Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The factional National Executive of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) led by Lucky Osesua, yesterday accused the parent body of being in contempt of court.
It also said the Augustine Egbon-led group was using sentiments to foist its “illegal leadership” on the federal government and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry, describing it as a fait accompli.
In a press statement jointly signed by its National Chairman, Osesua and National Secretary, Obinna Power, Osesua argued that his leadership, which emerged at the election in Abuja, which was the venue prescribed by the union’s bye law, remains the authentic body.
PTD said the “illegal leadership” that emerged from a Kangaroo election in Ibadan was desperate to force stakeholders into accepting it.
It added that the leadership could not avail itself the legitimacy by serially violating the sanctity of the branch’s bye-law and other legal methods of conducting delegates conference.
The group appealed to the federal government, especially President Bola Tinubu, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong and other key players in the industry not to seek legitimacy for the national executive of PTD elsewhere.
“In flagrant defiance to court order, they went ahead and held an illegal conference despite the court injunction, which barred them from doing so.
“Consequently, many protests were staged across the zones of the union, including the national secretariat in Jibowu Lagos, but NUPENG brazenly turned deaf ears.
“ This is totally unacceptable and truly showed the leadership does not mean well for the union and its members, especially the PTD branch.
“However, some of us are law-abiding and truly mean well for the one-time trade union, which was built and nurtured by Chief Frank Kokori with the objective to protect the interest and foster better working conditions for the blue collar employees in the Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
“For the purpose of clarity, Augustine Egbon is not and can never be the national chairman of PTD and that is what the law says. Afolabi, Williams and Oladiti (ex-union leaders) know this fact, but they only want to circumvent the law and as well take pleasure in stirring up a hornets’ nest and to destroy the union, but the truth is that they cannot be bigger than the court of the land,” it stated.
The Osesua group added that the stake in PTD, particularly access to administrative, operational and economic incentives and other opportunities cannot be left in the hands of “stooges”.
It appealed to Tinubu, the labour minister, to, in the interest of peace and industrial harmony intervene in what it described as a very disturbing and ridiculous situation, by recognising the legitimacy of PTD national executive under the leadership of Osesua and his Deputy, Dayyabu Garga.
“Government and other industry stakeholders should relate with us as the only legitimate, constitutionally recognised executive of the PTD branch of NUPENG.
“Once again PTD must be allowed to breathe such that its members could peacefully and conveniently be proud and better for what they are doing.
“This is even as they continue to traverse the length and breadth of Nigeria through distribution and transportation of petroleum products and supply of gas to Nigerians in their homes, offices and factories,” the Osesua group stressed.