By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY—FRESH fuel crisis is looming in Edo and Delta states as Benin Depot of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, is in fresh crisis over the authentic leadership of the association which is threatening loading of petroleum products by IPMAN members from the zone in Warri, Delta State.
The chairman, caretaker committee of the association, Douglas Iyike told journalists in Benin City yesterday that one Johnbull Asemota is acting as an usurper claiming to be the chairman of IPMAN in the zone and using members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, an arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural gas Workers, NUPENG, to deprive IPMAN members from loading products from the Warri depot.
He alleged that his action is at variance with a valid Court of Appeal ruling which confirmed Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo as the authentic National President of IPMAN and not Chinedu Obasi under whose leadership he said Asemota is claiming to be the chairman of the association in the zone.
He also accused the Department of State Security of bias when they intervened on the crisis.
“IPMAN is now one under the leadership of Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo who is the national president and have been affirmed by the Appeal Court. We here in Benin are the caretaker committee in IPMAN Benin depot. It is sequel to the 2009 amended constitution of IPMAN to hold the affairs of IPMAN pending when an election will be conducted but having made this known to the DSS, we were surprised that the DSS took a position on their own saying JB Asemota who did not contest an election conducted by the NEC of the association is now saying that he is the authentic chairman having conducted election under a factional president of IPMAN before the judgment of the Appeal court, one Obasi Lawson and now that the Appeal Court has given judgment in favour of Okoronwo, Obasi Lawson is no longer president of IPMAN.
“PTD should desist from IPMAN, IPMAN and PTD are not the same, they are our workers. Asemota as a former member of the PTD is using his union to cause ripples in our association by using them to stop loading in Warri. Anything PTD we don’t interfere so they should not interfere.”
But when contacted on phone yesterday, Asemota denied the allegations, saying he remained the authentic chairman of IPMAN in the zone.
He said: “Go to the DSS, the matter has been resolved by the Edo State government yesterday they will give you the details of what happened, I am the chairman so you will get your full details, it has been investigated by Edo State government and they have given their verdict so I don’t have anything more to say.”