Ogbaru Local Government Area in Anambra State is currently experiencing heightened tension at the Fruits and Vegetables (Power Mike) market. This follows the alleged removal of the market leadership by the State Government and the subsequent imposition of a 21-member caretaker committee led by Mr. Afam Enebeli.
The State Government is set to swear in the appointed committee members on Tuesday. However, the situation escalated when Mr. Enebeli and Mr. Ndubuisi, the designated committee chairman, visited the market ahead of the swearing-in ceremony. They distributed letters of appointment to the committee members and inquired about the market’s revenue from traders.
In response, traders, primarily comprising Hausas and Igbo widows, expressed their allegiance to their reported ousted chairman, Chief Ngozi Egonu. Infuriated, they attempted to confront Mr. Enebeli and Mr. Ndubuisi, leading to a potential violent altercation. The two individuals managed to leave the market with the assistance of bystanders.
Alhaji Suleiman Magaji, the vice-chairman of tomato dealers in the market, condemned the government’s actions, stating that the market had no internal conflicts, and the recent election had affirmed Chief Ngozi Egonu as the leader. He criticized the government for removing the existing leadership and installing politicians to head the market.
Magaji urged the government to reinstate Chief Ngozi Egonu for the sake of peace in the market. He emphasized that the imposition of non-traders as leaders could lead to chaos and called on the government to consider selecting leaders from different sections of the market rather than imposing outsiders.
Another market leader, Mr. Sunday Okolo, expressed surprise at the sudden appearance of an unknown individual claiming to be the new chairman. He questioned the timing of the visit and distribution of appointment documents, emphasizing the absence of market crises. Okolo pleaded with Governor Soludo to intervene and reinstate Chief Ngozi Egonu, as the imposed committee members were allegedly interested in extortion.
Abubakar Musa, the secretary of the tomato dealers, appealed to Governor Soludo not to allow the swearing-in of the new committee members, warning of potential crisis in the market. Musa alleged that the majority of the appointed committee members were not traders but politicians seeking to exploit the market.
As of the latest update, an uneasy calm prevails in the market, with curses directed towards the new committee members. The traders are hopeful that Governor Soludo will address the situation and ensure a fair resolution.