By Ngozi Nwoke

It was an exciting day as the Ereko Market Traders’ Association (EMTA) on Lagos Island marked its 27th anniversary in grand style recently. The event was also an award-giving day to reward members of the union for their selfless service and commitment to the growth of the association.

•Executive members of Ereko Market Traders Association

The union’s chairman, Mr. Benjamin Ndubuisi Nweke, popularly known as Benduco, said: “This is our 27th anniversary at Ereco Market Association, in Idumota. I use this opportunity to thank all the executives and members of the market union. I joined the market in the year 2018, and I finished my four years tenure as the chairman in 2022. I was re-elected because of my competence in administrative framework and infrastructural development that I brought into the market union.

“It was in my administration that the market’s constitution was reviewed to carry all members along and not leave anyone behind in what we were doing. My administration was void of tribal and religious sentiments. We eradicated people who were sabotaging our efforts towards the development of the union. We beefed up security to ensure that no member was going against the constitution.”

Giving am assurance on the continuation of his leadership agenda, Nweke add: “I want to inform all members of Idumota Market that my administration has their interest at heart. We are leading this administration without fear or favour for anyone who tries to intimidate any of us. We will make sure that everything is done the right way, according to the union’s constitution. We are all Nigerians, and we deserve equal rights and treatment.

“When there are issues in the market, we will ensure that both parties are well represented and not attaching tribal sentiments to favour anyone. We will ensure that the market is conducive for all members. I urge all members to be law-abiding and pay their taxes and dues when it should be paid.

“The local government councils have always respected the union. This is because our members have been paying their taxes, and I want to commend them for that. I use this medium to thank the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the wonderful work he is doing in the state.

“I want to inform all Ereco Market members that as we round off this year, year 2024 will be full of human capacity developments by my administration by God’s grace. I thank the committee, executive, union members and everyone who has contributed to the success of this anniversary.”

Mr. Peter Amamife, treasurer of the union, disclosed that the union is blessed with good leadership that is interested in human capacity development.

He said: “This association was founded in 1992, and we are celebrating 27 years of its existence. I was once the INEC chairman and was elevated to a treasurer. The chairman and his executives are doing a very good job. They don’t decriminate or bring sentiment into the union. They are transparent and honest with their dealings with all members. Every member is regarded as one irrespective of their religion or tribe. The union is made up of Christians and Muslims.

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“We are grateful to this administration for the peace, unity, and harmony they strive to bring into the union. The members are pleased with this administration, that why they always pray for God’s blessings upon the leadership. Every activity is coordinated very well, and we are thankful for that.”

Alhaja Akinyemi Blikis, a former assistant woman leader of the union, said that it hasn’t been an easy task being in the position, but because of the goodwill of the people and passion she has, she was able to scale through the challenges.

She said: “I served as assistant woman leader before. After serving my tenure, I contested for the position of the vice chairman, which I won. My journey so far in the union for 27 years has been tough. It hasn’t been all rosy and smooth for me.

“Despite the challenges that come with these positions, I have been able to overcome them by God’s grace. We are grateful that the celebration ended successfully. For next year, 2024, I believe that the administration and executive have better plans for the union.”

Mr. Joseph Idogo, chairman of the organising committee, said: “This is the first time we are celebrating an anniversary in the union. For 27 years, the union has experienced growth, challenges, and victory. I have been a member of the union for the past 30 years.

“The rate at which the union is growing is indeed laudable, and this is because of the chairman’s openness and Integrity. The union chairman is performing well, which is why he was re-elected for the second time.

“I have experienced a lot that I lack words to express. But in all, we give thanks to God and to all members who made the anniversary a remarkable success.

“By next year, we hope to witness an anniversary more successful than this. We hope to see more growth in the union, and we trust the capacity of the union chairman and his executives.”

Mr. Samuel Eze, financial secretary, of the association, said: “We are also awarding and recognising members who have contributed to the growth of the union by way of financial, moral and spiritual support. The award is based on merit and selfless service. We are setting a pace for others to emulate by so doing.

“As an executive member of the union. I encourage everyone to endeavour to take the union to greater heights. I encourage everyone to partake in any action that aims to enhance the well-being of other members. We are grateful for further opportunities to develop this great union, and we will not let you down.”

Mrs. Oluwafunmi Shikoya Ajibike, a woman leader of the union, noted: “It is not an easy thing for the union to embark on 27 years’ journey and still remain in existence. Today, everyone is in excitement and jubilation. It is a huge achievement for us. We are just overwhelmed with joy and gratitude to the Almighty.”