An official of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Chinedu Okoronkwo, has justified his claim as the union’s authentic national president.
He said this while speaking with journalists in Abuja, where he stated that, ”a well-conducted election” by the association on May 10, 2014, affirmed him as national president.
Controversy arose when three IPMAN officials introduced themselves as national presidents at the public hearing on fuel scarcity a few days ago at the National Assembly.
Obasi Lawson introduced himself first, followed by Sanusi Fari and then Mr. Okoronkwo.
“I am Okoronko Chinedu, elected IPMAN Chairman and have been affirmed by the Appeal Court just two week ago,” Mr. Okoronkwo said much to the surprise of the audience.
IPMAN’s national secretary, Danladi Passali, earlier said that the Appeal Court re-affirmed the judgment of the Federal High Court, Federal Capital Territory, in the suit No FCT/HC/CV/1479/2016 and that the lower court in its judgment delivered on May 28, 2014, upheld the election of IPMAN National Executive committee, conducted on May 10, 2014.
While explaining to journalists, Mr. Okoronkwo stressed that past executives of the association have refused to honour the court’s judgment affirming his position.
Mr. Fari did not respond to calls and text messages by the reporter. Mr. Obasi’s numbers were not reachable as at the time of filing report.
Mr. Okoronkwo explained why he is the authentic leader of the association.
“I was elected national president after the election on the 10th of May 2014 and prior to that period, when the outgoing administration was to leave power by May 2014, one Obasi went to court without any cause of action that he should be declared president of the association, for no reason. It happened that the judgement was delivered but the judge said he should be the president of the first defendant (board of trustees of the association).
“The same day, the BoT filed an appeal and pending the determination of that case, he was not supposed to do anything. What he did was to bring in thugs from Port Harcourt and Abuja to burgle IPMAN’s office and beat people up and down.
“The tenure of that administration ended and this election that brought me in was called; meaning by a fusion of time, he has nothing again to do. After the election, we decided to take legal steps asking him not to disturb us. Giving the fact that the tenure of Aminu Abdulkair (former president) had expired, the court ruled that our election was in order and he was asked not to disturb us.
“He was not happy with the ruling so he went to appeal court. On the 7th, the appeal court affirmed that our election was in order. I was surprised to see him yesterday (public hearing) in total disregard for an appellate court’s decision,” he said.
Mr. Okoronkwo said he was invited to the public hearing. “I don’t know if the other two were invited there,” he adds.
He also commented on the recent fuel crisis that rocked parts of the country and the way forward.
“Refining this crude locally is the best answer. They (government) are working on ways to improve the system so that more things will be done locally and Nigeria must appreciate the fact that the crude is going up and we are ‘gaining dollar’ right now. The increase in the crude price also affected the importation.
“At this time, I don’t support an increase in the price of fuel. Any increase right now will have a negative resultant effect on the economy. The N145 is non-negotiable.”