Traders operating in markets within Enugu East Senatorial zone lost billions of Naira recently, following the order by their various local government chairmen to forcefully close shops to attend a political rally.
Some of the major markets shut include Ogbete Main Market, Garriki Market, Kenyatta Market, Enugu new Market, Timber shed Akwata Market, among many other markets in the zone.
Some of the traders who spoke with BusinessDay said that they were not politicians and should not be forced out of the shops they are paying for because the local governments were holding a rally.
“Things are very difficult in this country now and does not warrant people closing shops on the instruction of others without any compensation,” the trader complained.
The political rally organised by the local governments within the zone, at Michael Okpala Square was to insist that the sitting governor in the state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi must follow the rotation arrangement and ensure that the 2023 governorship slot is given to Nkanu land after Ugwuanyi’s tenure.
They threatened to resist any zone or individual who may make any attempt to deprive the zone the opportunity of succeeding the incumbent governor, who hails from Enugu North zone, warning against any plan to truncate the existing zoning arrangement of the governorship position which they claim, favours the zone.
Governor Ugwuanyi, who was invited as Chief guest of honour at the rally, when speaking did not make any specific statement about the topic of the event but said that he was delighted to be in the midst of the people of Enugu East, who he said he appreciated their support in the 2019 election.
He further stated that he had listened to their speeches and assured that as 2019 election ended in praise, 2023 shall also end in praise and that justice shall prevail at the end of the whole exercise.
People from various political and religious divides from the LGAs, traditional rulers, were among the people that graced the occasion.
Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi, who opened the floor for speeches,
reminded Ugwuanyi that his predecessors anointed those that succeeded them and that his own would not be different.
Although the rotation was never a written arrangement among the three senatorial zones of the state, Ubochi who was of the opinion that it brings political harmony gave a short history of how it started, “In 1999, our father, Distinguished Senator Jim Ifeanyichukwu Nwobodo anointed Senator Chimaroke Nnamani to be the Governor of Enugu State. Chimaroke later anointed Sullivan Chime to be the Governor and after his tenure, he anointed you to be the Governor of Enugu State”.
“Your Excellency, your own is not going to be different; we are waiting for you to anoint the next governor of Enugu State from Nkanuland, which comprises six local government areas. Any soul you pick, we will give you and the person all the needed support.”
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Enugu State, Ben Nwoye, who also hails from Enugu East zone, informed the gathering that his party had already zoned its governorship ticket to the Enugu East Senatorial Zone.
Nwoye, who commended Governor Ugwuanyi for the existing peace in the state said the zoning arrangement should not be destroyed.
The APC Chairman told the governor that “the fact that you are here means you are with us, the fact that you are here means that you have agreed to bring the anointed one from Nkanuland come 2023.”
“APC has already zoned its governorship ticket to Enugu East,” he said amid applause, adding “we are here to tell the PDP to also zone the position to Enugu East.”
Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in Enugu State, Augustine Nnamani said his party was yet to cede the position to any of the three Senatorial zones.
Offor Chukwuegbo, representing Enugu-North/South Federal constituency, who spoke on behalf of members of the National Assembly from the zone lauded Governor Ugwuanyi for identifying with them and for the prevailing peace in the state.
According to the federal lawmaker, the essence of the event was to solicit the support for the emergence of a governor of Enugu East extraction in 2023.