After four years of legal battle, the Supreme Court, in Abuja, last Friday, 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. Members of IPMAN have, however, hailed the decision of the apex Court, saying it remained a welcome development.
The Supreme Court’s commendation was contained in a statement issued by the association’s National Secretary, Alhaji Danladi Passali, after its National Executive Council (NEC).
Alhaji Passali, in the statement issued after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, stated that latest Court declaration would address the issues of misconduct and mismanagement, which they say, is currently plaguing the association.
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 being the Supreme Court ruling affirming him as the substantive IPMAN National President.
With Okoronkwo’s declaration, Pasali said the interest of all members of the association would be a top priority of the President, 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 the IPMAN association’s driver seat, members will get their allocation 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 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 have collapsed 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.
Okorokwo added the setback it has experienced over the last five years have become history as IPMAN will henceforth be represented in all statutory board of the Federal government agencies to protect her members interest.
The President lauded the association’s sister unions which include; 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 named sister associations and unions to move Nigeria forward so that all investors and the Federal government will get adequate return on their investments.
Members of IPMAN NEC recognised by the Supreme Court judgment are; Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, National President, Alhaji Abubakar Maigani Shettima, Vice President, Aihaji 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.