Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has been asked to sack his Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, Markets and Wealth Creation, Dr. Christian Madubuko,, for his alleged propensity to destroy markets in the State due to his pecuniary interest.
In the petition sent to Governopr Obiano by the traders under the aegis of Integrity Traders’ Group in Anambra State, the traders alleged that the Commissioner wants to turn Anambra marektes into “personal estates”.
In the petition signed by the Chief Emmanuel Okoli, Chairman of the group and Chika Anyanwu , Secretary , they said the petition has become imperative because the President –General of Amalgamated Markets Traders of Anambra State ( ASMATA), Chief Okwudil Ezenwankwo, has failed to prevail on the Commissioner to retrace his steps in his desperate bid to plunge the markets in the State into monumental crises.
The traders expressed surprise that the Commissioner abandoned other departments in his Ministry to only concentrate on fueling crises in the markets in the State by encouraging opposition to cause problems for incumbent market leaders so as to impose Caretaker Committees.
The Commissioner’s motive for the Caretaker Committees,the traders further alleged was to use it as a conduit pipe to siphon money ranging from N150, 000 to N3m from those he appoints as chairmen and members.
These money, the traders said, the Commissioner collected through his relations at a hotel in Onitsha from all the markets he imposed Caretaker Committees, while a paltry sum of the money was paid into Government’s coffers.
The group said the present crisis at the Ogbaru Main Market was created by the Commissioner to install a Caretaker Committee, which he did by removing the incumbent chairman, Chief Victor Nwawuzie to install Mr. Chinedu Ijezie, who he has removed again to install another person , Chief Buknor Agu. Unfortunately, when Buknor was not dancing to his tune he attempted to remove him with with Ochiogu but the traders resisted him
The group said “right now the Commissioner has introduced an illegal capitation tax at the Ogbaru Main Market from which he has collected so much money. This has angered the traders who are insisting that they cannot pay any tax or levy, since they cannot pay double taxation. He collects N1, 500 per a shop which covers 2015 to 2018. Unfortunately, there is no other market that pays the money in the State. The Commissioner directs the agents he uses to collect the money to bring the cash directly to him”
They lamented that whenever a market leader informed the Commissioner of an election due to the expiration of tenure, he will wait till the tenure expires , then hw sets up a Caretaker Committee.
The Intergrity group said “it is unfortunate Madubuko is informed about an impending election for his approval he will wait until the tenure expires. Then he liaises with the oppositions who originate petitions against the incumbent and create crises in the market. In the process, he instals a Caretaker Committee. That is exactly what happened in Onitsha Drug Market at Bridgehead. The Commissioner was written to come and conduct election but he waited until the tenure of the executives was over and he quickly put in Caretaker Committee to oversee the market”.
Continuing they said “he does not face the real issue which is his job. And his job is to direct and supervise the election as the case may arise. But he scuttled election at Bridgehead and installed Caretaker, where there was no crisis, no riot. But we are shocked that the Governor heed his advice on this matter against his (Governor)”s earlier stand which the traders applauded because election ushers peace while Caretaker generates crisis in the markets. There was no basis for Caretaker at the Bridgehead Drug Market”.
The traders therefore asked the Governor to order for the immediate conduct of election at the Drug Market, Bridgehead, describing it “as morally unjust for a market leader to write to the Commissioner for an election and the next thing he hears is that a Caretaker Committee has been set up. The Commissioner should immediately reinstate the Chairman to conduct election within two weeks”.
They also demanded that Chief Victor Nwawuzie should be returned with immediate effect as he did nothing wrong, only that he refused the Commissioner from collecting illegal levies by arresting and arraigning a woman who was collecting money for the Commissioner in the market.
“Madubuko should be stopped from further meddling in the internal affairs of Market Unions as his job stops at Awka. He should immediately stop the collection of enumeration fee and capitation tax rate in Nnewi and Relief Markets respectively and he should return the money he had already collected back to the traders.”
The traders noted in the petition that Madubuko were using opposition from either PDP or APC, stressing that if the Governor carries an unbias study in Anambra markets, he would realise that 60 percent of the traders in the State don’t like him again because of the activities of Dr. Madubuko in the Markets.
“The earlier he is checkmated, the better for the traders in the State and the administration of His Excellency. Your Excellency, if there is an election now, you will be surprised at the outcome because Madubuko has created problem between you and the traders, who were your ardent supporters” the traders said.