By Chijioke Okoronkwo
#TrackNigeria: The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria(IPMAN) on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, gave its full backing to the re-election bid of President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming presidential election.
IPMAN’s National President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, conveyed the association’s endorsement when he led a delegation of IPMAN on a courtesy call on the president.
Okoronkwo said that IPMAN controlled 80 per cent of investments in the downstream sector of the oil industry with over 50 thousand members scattered throughout Nigeria having more than 2 trillion investments in the oil industry.
He said that IPMAN was appreciative of Buhari’s immense support to the oil industry which had made it possible that in the last three years, Nigeria had not witness the incessant fuel scarcity which had dogged previous administrations.
“This is indeed an indication of your managerial capability, sagacity and experience; by virtue of this, I want to assure you our dear President that all members of our great association are solidly behind you – one hundred percent and are unshaken in our resolve to ensure your re-election.
“In the same vein, we are committed to ensuring that this good work continues as we pledge our own contributions to ensure the continuous free flow and distribution of petroleum products across the country without any hitches.
“It is on record that before your emergence, petroleum products distribution was a big racket riddled with highwire scam and decadent corruption.
“The perennial fuel scarcity was the noticeable symptom of this malaise. But when you came on board that evil network of graft in the sector was dismantled and the nation is better for it as there is unhindered products availability all-year -round.
“This new working environment is inspiring more investment by IPMAN members and we are further emboldened to establish a refinery in the near future with your support.
“We shall soon furnish your office with detailed presentation of our plans and timelines for the actualisation of this project,’’ he said.
In his response, Buhari thanked IPMAN for the significant support and contributions in ensuring Nigerians had adequate supply of petroleum products throughout 2018.
The president said he was particularly happy to note that IPMAN used its large network of petrol retail stations across country to distribute petroleum products sustainably.
“ I am told that your members, in many instances, went beyond the call of duty to support the NNPC and other government agencies in ensuring products are adequately available for our citizens especially during the festive seasons.
“I am also very pleased to hear that your members are planning to invest in refinery and petrochemical facilities.
“This clearly shows that IPMAN, like the APC, also has plans to move to the NEXT LEVEL.
“ I want to assure you that this administration will fully support this investment which aligns with Nigeria’s Energy Security Agenda.
“ As I commend you on the successes you have recorded so far, I also want to ask that you continue to support the government in ensuring petroleum products meant for Nigeria are not illegally taken out of Nigeria.
“We all know this illegal smuggling of products out of Nigeria is a threat to our national economy and security and must be stopped. I, therefore, want to urge all IPMAN members to remain committed to complying with the laws and regulations that govern the Nigerian oil and gas sector,’’ he said.
The president also urged the IPMAN leadership to fully collaborate with the Federal Government by exposing those members who participated in illegal activities.
He commended the association for the support and confidence it had shown to his administration and pledged to continue doing his best to move Nigeria forward.(NAN)