The scene could be mistaken for a campaign rally at the major chemical market in Anambra’s commercial city of Onitsha when Peter Obi, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, visited the site of the recent market fire on Thursday, November 10, 2022.
Accompanied by Valentine Ozigbo, a 2021 governorship candidate of the state, when he visited the Ogbo-Ogwu Head Bridge, Onitsha, to commiserate with the traders and inspect the extent of the damage, Peter Obi was given a hero’s reception by traders who spontaneously converged at the scene justling for a glimpse of their former governor who is dominating the national and international headlines as he races for Nigeria’s top job.
A massive fire destroyed 80 shops in the Ogbo Ogwu International Market, Bridge Head, which also affected traders from Tools and Allied union, ATDA union and PS union, on Tuesday afternoon following a blast at the Science and Lab Line of Ogbo Ogwu Market. There are no official casualty figures at the time of Obi’s visit.
“I understand your pain. I am a trader like you,” Obi told the traders. “I know how you feel. The passion you put into your business and then to have a fire come in and destroy what you have built for months in a few hours.”
“If I win the election, we will re-organise the public and social services to make public spaces more secure. Emergency services and first responders like the fire service will be reorganised, retrained, and retooled to meet the demands of a 21st-century world and Nigeria’s population.
“Help is on the way,” Obi assured the traders.
Backed by a youth movement called the Obidients, Peter Obi, 62, a multiple-award-winning business leader and celebrated former governor of Anambra State, has taken Nigerians by surprise in his phenomenal rise in the presidential race. Four national polls have placed Obi ahead of his main rivals Atiku Abubakar, 75, of the Peoples Democratic Party and Bola Tinubu, 79, of the All Progressives Congress.