that the election which was to hold June last year, 2021, could not, rather Ajanma was imposed on the traders because they wanted to install an Omambala person at all cost.
The traders also alleged that the Anambra State Government collected huge sums of money from the aspirants ranging from N250,000, for chairmanship aspirants, N200,000, for the post of secretary, N150,000, Vice-chairmanship position, M50,000 for other positions as against other markets that paid N20,000 for the purchase of forms.
The traders also alleged that all the monies generated by the caretaker committee that were supposed to be used to work for the market were diverted to Ajanma’s purse without the consent of the members of CTC.
“He does not give the members of the Committee anything, rather he tells them off, sidelines them. He gathers everything for himself. If anybody asks him, he tells you whether you know how much he spends in Awka,” said the traders.
They continued: The money generated from the market is almost N100m. The money includes the money from Ogbogwu park, trucks, money generated from electricity (each trader pays N1,000.00 per month), companies’ annual dues, ID cards, donations from importers and stakeholders, percentage from stall age fees, barrow tolls at the cost of N50 per a barrow”.
The traders said they had appealed to the Hon. Commissioner to intervene but he refused.
They said they had equally written a petition to the Commissioner on behalf of the aggrieved members where they outlined the misappropriation but it was also swept under the carpet without response.
Following this development, the members of Caretaker Committee have threatened to disrupt or boycott the election if the Commissioner refused to compel the CTC Chairman, Mr. Ajamma to account for the money under his custody.
The traders warned: “That elections must not hold unless Mr. Ajamma accounts for the union money in his possession. That Ajamma who was imposed on other candidates should either conduct election for other candidates or step down, hand over to somebody who is not contesting the election or to the electoral committee chairman in case he wants to contest to ensure fairness in the election.”
They argued that his Electoral Committee abinitio was flawed because he single handedly constituted the committee who traders have vowed to resist because the current CTC members were not aware of any election in the market.
They warned that these grievances and many more could cause break down of law and other in Onitsha Bridgehead market which if properly handled could be averted.