By G9ija

Ahead of the the 2023 general polls, an amalgamation of Igbo traders in Lagos under the aegis of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association, has unanimously endorsed the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for second term in office.

The Igbo group, consisting of over 50 major markets across the state, declared their support on Thursday, during their 2022″ All Market Conference,” held in Amuwo Odofin area of the state.

Sanwo-Olu, described the endorsement as a mark of general acceptance of his administration’s efforts to deliver ‘Greater Lagos’ and strengthen the culture of good governance for which the State is reputed.

The support, he said, comes with an assurance of more development programmes to be expected from his administration.

The Governor promised not to take the Ndigbo’s support for granted, while re-assuring them of the State Government’s continued collaboration to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.

Sanwo-Olu said Igbo traders remained prominent players in the economic growth of the State, noting that Lagos’ development narrative would not be complete without the mention of entrepreneurial spirit of the Igbo.

He said: “This is another moment for our Government to recognise our Ndigbo brothers and sisters for their commitment to the growth and development of Lagos. Certainly, Ndigbo traders have been part of the good story of Lagos; your entrepreneurial spirit is second to none and the Igbo enterprising spirit has become a case study in Harvard, which is the biggest business school in the world.

“Contribution to the livelihood of your host communities have been acknowledged and in Lagos, we have created together an economy that has continued to grow and position our nation as the biggest economy in Africa. Trading is a veritable link between producers and consumers, which is the area the Ndigbo traders have tirelessly worked to define the growth trajectory of our dear State. I’m happy that our modest interventions for more growth in this area are visible and being recognised.”

Sanwo-Olu pledged that his administration would continue to protect the business interests of the Igbo people, while promising to make the State habitable for non-indigenes that abide by the laws of the State.

He said: “We have to come to the understanding that we all have different roles to play in keeping Lagos safe for business and living.

“We are all important stakeholders in Lagos project, whether it is Government, traders and private sector individual. We must continue to foster peace and harmony through an avenue like this conference, using the interaction to make Lagos better for everyone of us.”

President of Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo in Lagos, Chief Solomon Ogbonna, led his chiefs to the event also attended by market leaders and traders from all the 58 Igbo markets in Lagos.

In a passionate address to the Governor, Secretary General of Ndigboamaka traders’ association, Comrade Chinedu Ukatu, said: “Mr. Governor, you have not formally told us whether you are seeking re-election or not, but I want to tell you that all the market leaders seated here today are yearning for a second term for you.

“Anytime you walk, we will walk with you. I have been directed by all market leaders under the auspices of Ndigboamaka Progressive Markets Association in all the 58 dealer markets, to tell you that we have endorsed you for second term to show appreciation for your friendly policy and infrastructure projects initiated to help our businesses.”

Earlier, the entire bishops of the Methodist Church in Nigeria endorsed Sanwo-Olu for a second term in office during the Opening Session of the 39th Bishops’ Council of Methodist Church Nigeria, held at the Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu, Lagos last Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the bishops, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, said Governor Sanwo-Olu deserved a second term having distinguished himself among his peers in government as one of the best in governance.

“You (Governor Sanwo-Olu) are among the best in governance we currently have in Nigeria. For this reason, I urge that you be allowed to go for a second term in office so as to complete the enviable projects that you started and others that are in the pipeline. All the bishops in Lagos will mobilise our members, our votes must go to Sanwo-Olu.

“Though, I am not a card-carrying member of any political party neither am I partisan, yet I value people for who they are and not their political affiliation. I believe people like you are the one we should replicate all over the world. The Bishops’ Council will pray for you and other government functionaries so that we continue to have a very progressive and development-oriented Lagos State,” he said.

Prelate Uche, while speaking on the state of the nation, urged the government at the federal level to address issues of hunger, inflation and insecurity, saying no nation can prosper in the midst of the three challenges.