A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

IPMAN leadership tussle: Supreme Court declares Okoronkwo as National President

*Supreme Court of Nigeria.

*Awards N2milion fine against Lawson Obasi
*As IPMAN commends judgment

OpeOluwani Akintayo

16 December 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The Supreme Court has declared Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo as the national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.

The apex court’s judgment was delivered on December 14 in Abuja, putting to rest a leadership tussle that lasted for over four years.

In a unanimous judgment, Court struck out the appeal of Chief Lawson Obasi in the suit, and also fined him the sum of two million, to be paid to Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo.

In a statement on Sunday issued by their National Secretary, Alhaji Danladi Passali, after the National Executive Meeting, NEC, members of IPMAN commanded the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Passali stated that the new development would address the issues of misconduct and mismanagement, which they say, is currently rocking the association.

According to him, Okoronkwo remains the substantive national president of IPMAN based on the Supreme Court judgment, adding that the interest of all members of the association will be a top priority of the president.

The scribe said the judgment was a welcome development to IPMAN members, and the oil and gas industry nationwide.

“The judgment will enable us to maintain the serenity we normally enjoyed in the distribution and dispensing of petroleum products to Nigerians in all nooks and crannies of the country.

“Now that Okoronkwo is on the IPMAN association’s driver seat, members will get their allocation accordingly.

“The NEC has reached an agreement with oil marketers for better synergy in meeting product availability in the country since DAPPMA has better strength in storage.

“And IPMAN, which controlled 80 percent outlets, has the better trend in distribution and dispensing in both urban and hinterland in the country,’’ Passali said.

Similarly, Okoronkwo at the world press conference held at the weekend said that the Supreme Court ruling of December 14, 2018, is a reaffirmation of the Judiciary role of settling the dispute without going to war or shedding innocent souls blood carelessly.

According to him, I salute the Judiciary on this note. This judgment is the first of its kind in pursuing IPMAN dispute up to the Supreme Court in Nigeria.

“I welcome everybody to today’s world press conference which is historical in the anal of IPMAN since 1978 when IPMAN was established by military decree.

“It is not news that IPMAN was embroiled with leadership legal tussle Since January 20th, 2014 which has ended with Supreme Court Judgement affirming Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo as National President of IPMAN.

“Let me make it abundantly clear that the Supreme Court ruling of today has brought to an end all IPMAN legal matters.

“IPMAN, as a family has become stronger with a direction and solid foundation. The founding board of trustees members of IPMAN as registered with Corporate Affairs Commission in 1983 constitution has all passed away and one day, we at the leadership of IPMAN today will also bequeath IPMAN to our children yet unborn.

“That is the more reason we should drop our personal interest for better IPMAN and a virile association that will challenge the future threats to our businesses,’’ he said

The IPMAN helmsman said: “We have lost trillions of naira globally in our businesses while many of our members have lost their lives in the last five years because of lack of leadership in IPMAN to coordinate our business within the government circle, NNPC/PPMC, PEF, PPPRA and other stakeholders in the downstream sector.

He said IPMAN is not represented when major policy decisions are being taken to move our businesses forward.

Okoronkwo added the setback we have experienced for the last 5 years in IPMAN members businesses has become history today as IPMAN will henceforth be represented in all statutory board of Federal government agencies to protect her members’ interest.

“However, I will be eternally grateful our National Leader of IPMAN, Board of Trustees of IPMAN members who stood by us in our trying period.

“I promise to run a government where all IPMAN members nationwide will look at their shoulders and be proud of being a member of our great association.

“To our IPMAN members, the National, Zonal and the 21 NNPC/PPMC depots in Nigeria, I salute you all for standing firmly under serious economic challenges confronting our businesses, our families and uncountable losses we have suffered directly or indirectly in our trying period.

“Never in our lives will such ugly avoidable occurrences befall us again as we are now more mature. All members will get there right and benefit from all quarters with fairness and equity,’’ Okoronkwo added.

He assured that IPMAN leadership will promote and protect the overall interest of member companies of the association and individual ventures as a body.

He said the association would ensure strict adherence by members of the association to the rules and ethics of the trade as stipulated by the Federal government authorities responsible for the oil industry in Nigeria and in accordance with regulations of the association.

The president lauded the association’s sister unions such as Nigeria union of petroleum and National Gas workers, NUPENG, Nigeria Association of Road Transport owners, NARTO, Petrol Tanker Drivers association of NUPENG, PTD, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Depot and Petroleum products marketers Association, DAPPMA, and Petroleum and natural gas senior staff association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN for their supports.

He assured that IPMAN will work as a team with the above name sister associations and unions to move Nigeria forward so that all investors and the Federal government will get an adequate return on their investments.

“The leadership of IPMAN hereby reiterates once again that the tripartite group of NARTO, IPMAN, and PTD is alive. IPMAN which has been playing a docile role in the past five years because of our unresolved Internal crisis is ready to come back to the tripartite fold and it is our hope that we will be welcome back to the house we built together at the birth of tripartite group.

He commended the President, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who also is the Minister of Petroleum Resources for supporting to bail out members from five years suffering, adding that it will go into Guinness book of record.

According to him, Dr. Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, GMD of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and his management team deserve medals for their understanding, tolerance during our trying period.

“Our survival rested on your shoulder by allocating petroleum products directly to IPMAN without going through the third party as it is now. Direct allocation to IPMAN member was one of your cardinal objectives when Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru came in as the new Group Managing Director of NNPC which was thwarted because of our internal legal drama.

“We appreciate the management of Petroleum Equalization Fund Management Board (PEF), Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency, (PPPRA), and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) with the hope of Joining the board that IPMAN is a statutory member so as to work together for the interest of my members in IPMAN.

“The Minister of state for petroleum Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has displayed competence in the petroleum sector particularly with is undisputable oratory prowess. We thank you our Minister for your support at all time,’’ he said.

Members of IPMAN NEC recognised by the Supreme Court judgment include Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, National President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigani Shettima, Vice President, Alhaji Danladi Passali, National Secretary, Bola Adeleke, National Treasurer, Chief Leo Nkameme, National Organisation Secretary.

Others are Alhaji Yakubu Ali Dimka, National Auditor, Chief J. D. Ubani (JP), National Financial Secretary, Dr. Hammed Adekunle Fashil, Assistant National Secretary, Alhaji Umar Baba Kano, National Legal Adviser, Chief Ezekwesili Maduagwuna, Chief Whip, Alhaji Yakubu Suleman, National PRO.

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