Traders, Akure monarch differ over market chairmanship

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Traders at Mojere Automobile Spare Parts Market, Ilesa Garage, Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Monday, staged a protested against the alleged imposition of the Chairman of the market’s association, Kayode Olorunfemi, by the by the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.

The protesters called on the state government to intervene before the matter would degenerate into serious crisis. They also asked the government to remove the embattled chairman, alleging that he had been installed as the traditional leader of the market and should relinquish the chairmanship position after staying in the office for 11 years.

This came as the traders were preparing to conduct an election for officers of the association.

One of the protesters, Mr Kole Amueyinoge, said the traders were tired of the continued imposition of Olorunfemi, adding that the traders had been talking to the Deji of Akure, who appealed to them to give the chairman 12 more months to end his tenure.

According to him, Olorunfemi refused to vacate office despite spending 11 years, adding that Oba Aladelusi’s insistence that the chairman should spend another 12 months in office could cause crisis in the market.

He said, “We also visited the local government authorities, who organised a peace meeting with the traders, and we all signed a peace accord with Olorunfemi, who promised to vacate the seat last December, while an interim committee was put in place.

“We are surprised to learn that the committee has been instructed not to conduct an election until further notice and that Olorunfemi should continue as our chairman.

“We will resist Olorunfemi to lead the traders in the Mojere Market; he has caused many atrocities in the market. The Deji of Akure has installed him as the Asoju Oba in the market and he should step aside from the chairmanship position.

“The Deji of Akure should not meddle in the leadership of the market as we pay directly to the local government. The local government is in charge of the market and we have informed it.”

In a reaction, the monarch, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Michael Adeyeye, said though the market was a traditional market, the Deji had no special interest in any of the candidates jostling for leadership positions.

Adeyeye confirmed that the traders had visited the palace to complain about the development and a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the market had been put in place pending the election.

Adeyeye said, “The Deji of Akure only installed a traditional leader in the market and not a chairman. He intervened in the crisis and a caretaker committee was set up to conduct an election.

“But the committee realised that most traders, who travelled during the last Christmas and New Year festivals, had not returned and the panel had to postpone the election till March this year.”

Olorunfemi, in his reaction, said he remained the chairman of the market and noted that there was no crisis as those protesting were sponsored thugs, who had no business in the market.

“I am not bothered by their noise; those making noise are not traders in the market. I decided to stay off the market in order not to disrupt the peace in the market,” Olorunfemi stated.

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