By Nwabueze Okonkwo – Onitsha
Following the cancellation of January 16 election of new auto spare parts market at the accreditation stage by the President of Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, ASMATA, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu, Anambra State government, on Wednesday, notified the traders to prepare for the election on Thursday, February 6.
Commissioner for Commerce, Markets, Trade and Wealth Creation, Uchenna Okafor, who disclosed this while addressing the traders at the market hall, warned trouble makers to distance themselves from the voting arena as security would be beefed up during the exercise.
Okafor who pledged that the election would be democratic declared: “I am here for peace, free, fair and credible election and it was after wide consultations with the state government, elders, youths and stakeholders in the market that I discovered that there is peace in the market and as such, there is no need for imposition of a caretaker committee on the traders.
“I had earlier extended the tenure of the incumbent, Chief Elisius Ozokwere by one month because the market cannot operate in a vacuum. However, as the traders and candidates want the election to be held soonest, I now fixed it for Thursday, February 6, 2020.
“Those who know that their names are not in the voters’ register should distance themselves from the voting venue as they have no business coming to the venue to avoid embarrassment.
“The venue of the voting will be announced to you later through the electoral committee led by Mr. Ifeanyi Mbaekwe. My assurance to you is that wherever the venue may be, there will be a combined security team that will include military, police, civil defense, and DSS.
“Government and ASMATA will be observers as all electoral issues and processes, including security would be in the hands of the electoral committee.
“If it is not the electoral committee that conducts the election that day, just go. There would not be manipulation of any kind.”
Commending the Commissioner, ASMATA President, Chief Ikechukwu Ekwegbalu, said he could not deny hailing from Anambra North zone adding that it was God that made it possible for the election not to be held on the earlier day and nobody knew what would have happened if that election had been held”.
In his vote of thanks, the incumbent chairman of the market, Chief Elisius Ozorkwere, commended the Commissioner and his entourage, including the ASMATA president for a successful meeting aimed at
conducting a hitch-free election come 6th February 2020.