The entrepreneurial nature of the Igbos came to the fore once again when the leadership of Bridge Head Market Traders Association (BHMTA) Onitsha, Anambra state, flagged off a road construction project within the market which has been in existence for 47 years.
In view of ceaseless sufferings and fruitless calls on the government to come to their aid in the reconstruction of the major road leading to their market in Onitsha, the President General of BHMTA, Mr Sunday Obinze, has called upon the traders to take matters into their own hands literally, and embark on this worthy cause that will serve even generations yet unborn and boost the economic strength of Anambra state as a whole.
The road had been unattended to for several decades, causing poor access to their market which translates to poor patronage over the years. The traders welcomed the idea of road construction with eager nods.
The road has been in a bad state for decades and has caused hardship and low patronage to the traders in the market.
The project will kick off from the Tinker section of the market, which links the Power Tools and Allied market, Uba Plank and the Joint Association to the ever busy Niger Street.
The President General of BHMTA, Sunday Obinze, who performed the flag-off ceremony, explained that the project was purely self-help and did not have the support of government at any level.
Flanked by his executive members during the ceremony, Obinze said that the project being executed through direct labour would cost about N25 million. He said that the suffering of their members over the years especially during rainy season when the road was usually flooded with water, scaring away customers from the market caused them to take on the project.
“We are embarking on the project due to the directive by the Governor Willie Obiano that every market should have access roads in case of any emergency and also for the traders and customers to have thorough fare to access our market as well as to allow free flow of traffic for people coming into the market from Asaba through Niger street.
“It will help small and heavy trucks to come in to offload or to carry loads in the market. The road is about half kilometer and it was part of my campaign promise to the traders which I want to fulfill.
“We had earlier done some other roads in the markets such as Oduigbo road, Ogbogwu and Power Tools road and we want to continue from Tinker section, Timber to join the Niger street with two drainage systems and box culvert to channel the water to the River Niger,” Obinze stated.
Chairman of Power Tools and Allied Market, Sir Sylvester Ahanonu and his counterpart of the Amalgamated Timber Dealers Association, Bede Nwankwo, commended the effort of the Obinze administration. They said that he has distinguished himself from all those who had occupied the office before him.
“This very one is a continuation of the project by the market leadership and we are very happy. Nobody who visited this place last year and visits the market now will identify the place because there was no road then but now as you can see, we have wide and motorable roads in the market,” they said.
Ignatius Ejike and Sylvester Molokwu, both traders in the market, said that the road had been a nightmare to them, stressing that before now, vehicles conveying goods stopped at Oduwani road from where truck pushers would charge them again to bring the goods to their shops. They said that the new road will increase sales by attracting more customers to the market.
Other trade unions within Onitsha commended the administration of Obinze and saluted his courage to embark on the road project without the assistance of any government.
In his remarks, Chairman of Power Tools and Allied Market, Sir Sylvester Ahanonu and the Amalgamated Timber Dealers Association’s president, Chief Bede Nwankwo, thanked him for standing out of the crowd amongst past regimes in the Bridge Head market.
Efforts to find out why the clarion calls of the traders had fallen on deaf ears of the three layers of government in Nigeria has so far yielded no results.