Market women in Edo State have vowed never to allow a return of touts and non-state actors to markets to harass and terrorise them in the guise of collecting government revenue, pledging to resist the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who has been seen to be associating with such characters.
A cross-section of the women, who spoke to journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital, said they have observed the campaign programmes of the two main contenders for the governorship poll and have decided to pitch tent with the candidate that would protect them against oppressors and their enablers.
Mrs. Mercy Igbinovia, who trades in Oba Market, said the most important achievement of the Governor Obaseki-led administration for her and fellow traders is the disbandment of war-lords in markets.
According to her, “I am saying this from the depth of my heart and I speak for market traders in the state: Governor Obaseki is a blessing to traders in the state. Gone are the days we were harassed and kicked around by touts because they wanted to meet targets set for them by agents of government.
On his part, Mr. Emmanuel Omozuwa, a trader in Mission Road, said the state government’s insistence on digital payment of revenue is a masterstroke that has liberated the people from the shackles of touts in markets.
He added: “As traders, we are very much aware that the APC candidate, Ize-Iyamu, is being backed by Agberos (thugs). We have seen videos of Tony ‘Kabaka’ Adun, saying that they are going to come out as tigers and lions to defend votes. We understand the meaning of that message and we are not ready to allow a return of such a person to oppress us as traders.”