Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba
A serious leadership rift appears to have engulfed many major markets across Abia State, even as facts have emerged on the reasons behind the state government’s suspension of the planned inauguration of caretaker committees for the various markets billed for June 22, 2023. At Ubani Main Market Umuahia, it was alleged that an outsider from Orie-Ugba Market was named the market committee chairman, which led to protests by stakeholders and calls for the restructuring of the committee.
NewsCritic online reports that the state government had on Wednesday June 21, 2023 in statement signed by Dr Chimezie Ukaegbu, Special Adviser on Trade, Commerce and Industry announced the suspension of the inauguration and subsequent withdrawal of the appointments of the committee members across all the markets, citing no reasons.
However, NewsCritic online can authoritatively reveal that a worrisome communication gulf among some government organs and officials, plus a fierce leadership tussle among major stakeholders at the respective markets may have been at the root of the stalemate.
Some entrenched interests it has been revealed, are not comfortable with the composition of the various market committees just as complaints of marginalization, and alleged appointments of suspected Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other opposition parties’ loyalists ahead of Labour Party, LP, sympathizers continued to dogged the exercise.
Also, investigations revealed that in some markets like Ubani main market Umuahia, outside elements were brought in to head the market. For instance, it was alleged that a trader at Orie-Ugba market was made the chairman of Ubani market, a development that did not go down well with the stakeholders and traders.
Only on Wednesday June 21, some disenchanted traders under the aegis of Ariaria Market Youth Traders staged a protest march to the constituency office of the member representing Aba North / South federal constituency at the National Assembly, Chief Emeka Nnamani, demanding among other things government rejection of the composition of the various markets committees, on the grounds that they are majorly populated by those who they alleged tried to compromise the integrity of the last general elections.
Specifically, the protesters accused the chairman of the 17-member committee of the Ariaria International Market, Chief John Anyakaeme and a few other members of being behind the intimidation of voters during the gubernatorial election, wondering how he could be rewarded for his alleged acts.
However, NewsCritic online independent findings appear to suggest that the struggle by various groupings for leadership positions may have been at the centre of the spate of accusations and counter accusations.
For one, findings have authoritatively revealed that Chief Anyakaeme until the eve of the planned June 22 inauguration refused to accept the job of heading the Ariaria Committee. Several impeccable sources told NewsCritic online that he was so scared of the office and its pressure, so much that he initially resisted and turned down heavy pressure from friends and relations to accept the offer to the bewilderment of some government officials.
NewsCritic online reports that a breeding power and interests tussle within the government appears also be driving the disagreement. Some sources in the know pointed to a serious communication gap between the office of the Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu and some forces close to the Governor, which resulted in the emergence of conflicting lists of committee members.
“We hope that this ugly scenario will be the last in the life of this administration. I am equally happy that the Governor asserted his authority and arrested the situation. I don’t think Abians will want to be served some of the unpalatable dishes they were served in the past, “a concern source noted.