By Matthew Denis and Kayode Adeoti
Following the legal battle over the chairmanship tussle that has been lingering for years in the Kwara State branch of the Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the court will today, determine the fate of ex-scribe of the association, Abdulrasheed Olopade and the incumbent Chairman, Olarewaju Okanlawon.
The IPMAN crisis was said to have started since 2013 as a result of the chairmanship election contested by the duo.
Okanlawon was accused of violating the IPMAN constitution by deliberately staying in office beyond the stipulated four years term.
Speaking on the issue, Olopade, who was one-time chairman of the association, alleged that Okanlowon stole his mandate through what he described as ‘kangaroo election’.
According to him, he won the poll but was not allowed to complete his tenure stressing that Okalawon connived with some power that be in IPMAN to unseat him.
“I defeated Okalawon in that election because our people gave me the mandate to lead them for four years. It was a celebrated poll, I came onboard as the chairman, and normal activities were going on in IPMAN. There wouldn’t have been any election before but I needed to complete the tenure of my Chairman, Bola Agbolade, who died while in service.
“Because of some qualities some people saw in me, that I will unearth many anomalies and fight corruption, they did not want me to continue, so before the expiration of my tenure, it was hijacked.
“The election we had was a normal one not by-election because, ordinarily, by-election will take place at our association house but the poll was held at Kwara Hotel. Along the line, Okanlawon and his supporters claimed that the election won by me was by-election, the IPMAN ex-scribe alleges.
“They conducted fresh poll which was held in a kangaroo manner, Okanlawon claimed he won, but was not confidence of it, so, he ran to court to defend the mandate,” Olopade revealed.
Okalawon, in his response, debunked the allegations even as he denied any brewing crisis in the association.
He said, “There is no crisis in IPMAN but it is only the former chairman, Olopade, that is nursing grievances which to me, I don’t know the basis. I think the progress of the association should come above all personal interests.
“When we conducted by-election and he won at that time to complete the tenure of the deceased chairman and after that the election that brought me in was conducted by the zonal executives. But he (Olopade) is contesting it that he was yet to complete his tenure.
According to him, the claims that he has spent five years instead of four years in office was false, stressing that IPMAN constitution has been reviewed.
He said, according to constitution, the IPMAN chairman’s tenure has been elongated to five years saying his tenure will elapse in January, 2020 and that fresh poll will subsequently be conducted.
He noted that the state chairmanship’s election will be conducted across various depots.
Okanlawon however expressed joy over the judgement that will be delivered in a suit between him and Olopade today saying it will put an end to the crisis rocking the association.