He said the ban had become necessary because politicians had hijacked the exercise.
He said “What we see now is extortion and conversion of prayer sessions to political rallies.
“This move became necessary because we have discovered that some overzealous ones abuse this practice by extorting market men and women regularly of their hard-earned resources.
Ekwegbalu frowned at the situation where police or government officials would be involved in matters concerning traders, whereas such issues could best be resolved by the market leader.
He urged traders to seek redress through the appropriate processes when there were disagreements.
The ASMATA boss condemned revenue racketeering, urging leaders of market unions to remit revenue generated from their respective markets to the state government coffers.
He added “We call on traders vying for elective positions to follow due processes in their campaigns in accordance with the constitution of the market and not engage in any activity capable of threatening the credibility of the election.
“We are looking forward to a peaceful, credible and a transparent election this time around.”