By Phil Okose, Onitsha
Aggrieved tricycle (Keke-na-pep) commercial operators in Omaba phase 11, Onitsha North local government area, Anambra state, yesterday, took to the major roads, protesting alleged sack of operators from their park by the state Commissioner for Transport, Hon Afam Mbanefo.
The protesters, led by their woman leader and coordinator of tricycle operators in Onitsha North local government area, Mrs Obiamaka Okolonji, (a.k.a. Ajia Nnukwu Nwanyi), accused the Commissioner of imposing one Ugbana on them to substitute the woman leader who was the founder of the keke union in the area.
Briefing newsmen during the protest, the woman leader said, “Governor Willie Obiano knows I am here as the coordinator and founder of the keke union. My own Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Agbogidi, knows the daughter of Edingh bus, Mrs Obiamaka Okolonji, Ajia Nnukwu Nwanyi, is here.
“I have operated this union here for the past six years, and if the commissioner wants to impose somebody on us, he should have our terms, there should be agreement.
“The commissioner is not a member of keke union; if he wants somebody to be here, we should give the person our terms. The Ugbana he wants to impose on us refused our terms completely, because, I am a woman.”
Some of the protesting members carried placards with the inscription: “No more pack, Commissioner leave our woman leader alone, Gov Obiano come to our rescue, enough of this imposition, we are behind Ajia Nnukwu Nwanyi, there should be terms in taking over our park,” among others.
In his own reaction, the vice chairman of the keke operators, Mr Anthony Ogalonye, said, “The cause of the problem is that Ugbana, who is brought in by the commissioner refused completely any terms with the woman leader, who has been here for about six years, and we said no.”
Contacted on phone, the Commissioner denied the allegations, saying: “We want to decongest the roads. There is a park there; they should get into the park. You can meet with the keke people to tell you what I told them, decongesting the roads for easy flow of traffic,” he affirmed.