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IPMAN, Cross River government tussle lingers

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Chinnedu Okoronkwo

There seems to be no end to the tussle between the Cross River State government and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), due to the alleged interference of the latter in the leadership of the association.

For quite sometime now, IPMAN had been in a protracted legal battle, which was eventually decided by the Supreme Court in favour of the faction led by Chinedu Okoronkwo.

But Alhaji Sanusi Fari, leading another group of IPMAN based on the interpretation of the judgement by the Federal High Court in Calabar, is also claiming leadership of IPMAN at the national level.

In Cross River, the leadership tussle initially was between Edet Umana backed by Okoronkwo on one side and Lawrence Agim on the other with the support of the state government, which threatened fuel supply in the state.

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The state government, in a statement two weeks ago, had ordered the immediate suspension of IPMAN activities in the state.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Christian Ita, stated, “Consequently, no group is to parade itself as the leadership of the association.”

But the chairman of the Eastern Zonal office of IPMAN, Chief Larry Nworuh, the Zonal Legal Adviser, Obasi Nnanna, and other officers of the zone condemned the action of the state government.

The zonal chairman alleged that some persons in the state’s corridors of power had a hand in the crisis, as they prevented the governor from having an audience with the IPMAN leadership.

In a statement in Calabar by state caretaker chairman of IPMAN, Umana, yesterday, the president said, “leadership crisis in Cross River was put to rest on August 7, 2019 when the chairman of the Eastern Zonal office of IPMAN, Nworuh, assisted by the Zonal Legal Adviser, Nnanna and some other officers of the zone, inaugurated a 17-man caretaker exco for Cross River/ Akwa Ibom State branch led by Umana”.

Umana, who also spoke with newsmen after the national president reaffirmed his leadership in the state, restated his commitment “to cooperate with the state government and ensure that Cross Riverians are not made to face untold hardship through fuel scarcity, but enjoy the smooth flow and availability of petroleum products in the state.”


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