By Polycarp Ifeanyi, Onitsha
Traders comprising zone 1 and zone 4 at Ose okwuodu Market Onitsha, Anambra state have raised alarm over plots to impose Caretaker Chairmen on them in their various zones.
The traders alleged that a certain caretaker chairman is planning to put a caretaker to manage the affairs of leadership in their various zones.
Briefing journalists after their joint meeting at zone 1 hall complex, Ose Okwuodu Market, the vice Chairman Caretaker committees Ose Okwuodu Market, Mr. Okey Chukwuemeka explained that the caretaker chairman, could not carry his executives along in his administration.
Chukwuemeka who doubles as the elected Chairman of zone 4 in Ose okwuodu narrated thus, “Our Chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie do not carry we members of his executives along. We have written petitions against him. We have even taken the matter to ASMATA office during which he was instructed to use us in various sub- committees. But he flouts the instructions and used another people outside the executive to form sub- committees.
“Not only that, in my zone where I was elected as the Chairman, we were conducting meetings, all of a sudden he sent thugs to disrupt our meeting, threatening that he would put Caretaker in our zone while my tenure has not elapsed.
“When government constituted us as Caretaker committees, they told us to go to Ose Okwuodu and restore peace, prepare everybody for election in 2023. I was astonished that he did not adhere to what government told us to do.”
Speaking further, Chukwuemeka said “Our Caretaker Chairman began to use thugs against everybody. He embarked on visits to every Union and demanded them to render account to him. He said, he would recover money which he spent to secure Caretaker committees Chairman.
“We have written to the Commissioner for Market and the Governor through courier but we have not gotten their reply. We are appealing to government to warn him not be instigating crises in the Market.”
Also speaking, the zone 1 elected Chairman, Hon. Anthony Onwuetiaka, affirmed that zone 1 and zone 4 of Ose Okwuodu Market have severally written letters to both the Commissioner for Market and the State Governor.
According to him, ” Since Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie became Caretaker committees Chairman, there had been problems here and there. He even wrote a petition against me which I cleared myself.
“We were peaceful here, doing our meeting and he tried to stop us with thugs. If we are not peace loving people, there would have been trouble.
“He is trying at all costs to put Caretaker committees but he has no power to do it. That is why he is looking for people he would use. Anything he does now cannot stand and whatever he is planning to put in Ose okwuodu is nothing but invitation for crises.
“He has no power to put Caretaker. It is only the traders that determines who would be their leader not someone who is a Caretaker. You want to put Caretaker while you are acting under Caretaker. I have never seen a situation where Caretaker Chairman constitutes a Caretaker. It is absolutely impossible and no law allowed such.”
Hon. Onwuetiaka called State on the government to put Umeanozie on watch, stating that he is bringing bad name to government in Ose Okwuodu.
Similarly, the patron of Ose Okwuodu Market and patron of zone 4 and park line, Mr. Uba Lazarus also claimed that the said chairman and his cohorts confiscated his wares worth of N670,000, simply because he followed them to ASMATA office at Modebe avenue to settle matters with traders.
Uba insisted that the plan of the Caretaker Chairman to put Caretaker in their various zones is unknown to law and cannot work.
In their separate speeches, other traders who their names could not be identified were agitating, saying: “We thought that our Caretaker Chairman came to harmonize Ose okwuodu but little did we know that his mission was to disorganize the market. We cannot allow him to impose caretaker on us because he, himself, was brought as a caretaker” They posited !
When the Caretaker Chairman, Mr. Ikechukwu Umeanozie was contacted, through his telephone line, to react on the allegations from the traders, he said he was not disposed to speak, that he would call back later but, as at the time of filling this report, he has not called back.