The traders of Igbo origin operating at the Ladpo Auto Spare Parts Market, Mushin, Lagos have been told to accept Yoruba man as leader or leave the state.
The ordeal was handed down to the protesting traders due to their continued resistance of Alhaji Oladotun Abibu Oki as the Babaloja of the market.
Lamenting their ordeal, the royal father of the market Chief Nwosu told reporters that “99 percent of marketers in Ladipo are Igbo. To be fair to all, he should come and contest if elected he will be accepted. “We appeal to the South East governors, Igbo leaders across the globe to come to our aid. They asked us to go back to our villages, if we are not ready to accept the leadership of Alhaji Oki. We pay our taxes in Lagos and have every right as Nigerians to buy and sell anywhere in the state.”
Meanwhile LACEC Secretary General, Pastor Steve Ijioma told reporters : “There has been controversy over the imposition of Alhaji Oki as the Babaloja. This led to several clashes and it was agreed that Alhaji Oki should restrict his authority in his unit pending when the matter is sorted out. During the environmental sanitation, he encroached on our territory and we resisted. The protest is to pass the message across that we do not want his leadership rather a free and fair election should be conducted. It is a pity that an Area Commander could openly ask us to accept Babaloja or return to our various states.”
LACEC, according to the President General, Comrade Ikechukwu Animalu, is opposed to the imposition of Alhaji Oladotun Abibu Oki because “out of the 34 existing units in the market, Alhaji Oki controls only a unit. There is still an on going battle over his appointment as the new Babaloja. It was his attempt to impose his authority on us that led to the crisis that erupted on Thursday. We demand a formal election, so that the people will decide who their leader will be.
“We also appeal to the police to be fair in this controversial matter and call to order those who openly ordered us to either accept the imposition or return to our various states.”
Stating his part of the story, Alhaji Oki said that he was ready to dialogue with aggrieved members of LACEC to find a way forward. He told Sun: “I was nominated two years ago to be installed the Babaloja of the market.
LACEC through several petitions frustrated that move and the process was delayed. However two months ago, the late Abibat Mogaji finally installed me. To pass their message across they did not attend my installation, which was held in June 27, 2013.”