By Oji Odu
Wednesday, February 20, 2019, the day many motorists, and generator users expected the new petroleum pump price to take effect, although briefly, nothing happened. From the beginning of Ikorodu Road, Lagos, to Ikorodu town, there is no filling station selling at the new N140 per litre price. Rather, some that had for business purposes earlier reduced their prices to N143 per litre had continued.
Truth be told, Nigerians were not surprised by the directive said to have emanated from the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), directing its members to reduce petroleum pump price by five naira from N145 to N140 from Wednesday, February 20, 2019, to help ease the suffering of Nigerians to their voting centers due to the postponement of the elections by one week. This is because a lot of information have been known to have emanated both from legal/authorised personnel and illegal/ unauthorised people and groups times without number both true or false.
But the group has come out to deny that it gave such directive to its members to reduce the pump price of petrol from N145 to N140 to encourage Nigerians to travel to vote in the rescheduled presidential and National Assembly elections.
Speaking on the issue to newsmen on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, the IPMAN National Chairman, Alhaji ABK Aliyu, said the stateme is false, urging the public to disregard it.
Denying that the statement did not emanate from the association, he said that some people used the union’s logo to issue unauthorised statements. According to him, the association does not have the powers to reduce pump price of petroleum products. He advised members of the public to disregard it as it a mere political gimmick by some people who want to cause mischief.
It would be recalled that some people claiming to be IPMAN officials had on Sunday, February 17, 2019, issued a statement directing its members to reduce pump price of petrol from N145 to N140 between February 20 and 25 for the purpose of the forthcoming general elections.
This was announced in a statement said to have been signed by the National President of the association, Chinedu Okoronkwo, and made available to journalists on Sunday
In the statement which was issued through the Chairman, IPMAN, Kano state chapter, Bashir Dan-Malam, Okoronkwo said the marketers were expected to comply with the directive from February 20 to February 25.
He said the decision followed Saturday’s last-minute postponement of presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, Nigerians travelled to different places across the country to cast their votes. But to their dismay, the election was shifted to February 23.
“IPMAN was prompted to slash N5 from the N145 per litre official Petroleum pump price in a bid to motivate Nigerians to return to vote again on February 23. We urge all our members across Nigeria to immediately reduce the fuel pump price from N145 per litre to N140 per litre.
“This is because of the political situation that hit the country after INEC suddenly announced the postponement of presidential and National Assembly elections after Nigerians were fully prepared.
“We are all aware how Nigerians travelled to different parts of the country in order to exercise their civic duty; unfortunately, they heard a sad news of postponement of the polls. This made us deem it fit to reduce the pump price in order to ease their suffering, and to also motivate them to travel again to exercise their franchise on Feb. 23.”
He, therefore, urged his members nationwide to immediately comply with the directive to enable Nigerians to travel to exercise their civic responsibility.
If this directive was not from IPMAN, from where did it emanate? On the other hand, is IPMAN really wrong by such directive which is aimed at encouraging a good number of discouraged Nigerians to vote in the 2019 election?
Speaking to the Magazine in a chat, Philip Kaliwo, a political analyst said: “ To me, IPMAN is not wrong in offering to make many discouraged voters that had travelled out of their stations to where they registered to vote because of INEC’s inability to do their transfer on time.
“ What they did is an in-house directive which in no way conflicts with the official fuel pump price, because it is aimed to last for few days. Even it was the work of some politicians who do not want their supporters to be disenfranchised by the postponement, it is still not evil. It is only bad to those that want to discourage voters from voting.”
The Magazine’s findings reveal that political parties are doing a house-to-house campaign to encourage discourage voters by the postponement of the elections to still come out en mass and vote for their preferred candidates.