- President of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association, Comrade Chinedu Ukatu (second left), the General Secretary, Dr. Anthony Okeke (second right) and some other executive committee members during the media conference in Lagos…Thursday
By Anthony Nwachukwu
Towards an accountable and gainful representation, the Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association has endorsed Mr. Benjamin Kalu’s nomination as deputy speaker of the incoming House of Representatives by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At a news briefing in Lagos Thursday on the developments in the polity, the umbrella body of over 58 major Igbo market associations in Lagos said that given Kalu’s antecedents, he was capable and fit for the position.
We have “keenly observed the intrigues, horse-trading and power-play going on about the election of the leadership of the 10th Assembly,” President of Ndigboamaka, Comrade Chinedu Ukatu, said.
“We want to categorically say without contradiction that we are in solidarity and total support of Hon. Benjamin Kalu, spokesman of the House of Representatives’ 9th Assembly, who is recommended for the office of the Deputy Speaker of the 10th Assembly.”
Urging all members-elect “to give him the required solidarity to emerge without rancor,” Ndigboamaka added: “We can attest to his antecedents; he has the capacity to represent the South-East” to move the country forward.
The group further commended the aggrieved parties over their peaceful pursuit of redress after the widely observed irregularities that produced the APC president-elect, rather than resorting to violence, describing their approach as “highly commendable.”
“There must be winners and losers, but we are pleased that those dissatisfied with the process have approached the court for redress as stipulated by the constitution, and we are happy with that rather than a resort to anarchy and violence,” it stated.
“We therefore call on politicians to eschew all forms of violence and intimidation that heat up the polity.
“We also call on the winners to allow those dissatisfied with the process to lawfully express it at the law courts, and avoid any prejudicial comments and threats, because it is everyone’s right to seek redress lawfully.”
On their part, Ukatu said the association was concerned because business interests would be badly affected should any negative body language sends a wrong signal to the international business partners.
“We want to reiterate that this association’s main objective is to protect the interest of the traders and support any policy of government that facilitates trade and, more so, support any individual or government that protects our interests,” the group added.
Equally, it urged the relevant government levels to address the issue of multiple taxation and unstable economic policies, including Forex unavailability and high exchange rate, among others that inhibit trade growth.
Insisting that traders contribute meaningfully to the growth of the economy, the association prayed for a smooth transition and implored the incoming government at all levels to provide an enabling environment for trade to thrive.
Meanwhile, following its election on May 4, 2023, which ushered in the incumbent executive committee to pilot its affairs for the next four years, Ndigboamaka has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to learn from it how to conduct free, transparent and credible elections.
He also thanked Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Lagos State Government for support and cordial working relationship.
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