…As he set to bring sanity back to the market
High Chief (Dr) John Ezeako (Ozor Ojiji Eri ji na Eke) is one of the aspirants jostling for the position of President of Balogun Business Association/International Centre for Commerce (BBA/ICC) in the forthcoming election in the business Complex. He has served the Association for two consecutive terms as Treasurer hence he believes that he is eminently qualified to serve as the President of the Business Association. Ezeako in this Excusive chat with CYRIACUS NNAJI, SMART OMON and CHIOMA UDEFUNA in his office at BBA on Thursday said his selling points are experience, consistency, integrity, accountability, transparency, credibility and competence, the report.
Election into the Central Executive body of BBA/ICC by all standards is a great event in the annals of one of the biggest markets in Nigeria, nay, Africa, it is comparable only to the American Election, because the best candidates are expected to emerge and occupy the exulted positions especially that of the Association’s President.
However the uniqueness of this year’s election is hinged on the declaration to vie for the position of the President of BBA by one man generally acclaimed to be a man of integrity and honour.
The name High Chief (Dr) John Ezeako (Ozor Ojiji Eri ji na Eke) rings bell in the ears of members of the business community and has also unsettled his opponents’ camps ultimately for the good and betterment of BBA.
Ezeako who is variously known as Enyikeuzor 1 and Ijele 1 of Eke Kingdom is the current Treasurer of BBA serving his two tenures from 2014 till date. He is a businessman and also a manufacturer. High Chief Ezeako is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of U.J. Amez Ventures Limited.
Introducing himself to The AUTHORITY crew he said “I am a dealer, a distributor and a producer of wines, bitters and beverages. I am also a member of association of producers of wines and beverages in BBA. I was the first person that brought and distributed ALOMO BITTERS in Nigeria from Ghana in the year 2007.”
Speaking on what gave him the conviction to vie for the position of BBA President, he said having served the Association for two consecutive tenures as Treasurer; he said he has the experience to take BBA to another level. “This year I will have served the association as Treasurer for two tenures, one under Pele, and now under Tony Bell, so I believe I have gathered lots of experience from the leaderships, I will make a good President. Again my chance depends on the people of BBA, although BBA knows what they want despite money politics that is trending in the Union now. Some of them are collecting peanuts against their conscience. And for those that I have come in contact with one on one, they know my antecedents. So I have a better chance,” he said.
Ezeako also spoke on his manifesto which he intends to pursue aggressively once elected to the office as President. He unveiled what his first 90 days in office will look like “First and foremost, we have come to BBA to trade, and if you look at the situation of the roads and parking lots, it’s deteriorating. First 90 days in the office, Ojiji will create conducive environment for people and their goods. I will bring sanity to the movement of cars and goods within the Complex. Beyond that I will empower BBA members through a renowned Micro Finance institution by lending soft loans to BBA members.”
Speaking further, Ezeako maintained that if elected, his government will use BBA’s low utility bills to put good governance in BBA without erecting any emergency iron lockup shop called attachment Shop, adding that most important and dear to his heart is his intention to talk to Shop Owners to subsidise the prices of shops so that those outside can park in.
Again he said “I will also ensure that no packing stores should be downstairs. We will try to make all Clusters busy like Lagos Island that even the people upstairs will be busy selling. If you look well, you will see that some Clusters are like Cemetery, which is like wasted efforts but I will try my best to change the mode, so that people will be happy coming to the market.
“Also Truck pushers inside the complex will be minimized to certain norms with Identity Card and uniform because for now they are more than the people selling in the Complex and any little mistake, being brutal, they engage in a fight.
“I will really try my best to turn BBA/ICC to what it is supposed to be, the biggest market in Africa, not even Nigeria,” Ezeako reiterated.
Ezeako was also instrumental to the introduction of Peace Corps to the market and which has helped in no small measure to keep BBA safe. ‘If you look around the Complex you will see some uniform men working in BBA, I brought them, it’s my initiative. As the Patron of the Peace Corps of Nigeria Lagos Command, I used my connection to bring the Peace Cops men to work with BBA in this Covd-19 situation. And I believe that if I become the President, BBA will work again. I will stop multiple-taxation by government agencies.”
With smelling and dirty drainages, lack of attention to rule of law, impunity and others, a lot needed to be done to remedy the wrongs in BBA, there is however hope as Ozor Ojiji has made himself available, to serve the people in order to bring sanity back to the business community.
On the issue of miscreants collecting money from people around the market, Ezeako maintained that those issues are part of the nuisance which he must stop once he is voted into power. “Those things will stop as soon as I am elected as president; that is part of what I meant when I said I will bring sanity back to BBA/ICC.”
On whether he sees the election as a do or die affair, he responded saying “It is not a do or die affair for me, I have my business, I volunteered myself to serve the people, because there is a lot of suffering in Balogun. On the other hand, if it is not the will of God, I will simply go back to my business.”
Ojiji also spoke on his willingness to integrate his opponents in the election into his executive body so as to tap from some of their good ideas for the running of BBA. “In fact it is my intention to also carry my opponents along once I am elected President, so that we can input their own good ideas into the running of the market.”
With the promise of experience, consistency, integrity, accountability, transparency, credibility and competence, Ezeako is good to go. Tested and trusted, having served Balogun Market Association for two consecutive tenures as Treasurer, many call him a game changer, adding that giving Ezeako opportunity to serve BBA will be the brightest decision BBA can make to better the lives of the business community.
Ezeako, according to many is not only educated, he has the character, outspoken, real and has the interest of all to restore the glory of BBA/ICC. Many also call him the servant leader who has heard the yearnings of the business community, adding that with Ojiji who is passionate about the well being and development of BBA/ICC, it is hoped the community will soon be a true World Trade Centre.
According to Ozor John Ezeako, while soliciting for vote said he is accessible “I am accessible and I have always given listening ears and attention to everyone’s issues as well as giving the much needed assistance to matters that concern anyone that comes my way anytime, anywhere by God’s grace, based on the information, resources and contacts I have.”
He also said he has prudently managed the resources of the BBA/ICC as Treasurer for two consecutive terms “I have served and managed our resources as BBA/ICC Treasurer for two consecutive terms without any form of negative report. I am transparent. Trust me again with your vote, to serve you better,” Ezeako urged.
Speaking on the secret of his business success, Ezeako disclosed that it is openness, hard work and defense of the vulnerable in society “The secret of my success is openness, hard work and defense of the vulnerable, being there for the less privileged, being accessible to the people that gave you their trust and their mandate. Then lastly in the business and other things, truth is a major key of every business, truth is life, saying that the truth at any situation means much even if it will cost you your business.”
He said he is a pioneer member of BBA by allocation of shops. “When they were contributing money to build shops, I contributed and this made me to have shops at Kaduna 1, Kaduna 2 and Kaduna 3. But then I was trading at Lawanson, Surulere. Although when BBA finally relocated to Trade Fair in 2002, I was overseas for a short period of time, bringing products to my workers to sell and supply in BBA Complex. As I came back from abroad, I joined BBA fully in 2006 till today.
On his advice to members of Balogun Business community he said, “My advice to the good people of BBA/ICC concerning the coming central election is that they should vote wisely for the person who cares for them, who loves them without segregation. They should vote for the person who sees any member of BBA as his own brother, and that person is High Chief (Dr) John Ezeako (Ojiji eriji.) This is because I care for BBA. I love BBA, their problem is my problem, their success is my success, their BBA our BBA.”