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IPMAN crisis: Katsina State youths seek Buhari’s intervention by ’Tunji Ajibade

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari
A youth group has called on President Mohammadu Buhari to intervene in the crisis that has rocked the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) for some time. According to the group, Katsina State Concerned Youths Forum, such intervention was necessary at this time when the president had embarked on steps to reposition the oil sector in the nation in order to ensure that the crisis did not impede the good intentions of the Buhari administration. While addressing the press in Kaduna on Monday, the Secretary General of the Forum, Mallam Sulaiman B. Mohammed, noted that the crisis should have been over with the verdict of a High Court in Port Harcourt that affirmed the leadership of IPMAN under Mr. Obasi Lawson but for the activities of a few misguided people in high places.
According to Mohammed, the court decision was the most sustainable solution to the leadership crisis except for a few people who went about with the intention to ensure that IPMAN did not move forward after the election that produced Lawson. He further appealed to Buhari to move in line with the court decision and grant recognition to the IPMAN leadership under Lawson.
“The Katsina State Concerned Youths Forum appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, as he commits to restore the dignity and rule of law in Nigeria to consider the leadership of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) under the leadership of Mr. Obasi Lawson as lawful and one which has all legal recognition known to law in the country,” Mohammed said.
Speaking further, he pointed out that every evidence in the leadership struggle in IPMAN adequately pointed to the legitimacy of Lawson as the duly elected and legally recognized leader of the body and it was in line with this that his group called on the President to intervene. “The forum calls on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to intervene with a view to finding permanent and sustainable solution since the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has already authenticated Mr. Lawson as the duly elected president of the Association on 20th March, 2014 with certificate of judgment of Suit No FHC/PH/CS/12/2014. We have confirmed that Mr. Obasi Lawson is the real President of IPMAN and he has been so recognized by the Federal High court in Port Harcourt and the Ministry of Labour and Productivity on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The certificate of judgment was presented to Mr. Obasi on 7th May, 2014 by M.U. Esealuka, the deputy Chief Registrar of the court.”
The Forum added that, “Following the submission of the report of the Presidential Committee set up by the Presidency to resolve the leadership crisis in Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), the Minister of Labour and Productivity on behalf of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria has recommended and approved the recognition of Mr. Obasi Lawson as lawful National President of IPMAN in line of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt and all relevant agencies have been directed to work with Mr. Obasi.”
The Forum frowned on a situation whereby citizens who should abide by court judgment had been making utterances that showed their disregard for the rule of law. It went further to condemn individuals and bodies who had been promoting chaos and disregard for the rule of law and the position of the government. Specifically, Mohammed accused Mr. Justine Ezeala, the Executive Director Commercial, PPMC of taking actions that ran contrary to the judgment of Court as well as publicly known presidential directives, noting that some of his comments “contravened Section 4 of public service rules: Code No. 030401.” To Mohammed, Ezeala’s actions and utterances on the IPMAN leadership crisis which were not in line with the directives from higher authorities in the executive arm of government constituted “serious misconduct and improper behavior which are inimical to the image of the service and for which he can be investigated and if proven lead to his dismissal.”
As Mohammed noted, the action of Ezeala in kicking against the judgment of the court and the presidency by recognizing Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo as president of IPMAN “is a clear violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thus, the Forum hereby humbly and respectfully request the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to flush out these kind of government officials from the Federal Government Agencies in order to sanitize the country from lawlessness.” It further described “the continued lawlessness of Mr. Chinedu Okoronkwo as a clear contempt of the court of law” while calling on NNPC, PPMC, DPR and other relevant agencies to shun the verbal statements being made by Ezeala in support of Okoronkwo.
Moreover, the Forum berated a group that went by the name Hope Arewa Development Initiative (HADI) for adding confusion to a matter that had been amicably settled in court and accepted by the government by stating that it passed a vote of confidence on a non-existent Okoronkwo leadership of IPMAN. “We strongly condemn a non-registered group sponsored by some unpatriotic and brainless people called Hope Arewa Development initiative (HADI) which said that it had passed a vote of confidence on Okoronkwo.” As for the man behind the confusion, the Forum alleged that “Okoronkwo now clearly shows that he is fighting with the people of the Northern Region going by the fact that the deputy national president under Lawson’s leadership Engr. Sanusi is from Katsina State.”
Meanwhile, the Forum has warned that the arrangement had been concluded to storm the NNPC Tower, National Assembly and Presidential Villa, with a peaceful protest if its demand was not considered by the responsible authorities. According to it, “the mission of the protest is to ensure that the Rule of Law is obeyed and the presidential directives followed.”

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