By Juliet Alohan, with agency report
The MD/CEO of Capital Oil, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah, has revealed that he pulled out of the oil marketers’ strike because his company was not consulted before the oil marketers’ decision to shut down operations was taken.
Fuel marketers across Nigeria had insisted that they would not lift petroleum products except the federal government paid them the money they are owed but after weeks of scarcity and hardship, the Capital Oil CEO defied the directive on Sunday and pushed out 15 million litres of petrol.
The Ubah said at the time that he was opening his depot for petrol lifting to commence immediately because he wanted national interest to prevail.
However, speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the oil marketers agreed to also make petroleum products available in the country, Mr Ubah said that his opinion was not sought in the decision to shut down the entire system.
He wondered why as the largest operator in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas sector, he would be following such directives from persons who probably do not have as much stake as he has in the industry.
Mr Ubah noted that his facilities store products for the PPMC an arm of the NNPC and which means such products belong to the Federal Government.
“For a facility like ours, we should be considered before taking this position. What of if people storing product in our facilities sue us? They have the rights to take their products. What if PPMC sue us or cancel our contract? We need to ask these questions.
“We don’t need to follow the same people who don’t have this kind of facility. We need to ask, who are these people we are talking about, what is their investment capacity? What is their storage capacity? What is their investment in this industry?
“And you want us every time to follow the queue of strike,” Mr Ubah queried.
Although Mr Ubah clarified that the said breakdown of communication was not because there were cliques among the marketers, he maintained that the agitation for the payment of their monies was not properly handled.
The Capital Oil boss confirmed that indeed the marketers were being owed large sums of money and he is one of those being owed a large sum of money but believes that dialogue should have been the choice of the marketers especially considering the state of the nation.
He said that it was unprecedented in the country for oil marketers to go on strike for up to four days and what he expected was there to have been a warning strike before a total shut down. According to him “You don’t cage government because after God is government.”
While later admitting that he was partially consulted and he had also initially obeyed the directive, he said that his decision to resume supply of fuel was because he could not bear the horror of Nigerians dying in hospitals, and banks shutting down and consequently putting the masses in hardship.
Mr Ubah revealed that his company had to rescue telecoms giant, MTN, by supply them some diesel on Sunday night, otherwise communication across the country would have experienced a major downtime.
He added that his decision enjoyed the support of many of his colleagues who would have also commenced dispensing the products whether the oil marketers called off their strike or not.
Owing to his Sunday decision, Capital Oil’s retail station on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was filled with a multitude who scrambled to buy the product at the recommended price.
I Am Not A Sycophant
Many Nigerians have attributed politics to Mr Ifeanyi Ubah gesture and he is disappointed that many people do not know who he is.
“I am a politician, I have no regrets, I have no skeleton in my cupboard and I will tell you that I will be part of those that will be involved in making sure that Nigeria works well,” he said.
He went on, “The incoming Vice-President was my pastor, we never saw eyeball to eyeball till date. I don’t shy away from things, I have no skeleton in my cupboard. I am a straightforward human being and I am straight with Jonathan.
“If anybody found anywhere in this country in last six year of Jonathan that Ifeanyi Ubah, Capital Oil or any company that (has) links to me has collected 1 naira waiver or 1 naira contract from Jonathan, let him bring it before the press.
“I didn’t do anything I did for Jonathan because of money, it wasn’t his money as well. I did it because of my conscience, what I believe in, what he has done.”
Mr Ubah recalled a number efforts he had made in the past to support what he believed were the right policies to help the economy grow irrespective of who the leader is.
“We are not saying that all is well. I am also saying that if Jonathan can be fair enough to Buhari, let him deregulate before Buhari takes over. I don’t side anybody, I go straight to the point and I am not a sycophant for Buhari or for Jonathan.
“I know Jonathan, I don’t know Buhari but I will respect him.”
Mr Ubah, who lost in the 2014 Anambra governorship election, also stated that he was not thinking of going back into active politics but fully back to his business.
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