Port Harcourt City Local Government, Rivers State, has called for restraint and peace, in the ensuing legal tussle between two factions at the Rumuoji, Mile 1, Market.
Making the call, at the weekend, the Mayor of Port Harcourt City Council, Hon Samuel Soni Ejekwu, disclosed that, the leadership tussle was between the factions led by the outgone chairman, one Chief Georgewill and the other led by the immediate past chairman. Deacon Kenneth Eze.
“The market belongs to the Local Government, and the proper thing for the former chairman to have done, was to come and report to us, that we might resolve the issue for them‎,” he observed.
“The court case was there before we came to office., for that, we set up a Care Taker Committee, CTC, to oversee the activities of the market, rather than conducting a fresh election.‎”
On the issue of the court ruling, restoring the former chairman, Deacon Kenneth Eze to office pending the determination of the substantive case, Hon Ejekwu, explained, he was not aware of it, but further disclosed, the legal department of the council had sued for stay of execution, to enable it study the details of the court verdict.
In view of the stay of execution by the‎ council, the Mayor further explained, “based on the ‘ stay of execution suit’ the out gone Rumuoji Mile 1 market chairman, Deacon Eze, does not qualify to begin to lay claims to the chairmanship office, until appeal process is over”.
Besides, he ought to have come to see me and brief the council on the development. I’m still looking forward to seeing him, with his team. We need peace in the market and will achieve it, because, we have the capacity to do so,” he vouched.
The Market Superintendent, Mrs Blessing Mbakpone, confirming that the issue was already in the court said, as a civil servant, she would not comment on it. Chairman of the Council Management Committee, Kinika Umunnakwe also affirmed it.
The embattled Rumuoji Mile 1 Market Association, MOMTA chairman, Deacon Kenneth Eze, alleged that, the Council Management Committee, the arm of the LGA was violating court order by persistently locking him out of office.
“As I talk with you now, my personal belongings, like my bank cheque book is locked up therein by the council. They used thugs to intimidate ‎and chase me out of office.
The council also incites members of the market against us, by appointing to offices, some immediate past executives, even as we make efforts to reconcile everybody,” he regretted.
“We are surprised that, the government, which all of us worked hard to enthrone, established and substantiated through the instrumentality of the law could be so ridiculed by the LGA.”
Urging the LGA to respect the rule of law, by allowing to stay in the office, Deacon Eze criticised in its entirety, what he described as impunity, being perpetrated on leadership by the council, even the nation was not under military regime.
Assuring commitment to peace and unity of the members, he pledged to work harmoniously with the council, at the resolution of the em-passe, and appealed to all members for continued support.
It will be recalled that, past ‎chairman of the market, one Chief Georgewill , removed from office about four years ago over alleged corruption and high handedness, dragged the association to court, while Deacon Eze was the chairman.
On the expiration of his tenure, he relinquished his office, but the court in its wisdom, insisted that the former’ s tenure subsists till the outcome of the case.

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