Food vendors at Eagle Square who were hoping to make good sales from the opening ceremony of the All Progressives Congress’ convention on Monday have expressed disappointment at the underwhelming commercial activities.
The eatery owners had anticipated that the three-day presidential primary of the APC would make weary and hungry delegates, supporters and party members flock to their stands but, on the contrary, nearly all the stands were empty. The car park that used to be jam-packed with vehicles also looked deserted.
“Today looks somehow,” Nkechi Amadi, a pensive food vendor, remarked.
“You won’t believe that you are the fifth person that has visited my stand since morning. Yet, they told us we are going to make a lot of money from this APC convention.”
Another caterer, Juliana Ameh, who also voiced her concerns, said the location was never ‘dry’ except when workers embark on a strike.
The situation was further worsened by the absence of civil servants that made up the bulk of their customers. Many of the workers, who often troop in from the Federal Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs directly opposite the food stands, were said to have stayed off work.
“We hope tomorrow will be better because we heard many of our regular customers may stay off work until after the APC presidential primary ends,” Juliana said.
A local guard at the Federal Secretariat said some civil servants returned home after they discovered that the major roads leading to the popular Ahmadu Bello Way and Shehu Shagari road were cordoned.
“Others called in to say they could not withstand the constant harassment that they were subjected to by the security operatives manning the strategic entry and exit points leading to the complex,” the guard said.
Many of the eateries offer local delicacies and are branded with catchy names such as Nwanyi Awka Restaurant, VIP Kitchen, Calabar Hot Spot, Eastern Delicacies, and Chukwudinma Nwanyi Owerri.