There is palpable tension in Alimosho Local Government Area over leadership between Igbo and Yoruba traders.
Traders from the two ethnic groups conducting their businesses at the Olugbede Model Market in are ready for showdown over whose right it is to produce the next chairman of the market association.
The market, hitherto the most peaceable in Lagos State, became enmeshed in crisis when among members of the GSM Association, who constitute about 95 per cent of the market population, had differences among themselves.
There is fear that the situation would degenerate and extend to the host Egbeda community unless the Lagos State Marketing Board, traditional rulers and other concerned authorities step in to arrest the situation.
Historically, some Yoruba traders reportedly started the model market about 40 years ago. But due to the relocation challenges being faced by Ikeja GSM village, some Igbo GSM traders were said to have move to Olugbede Model Market for succour and were received with open arms but gradually, the ‘visitors’ were said to have increased in number and dominated every sphere of the market.
Nigeria Pilot Saturday’s findings revealed that Igbos have dominated the leadership of the market christened the GSM Association for 12 years now.
Already, the electoral committee set up to conduct elections has been enmeshed in crisis that led to police intervention, and many fear the situation could further degenerate, if care is not taken.
A visit to the market showed there was apprehension and division among the traders along ethnic lines.
Also, police authorities have advised that the election be put on hold until normalcy returns to the market.
In a chat with some of the traders, they accused their leaders of mismanagement and insensitivity to members’ plight and prayed the government to intervene in the situation.
When contacted the chairman of the electoral body said his office was no longer relevant as the election had been put on hold, “the crisis has gone beyond what we think and the police has intervened. We were asked to suspend the election and put our house in order; as a result, I don’t think I am in the best position to handle any leadership role in the market.”
When the Chairman of the previous government was contacted, he simply said he was not in his best state of mind.
Meanwhile, the Iyaloja of the market Mrs Adebamowo Musili, said the market authorities are leaving no stone unturned to resolve the crisis, “there is no way we will not misunderstand ourselves but it is our duty to resolve it. Both factions belong to us but nobody must be cheated.”
The leader of Egbeda youths, Wahab Okanlawon Ogunji, lamented that the situation if not nipped in the bud could cause breaking down of law and order in the area.
He however said the matter had been taken to the local council development area to no avail.
“We cannot fold our arms and allow things to get out of hands, the traders who are mostly youths have cried to us and we have taken the matter to the LCDA but it is so painful that the Igbos are taking laws into their hands without fear nor favour.”

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