Enugu’s Trade Fair of Regret

The 2019 Trade Fair in Enugu ends with sadness and lamentations of regret for participants from many parts of Nigeria.

By Victor Ugborgu

Moji Adekunle, a textile dealer arrived the 30th Enugu International Trade Fair on April 5, 2019, with high expectation. She hoped toexhibit her wears as well as make some money as was in the past. Her lamentations are a bad testimony about the way and manner the 2019 trade fair was organized by the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, ECCIMA.

Adekunle told Verbatim that asat the close of the trade fair on April 17,there was not much to show for her effort, having left Abeokuta, Ogunstate for the event. “I paid N30, 000 for this small space hoping tomake at least little profit. But look at me going back to Ogun state  empty handed. I blame the organizers for the low patronage”, shelamented.

Adekunle was not the only participant at the trade fair that went homeempty handed. Some artisans resident in Enugu State also expresseddisappointment over the low patronage at the 30th Enugu InternationalTrade Fair in the state.Other exhibitors were also disappointed by the turn of event. Theydescribed the trade fair as the `worst’ so far in terms ofparticipation.

Verbatim gathered that the issue of poor state of facilities in the fair as well as bad administration was a cause for low participation in the fair. More than 50 companies from within and outside Nigeria were expectedto participate in the 30th edition of Enugu International Trade Fair.

Pharmacist Emeka Udeze,  President of ECCIMA  even boasted that countries like  China,India, South Africa, Cameroon, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam showedcommitment towards participating in the fair whose  theme was  ‘Promotingand Enhancing Value Addition in the Oil and Non-Oil Sectors of theEconomy forRobust Economic Growth and Development’. The ECCIMA president furthersaid that companies such as the Nigerian National PetroleumCorporation (NNPC), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), FederalAviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Deposit InsuranceCompany (NDIC), and many others indicated interest in the fair.

 He said unlike in the previous fairs, participants in the 30thedition could do their registration online, without necessarilyvisiting the ECCIMA office in Enugu. “Over 50 companieshave made strong commitments. We’re going to have an improvedinternational trade fair this year,” he said.

But only a few of the companies mentioned including ANNAMCO showed animpressive outing.The management of ECCIMA even had cause to extend the  Fair by two days.The fair was earlier billed to last 10 days from April 5- 15 but wasshifted to end on April 17, 2019.

Udeze announced the extension when the fair was declared open by the Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Cecilia Ezilo on behalf of the governor. Udeze said th eextension was necessitated by the fact that it clashed with that ofKaduna International Trade Fair that had been on-going  and was to  end Sunday April 7, 2019. Despite the extension, the trade fair turned out  to be a flop.

The Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture(ECCIMA) was established in 1963 for the promotion and protection ofCommerce and Industry, and to represent and express the opinion of thebusiness community on questions affecting Commerce, Industry, Minesand Agriculture firstly in Enugu, the then Eastern Nigeria (its maincatchments area), and where applicable, the whole Federation.

Thus at inception, ECCIMA  covered areas now served by such very well know chambers as Port Harcourt, Uyo, Calabar, Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Onitsha Nnewi, Awka and, of course Enugu Chamber of Commerce.

Udeze emerged as the new president ECCIMA in January 2018in an election conducted at the Annual General Meeting of ECCIMA. He succeeded Rev. Ugo Chime who had spent the mandatory two yeartenure as provided in the chamber’s   bye-law.

Emeka Nwanduand  Chijioke Mbagwu emerged as the 1st and2ndDeputy Presidents respectively. Jasper Onyeka, Nonye Osakwe, Emma Nwankpa and Jasper Odega emerged Vice Presidents for various arms of the chamber. The newexecutive was inaugurated on Feb. 17, 2018.

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