By Chukwudi Ikpe
Traders in the demolished Eke Ukwu Owerri Market in Owerri, Imo State, have declared for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) under the aegis of Owerri Main Market Amalgamated Traders Association (OMMATA).
The president of the Association, Mr. Lawrence Okwudiri Alex, made the declaration, recently, in a move he regarded as pay back for the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Imo State that demolished their market without minding their sufferings.
He lamented how the Owerri Main Market, popularly known as Ekeukwu, which was their source of livelihood, was demolished by the state government without proper negotiation and compensation, and made it clear that OMMATA will join forces with the opposition to ensure that the present APC government of Imo State was dethroned.
Speaking to Christian Voice, Mr. Alex noted that after the infamous demolition of Ekeukwu market, some traders died of heartbreak and other diseases which they could not handle due to financial constraint while others were forced to retire to their various villages.
He also pointed out that their customers now go to Aba or Onitsha to buy their goods at the detriment of the Owerri traders, stressing that the pains were too much and the government showed no concern to their plight.
The business arrow-head recalled with anger, how the state government told them to build their shops themselves at the new market site, while it erected shops for the Hausa traders at their new site after the demolition of Ama Hausa’ market.
Mr. Alex further explained that together with all his members, they joined APGA because it is an Igbo party with a human face and they want what is happening in Anambra State to happen in Imo State.
He advised the party leaders to manage the primaries carefully to avoid the mistakes of the past and called on the party’s aspirants to uphold the interest of the party first and support whoever emerges as the party’s flag bearer in the 2019 elections.