21st October, 2013
The chairmanship election of the General Electrical Dealers Association, Alaba International Market, in Ojo Local Government, Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, has sparked fresh crisis in the market.
The traders are at war and have split into factions following the outcome of the election which an aggrieved faction claimed was a sham after the contestants were made to pay N150,000 each.
Now the battle has shifted from the market to the court after all efforts by the chairman of Ojo Local Government Area to broker peace among the traders failed.
The crisis took a new turn following a suit seeking a court injunction restraining the purported Chairman-Elect, Mr. Felix Nwagu, from parading himself as the chairman in that capacity by one of the contestants, Mr Joseph Emeziem.
The suit dated 27 September was brought before Chief Magistrate’s Court, Badagry, by Emeziem who alleged threat to life, attempted incitement of violence and brazen distortion of peaceful transition of the association’s election by Messrs Felix Nwagu, Chinedu Arinze, Obiora Olikagu and Nwune David Nweke, who were sued as defendants.
According to the legal action brought under sections 349(1), (2) and 35 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, filed by Barrister O. A. Henry & Co. Legal Practitioners, the aggrieved member, Mr. Joseph Emeziem, told the court that the purported kangaroo election conducted by the defendants and said to have been won through appointment by Nwagu was contrary to the association’s constitution and totally undemocratic.
Emeziem contended that the said handpicked Chairman-Elect, Nwagu, if sworn, would likely cause chaos and breach of peace in the market.
Contending the position of Chairman-Elect by general consensus of the forum members, Emeziem alerted the court of alleged threats to his life by the defendants.
“I strongly believe that the defendants and their agents have the capability to carry out the threat to eliminate me and other aggrieved members of our association unless this honorable court restrains them and binds them over,” Emeziem said.
Among the reliefs sought by Emeziem is an order of injunction restraining the electoral committee under the auspices of the association from recognizing or swearing in Nwagu as the association’s chairman.
He also urged the court to grant an order restraining the purported Chairman-Elect, Nwagu, from parading himself as chairman of the association.
Joining Arinze, Olikagu and Nweke in the suit, Emeziem asked the court to stop them from parading or imposing their chairmanship candidate on him or other members of the General Electrical Dealers Association, Alaba International Market, Lagos.
In his affidavit of urgency, the complainant deposed to an oath attaching documents marked as exhibits, where he posited among other things that he paid the sum of N150,000 for the electoral forms and was duly qualified to stand for the association’s election.
Though the court asked the parties to maintain peace in the market pending the determination of the suit, when P. M.NEWS visited the market, there was still tension there as traders are divided into factions, with each faction laying claim to the leadership of the association.