In a startling turn of events, the internal crisis within the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has reached a critical juncture as the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) have launched a nationwide protest. The drivers are demanding the immediate resignation of NUPENG National President Williams Akporeha and General Secretary Afolabi Olawale, issuing a stark ultimatum that, if ignored, threatens to sever ties between the PTD and the union.
The crux of the matter revolves around the alleged lack of competence and leadership qualifications on the part of Williams Akporeha, according to the PTD members leading the charge. Taking to the streets, these drivers are brandishing banners and cautioning both NUPENG and law enforcement against any interference with or harassment of their leaders. Their central claim is that Akporeha, a former cook who was dismissed from his position in an oil company, lacks the requisite experience and stature to effectively lead NUPENG.
The PTD has not stopped at questioning Akporeha’s qualifications; they are also accusing him of nepotism and financial mismanagement within the union. The drivers assert that Akporeha has strategically placed close associates to collect and divert union revenues for personal gain. In a united front, they have pledged their support for Lucky Osesua and Dayyab Garga, former NUPENG officials who are challenging Akporeha’s leadership.
The intensifying protest by the PTD is indicative of a widening divide within NUPENG, prompting concerns about the union’s stability and its capacity to advocate for the interests of its members. The ultimatum issued by the PTD poses a looming threat of significant disruptions in the oil and gas sector, potentially leading to fuel shortages and economic instability.
As tensions escalate, it becomes imperative for NUPENG’s leadership to address the grievances voiced by the protesting PTD members and work towards a swift resolution of the internal crisis. The repercussions of failing to do so could be severe, not only for the union but also for the broader oil and gas industry, heightening the need for a timely and effective intervention.