Mr. Stanley Ugwueze was the returning officer in the recent Balogun Business Association, International Trade Fair, Lagos, election 2021 that produced Chief Oscar Odogwu as president of the sprawling business complex.

He spoke with Brown Chimezie on why the president-elect has not been inaugurated and challenges facing traders in BBA .

Since the conclusion of the election, what has been the situation in BBA?

Well, the situation in the market after the election has been tussle here and there. The immediate past president, Chief Anthony Obi, refused to conduct election after his three-year tenure expired. As a corporate organisation, we approached Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), for advice and we were given directives to form a caretaker committee with a mandate to conduct election in two months  on or before June 24. The caretaker chairman then inaugurated myself as the returning officer for the election.

To God be the glory, we were able to conduct the election peacefully and it was supervised by CAC, security agencies and other relevant authorities. At the end of the exercise, Oscar Odogwu emerged winner of the election.

When they gave us the directive that we must conduct election on or before the 24th of June, or interim management team will be installed, as stakeholders in the market, we had to do all to get things right according to their instructions that we conduct election and forward the list of winners to CAC and that was exactly what we did.

I thank God that we were able to conduct the election, peacefully. As the returning officer, I promised the contestants free and fair election and that was what I and my team did. All the contestants were very happy to the extent that the second runner-up congratulated the winner, and our members showed that they were happy with the election because we had massive turnout.

Now that the election has taken place and a winner has emerged, what is bone of contention?

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What we want is to get everything done properly, according to the law. But the other party, based on the fact that many of them do not have anything on the ground here, want to do it in such a way that even if the market scatters, so be it. Because they believe that they don’t have anything to lose, they have continued to foment trouble in the complex.

But for some of us who have our business here, we know that the majority of Igbo in Lagos eke out a living here. If you are not a trader here, you have an uncle and other relatives who also do business here, hence, we have to move to get things right. With the emergence of the new executive council, we are getting there.

What is stoping the new management team from taking over? Why is there still have a caretaker committee?

The tenure of the past executive expired on November 20, 2020. It was emphatically stated in the directive of CAC dated April 21 that whatsoever action they took before 20th remained valid and whatever they did thereafter was void. The caretaker committee that is holding sway in the market that the immediate past president constituted, was done illegally because his tenure expired on November 20.

But he constituted the caretaker committee on the 10th December 2020. By that date, his tenure has expired and he has no Constitutional/Moral  to constitute any panel.

Meanwhile according to CAC directive through the letter given to us, it was clearly stated that the original board of Trustee is the one led by Chief Okey Ezibe and his secretary, Chief Ikechukwu Obiora as the secretary. So we don’t have two board of trustees. When the matter becomes issue of litigation, we have to go back to CAC for interpretation.

So what hold the new electives from taking office is attitude of the immediate past government which allegedly brought in thugs to seize the Secretariat but we are following them legally. As major stake holders, we don’t need to fight with touts in the market.

I’m assuring you that in couple of weeks time, this newly elected executives will be sworn-in to carry on with their constitutional function.