After four years of legal battle, the Supreme Court, in Abuja has declared Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, as the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
The Court, in a unanimous judgment, struck out the appeal of Chief Lawson Obasi.
It also awarded the cost of N2 million against Obasi to be paid to Okoronkwo. IPMAN members have however hailed the decision of the apex court, saying it remained a welcome development.
The Supreme Court’s judgement is contained in the ruling made available to Daily Sun in Lagos yesterday.
For four years, IPMAN had been engulfed in a messy leadership tussle, which tore the association apart through series of litigations that saw Okoronkwo winning at the High and Appeal Courts, with the latest Supreme Court ruling affirming him as the substantive IPMAN National President.
Reacting to the ruling, National Secretary of IPMAN, Alhaji Passali, stated that the latest court declaration would address the issues of misconduct and mismanagement, which they say is currently plaguing the association.
‘‘With Supreme Court’s declaration of Okoronkwo as the authentic IPMAN boss, Pasali said the interest of all members of the association would be a top priority to him, adding that the judgment remained a welcome development for all oil and gas stakeholders
The judgment will enable us maintain the serenity we have enjoyed in the past, especially as it relates to the distribution and sale of petroleum products in all nooks and crannies of the country.
Now that Okoronkwo is on IPMAN’s driver seat, members will get their allocation as and when due,’’Pasali assured.
He assured that NEC has reached an agreement with oil marketers, especially the leadership of the Depots and Petroleum Products Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) for better synergy in meeting product availability and demand across the country.
He further assured that with the huge retail network coverage of IPMAN members which accounts for 80 percent of retails outlets, Nigerians can be rest assured of a hitch free supply of petroleum products during and after the yuletide. He was worried that the four years leadership setback for the association has led to loss of trillions of naira, a situation that has forced many member businesses to collapse due to absence of representation at the highest level of Government which involves; the NNPC,PPPRA, PEF, PPMC and other stakeholders in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.