Negative reactions trail character assassination press release made by Tagbo Osita Nnamani, factional chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria IPMAN Enugu chapter.
In a statement made available to newsmen, the factional chairman accused Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Enugu state governor of “executive recklessness”.
Nnamani condemned and faulted the recent indefinite suspension of IPMAN’s operations in the state by governor Ugwuanyi. According to Nnamani, ” Ugwuanyi has no such powers.
In another twist, another faction of the association ably led by Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, Odogwu Amodu has commended the governor’s action and as well, exonerated him of any wrong doing. He opined the governor’s action was on track.
Nwankwo said “as the Chief Security Officer of the State, the primary duty of securing lives and maintaining peace in his state through whatever legal means he deems fit and necessary rests with him. He therefore commended the governor’s efforts at curtailing the unruly activities of some of elements of IPMAN that refused to abide by the rule of law.
In a telephone chat, Nwankwo said “I am the duly elected chairman of IPMAN Enugu Depot Unit, and all was well till the recent emergence of the Tagbo Nnamani led faction”.
The press statement reads:
1. The attention of the Chairman, IPMAN Enugu Depot Unit, Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, Odogwu Amodu has been drawn to a news report calling the suspension of activities of IPMAN, Enugu by the State Governor, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, executive recklessness.
2. The peace loving Governor remains the Chief Security Officer of the State. When some elements refuse to abide by the rule of law through activities which portend to put the lives and properties of the citizens of the state at risk, the Governor has the right to intervene to maintain peace and order.
3. It could be recalled that it was the same activities of these elements that led the Governor to intervene and closed the office of the association at Emene, Enugu and called for a presentation of our position to be studied by the Attorney General of the State.
4. The Enugu State House of Assembly Committee on Petroleum led by Hon. Obinna Okenwa equally came into the matter on invitation of these elements and he promptly requested for the then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Advice on who is supposed to occupy the seat of the Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot.
5. The then Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice released his report after a thorough investigation affirming my executive as the rightful persons to remain in office and serve out my tenure having been duly elected into office in August, 2016 for 3-year tenure in line with the 1997 IPMAN Constitution.
6. The Supreme Court judgment of 14th December, 2018 (APPEAL NO.SC/15/2018) being relied upon by these elements to claim the position of officers of the association at Enugu Depot has no order whatsoever expressly written on it to be executed at Enugu Depot. Moreover, there was nowhere in the Supreme Judgment where the court declared Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo as the National President of IPMAN.
7. The Supreme court only brought to an end, the tenure of the then IPMAN National President, Chief Obasi Lawson relying on the same 1997 IPMAN Constitution which was pronounced as the Constitution of IPMAN in the judgment delivered by Hon. Justice Akanbi on 20th March, 2014 at Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division (Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/12/2014: AUSCO OIL LTD AND OTHERS VS. REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF IPMAN AND OTHERS). No superior court has set aside that judgment of Federal High Court, Port Harcourt Division till date. The cost of N2m awarded against Chief Obasi was because he overstayed his tenure having come into office in March, 2014 and would have handed over in March, 2017 but stayed till December 14, 2018 when the Supreme Court judgment was delivered.
8. The IPMAN 1997 Constitution has a provision in Article IV for automatic transmission of power from the President to the Deputy President when the President’s tenure expires. So, the then President in obedience to the Supreme Court judgment handed over power to his then Deputy President, Alhaji (Engr.) Sanusi Fari, who was duly elected in the IPMAN AGM of 2104.
9. Because of the disagreement and misrepresentation of the judgment of the Supreme Court and constant attack on the offices of IPMAN, Eastern Zone of which IPMAN Enugu Unit is part of, the Eastern Zone instituted a case at the Federal High Court, Calabar Division in suit no. FHC/CA/3/2019 for interpretation of the Supreme court judgment of 2018. Judgment was delivered by Honourable Justice S. A. Amobeda on 21st February, 2019 reaffirming the 1997 IPMAN Constitution and pronouncing the then elected Deputy President as the National President of IPMAN.
10. Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo and his group whom these elements are claiming to be deriving their power from at IPMAN Enugu Unit challenged the judgment asking the court to set it aside. On 27th May, 2019, the court refused their request. They went further to ask the court again to stay execution of the judgment, the court refused their application on the 19th June, 2019. The court in its ruling this time amongst other pronouncements ordered:-
“That the Commissioners of Police and of all the thirty six (36) States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria be and are hereby ordered to obey, implement and execute the judgment of this Court delivered on 21st February, 2019 in all NNPC/PPMC Depots throughout the Federation where the Defendant (IPMAN) carries on its operations.”
11. Therefore, there is nothing more to add other than to thank His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for his wisdom in calling off the excesses of these elements who want to grab power at all cost. We call on these elements to exercise patience and present themselves to IPMAN members during the forthcoming elections if they truly feel they have the interest of members at heart.
12. Our executive is of the believe that the Enugu State Governor will in due course surely do the right thing, implement the report of the Enugu State Attorney General and obey the judgment of the court in line with the rule of law.
13. We call on the citizenry to go about their normal business and reassure them of constant distribution of petroleum products within our area of operations covering Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra States including parts of Imo, Abia, Kogi and Benue States.
Thank you and God Bless
FOR: IPMAN ENUGU
Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo
Chairman, IPMAN Enugu Unit.