Commercial activities in Anambra State would be grounded this week as a result of a resolution by traders to close shops to protest against the activities of former market leader Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo Ezenwankwo the outgoing President of Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATA), member-elect for Orumba North and South Federal constituency is being accused of plotting to plant his protégées to run the market, for purely percuniary gains.
Some leaders of the respective market unions in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi and Ekwulobia, who directly accuse him of a scheme to supplant the AMATA leadership with his boys, who would be bringing returns to him even in his new job, allege that he has also been dropping the name of Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano to intimidate and harasses traders and disturbing commercial activities in the area.
The agreed traders, who wondered whether the governor was aware of the development, said in a statement, allege that the would-be lawmaker, had in fact, been flouting the governor’s directive, banning the collction of tolls in Anambra markets.
Signed by 43 members under the aegis of Concerned Stakeholders of Amalgamated Traders Association (AMATAS), the group, led by Ndubuisi Ochogu and Obi Chike Obi, Chairman and Secretary, respectively, gave out details of the outgoing AMATA boss’ sins.
In the petition, which was copied to the Chief of Staff (COS) to the governor, Attorney General of Anambra State, Commissioner of Police and Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, the body alleged that Ezenwankwo after being the President of the market for 12 years wants to impose a new leadership on the traders.
Part of the petition, sent to the governor, reads: “He has always violated your Excellency’s directive using his boys especially with regards to the collection of toll fees which you have abolished for the betterment of the poor masses, but up till now those collections are still going on now at Ogbaru Relief market and almost in all the markets in the state, thereby panting you black in the sight of the traders of Anambra State.
“Your Excellency, we wish to bring to your notice that our outgoing president Mr. Okwudili Ezenwankwo (Ewepudike) has been the President of Amalgamated Markets Traders Association of Anambra State (AMATAS) for the past 12 years operating on illegal, non-valid and viable constitution written and signed by him and his secretary for themselves.
“Sir any effective and viable working constitution, must have a well constituted constitution drafting committee set up in a general meeting who will draft the constitution and signed it.
“Sir, an organisation comprising all the markets in Anambra State cannot be registered as a company where one person will be the sole owner as the chairman board of trustees for life, as in his nonsense constitution writes in article 18 and 18 and has made us to understand that even before now Okwudili Ezenwankwo has been nursing the plans to hijack and claim this organisation.
“It is now clear to us that the news we heard that he is planning to sell some of the traders property is real; pending the out come of his planned Kangaroo election.
“Sir, we the entire stakeholders in all markets in Anambra State are hereby passing vote of no confidence on Okwudili Ezenwankwo and his executives. His conducting this election in such a horrifying manner and a terrifying situation is highly unacceptable to us.
“He has boasted that he is the brain behind the removal of all the commissioners for commerce Your Excellency has always appointed.
He insists that any commissioner sent must play to the tune of his music else, he removes the person. Rise up now and stamp the authority of your leadership as the Governor. Okwudili Ezenwankwo has succeeded in mounting fears on the market leaders, and they now fear him more than the governor of this state. It is highly ridiculous and unbelievable.
Reacting to the allegation Ezenwankwo said: “We have 72 unions in AMATA and those people that spoke to you are not executive members of the market unions. They are not even stakeholders of the market unions. In fact they are faceless people.
“I had it on good information that they are being sponsored by a certain politician who wants to contest governorship election after the second term of Governor Willie Obiano and he has this plot to put in
place a market executive that would be there to help him become governor and that nonsense cannot work while I am alive.
“They cannot close the market because they are not the leaders of the respective market unions in Anambra State. I am not imposing any executive on the market unions. The allegation is politically motivated.”
Commissioner for Commerce, Christian Madubuko said the allegations against the outgoing market boss would be looked into, vowing that nobody would control him.
His words: “I have seen the petitions but in reaction to the story that Ezenwankwo and Madubuko are controlling me, I can tell you here and now that they cannot control me and I cannot be intimated. I do not believe that they said all those things but if it is true, then I can tell you again that I cannot be intimidated we shall call a meeting of the market leaders and Ezenwankwo for us to resolve the matter.”