In a poignant revelation during the 2023 Annual General Meeting/Election at the Port Harcourt Depot Unit, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) sounded the alarm on the perilous state of the Port Harcourt Refinery, asserting that its non-functionality has driven numerous marketers to the brink of collapse.
Tekena Ikpaki emerged as the new chairman during the gathering on Wednesday, where he passionately implored the federal government to expedite the ongoing repairs at the beleaguered refinery.
In a candid dialogue with the press, Ikpaki pledged a transformative administration for IPMAN, emphasizing the urgent need for the refinery’s completion. He underscored the detrimental impact of the prolonged delay on businesses in the region.
“We will bring in new ideas into the leadership of the body. We want to make a difference. It is our sole duty to ensure that everybody is satisfied,” affirmed Ikpaki. He lamented the adverse effects of the refinery’s inactivity, asserting, “The non-functionality of the refinery has crippled a lot of businesses, and a lot of people have gone out of business.”
Highlighting the ripple effect on national commerce, Ikpaki stressed that the dilapidation of the refinery has disrupted the movement of goods and services, further compounding economic challenges.
In a glimmer of hope, the Zonal Chairman of System 2E of IPMAN, Prince Bobby-Ibekwe, expressed optimism that the Port Harcourt Refinery would be fully operational by early 2024. He called on the newly elected executive to ensure members have access to products when the refinery recommences operations.
Bobby-Ibekwe issued a challenge to the Port Harcourt Unit executive, urging them to safeguard the interests of IPMAN and the public. He underscored the imperative of reducing the suffering experienced by Nigerians amid the harsh economic climate exacerbated by the refinery’s inactivity.