Posted by Mazi Odera | 22 October 2013 | 3,988 times
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate for the November 16 Anambra State governorship election, Chief Willie Obiano, and his running mate, Dr. Nkem Okeke, have been endorsed by Igbo traders in Lagos.
As a practical demonstration of this, major markets in Lagos were voluntarily closed yesterday as the traders trooped out to receive the APGA campaign train led by Anambra State Governor Peter Obi and APGA National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, who introduced Obiano and Okeke to the traders.
Business activities in Alaba International Market, ASPAMDA, Balogun Market (Trade Fair Complex) as well as Ladipo Market, ground to a halt. The traders, wearing APGA branded clothes, T-Shirts, Fez-caps and wrappers, exploded into rapturous songs of solidarity whenever the team arrived at each market, in open demonstration of support to the party and its candidate in the coming election.
The APGA campaign train made colourful speeches on each stop and drew applause from the traders who all chanted their enthusiastic support for Chief Obiano and his running mate, Dr. Okeke.
Introducing the Campaign Team to the traders, Chief OkeyEzeibe, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Balogun Business Association BBA (Trade Fair Complex), explained that it was in the tradition of the party to consult widely and seek the support of Igbos wherever they live, on issues concerning leadership in the south-eastern states.
According to him, the party considers every Igbo man or woman an integral member since the party’s aspiration is to take its model of governance which has transformed Anambra State to other states in the South East and beyond.
In his opening remarks, Chief Umeh, the National Chairman of APGA, told the traders that it was time to appropriately position Ndigbo as masters of their own destiny, wondering how politicians from outside the South East could impose a leader on the people of Anambra State.
“Have you ever heard that an Igbo man went to Kano or Ibadan to raise someone’s hand up to Kano or Ibadan people and ask them to vote for such person?” he asked and the crowd roared in the negative.
Umeh urged the traders to support the candidature of Obiano and Okeke as they are the best team to carry on the tradition of responsible and responsive leadership that the party has entrenched in Anambra State.
While speaking to traders at various markets, Gov. Obi who introduced himself as one of them, called on them to be vigilant and not allow outsiders to dictate to Igbos who would govern them. He wondered what the position of non-APGA government, say APC, would have been over an issue such as deportation. “You all saw the position of Dr. Chris Ngige, who, in order not to annoy his masters supported deportation and even went on air to defend it, insisting that those deported were mad men. Imagine, calling our brothers and sisters mad men because he does not want to go contrary to his APC masters,” Obi said.
The traders were united in condemning the deportation of 76 Igbos from Lagos in July and commended the APGA government led by Gov. Peter Obi for challenging the deportation, which they said has guaranteed that no Nigeria would hence be deported from his own country.
“If not for what Governor Peter Obi did when the deportation war was on, it would have been bad for you and I. Dr. Chris Ngige said those deported were mad men and if Obi did not shout, one day they will deport you and I and also call us mad men,” Engr. Chijioke Okenwa, the leader of Electronics Dealers Association of Nigeria, said. Though they commended Gov. Raji Fashola for apologising, they expressed surprise that Dr. Chris Ngige is still justifying the dastardly act.
In his acceptance speeches after being introduced at various markets, Obiano assured that he would continue and consolidate on all the good works of Governor Obi if elected governor next month. “I will not only continue in all the good work Governor Obi is doing, I will try and surpass him,” he said.
Obiano’s speech drew warm responses from the traders who were quite surprised that contrary to the impression they had been given the APGA candidate could speak fluent Igbo and had in fact addressed them in Igbo Language.
“We have seen what Obi’s administration has done in Anambra State. No other governor has done that before. We see a similar potential in Obiano whom the party has chosen to succeed Obi. That is why we came out en-masse to receive them today. We shall all return to Anambra to vote for Obiano and his deputy on the Election Day,” declared Chief Felix Orakwue, Chairman, Balogun Business Association (BBA)’s Founding Fathers Forum.
For Chief OkeyOkoye, Chairman of Ogbu Community in BBA, the race is already over for other opposition parties with the grand entrance of the APGA team. His words: “We are satisfied with the great work that Governor Peter Obi has done in Anambra State and we are concerned about how that can be sustained now that his tenure is coming to an end. We were anxious to know who will succeed him. Now that we have seen Chief Obiano, we have no doubt that he will perform as well as Obi if not better. That is why we are calling on our people to vote for him. Other parties should forget Anambra State for now. We are happy with APGA.”
BBA Women Affairs Leader, Mrs. Lilian Anachusi, also declared the unalloyed support of the business women for Chief Obiano. According to her, “We mobilised our members to show support to Obiano because we found out that Obi’s government gave women a great chance to prove their mettle in Anambra State. We are looking forward to an increased involvement of women in governance in Anambra State and we believe that Obiano will give us even a better deal.That is why we are out here to support him and tell our fellow women to vote for him.”
The youths were also not left out in the race to offer support to the leading candidate as Ifeanyi Nwadiogbu, President, Great Youths of BBA, revealed that his association had been waiting anxiously for the Election Day to cast their votes for Chief Obiano.
Said he: “We have seen that Chief Obiano is a lover of the youths. He has a good plan for the youths in Anambra State. We have read his Blueprint and we can see that he means well for us. That is why we are out here in our numbers to support him and we shall travel home to vote for him on the Election Day.”
Leaders of other associations like the Omambala Forum led by Obi Nnacheta as well as the Chairman of Wiper Motors Ltd, Hon. Uchenna Okafor all expressed support for the APGA candidate.
•Photo (L-R): Dr. Nkem Okeke, Governor Peter Obi, Chief Willie Obiano and Chief Victor Umeh, all members of the APGA Campaign Team acknowledging cheers at Balogun Business Association (BBA) Trade Fair Complex, Lagos.
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