By Oliver Okpala
A new twist has been added to the Capital Oil, Coscharis and Access Bank saga. It is said that truth is constant. You may toy to change it, to Colour it, to Paint it, to embellish it, to Rubbish it and/or to water it down. But it will resist these efforts to deprive it of its original flavor. In the wake of the Capital Oil, Dr Ifeanyi Uba, Coscharis and Access Bank the persons involved were maligned. In particular, Ifeanyi Uba was called names, unprintable invectives poured on him and Stones cast upon him.
But he head remained unbowed. This is one businessman who has the interest of Nigerians at heart. This is a businessman who has given employment to Nigerians from all parts of the Country. While Chief Uba was taken to the cleaners by people who are not his contemporary in both business and in the oil Industry, many Nigerians could hardly appreciate the true issues involved.
This was a man whose enemies simply ganged up against in order to frame him up and criminalize him. Dr. Uba, for all we know, is only a poor victim of unfair business competition, cut-throat competition in the Petroleum Sub-Sector, Sheer Envy, Enemity and Jealousy. Unknown to Nigerians. Uba’s co-competitors in the downstream sector woke up one morning and conspired to tell lies against him not just to get undue advantage over him but to rubbish him and his business and take over his business in broad daylight.
The problem began with the Presidential Committee on Oil subsidy headed by the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. To start with, Access Bank Plc was the bank through which Capital Oil transacted the business of ferrying four cargoes of fuel to Nigeria.
This Bank later began to raise certain questions about Capital Oil and Uba. The bank purported that the cargoes were never supplied and so that Uba’s claim for payment for the four cargoes was fraudulent. One wonders why the money for the Four Cargos was paid into the account of Access Bank when it was being claimed that the Four Cargos were never supplied. In a case where a man is judge in his own case, only God knows how the man will handle the gravel. Surely, as expected, this man did not make any pretensions. He went for the kill. He caused the arrest and detention of Uba and the suspension of Capital Oil’s business.
He also pressed ahead stridently for the confiscation of all the assets of Capital Oil and the take-over of the business. This is charade could not last for long. The truth was blown open. The ugly underbelly of the Presidential Committee was exposed. Nigerians became wiser and more enlightened about who the patriot is as between Uba and his wicked and jealous accusers. However, this battle is not over yet.
The enemies of the Nigerian people are lurking around and planning desperately to continue to hold poor Nigerians with high prices of petroleum products. These elements have continued to feather their own nests in the guise of fighting Uba. Uba’s sin is that he believes in free distribution of fuel and kerosene all over the country.
This is unlike his adversaries cherish and relish artificial scarcity so that they can smile to the Banks with increased petroleum prices. It has already been submitted that the Presidential Committee Fuel Subsidy may have has compromised itself and its activities rendered suspect on account of the fact that it’s Chairman is also a key player in the Downstream Oil Sector We commend the Public Petitions Committee of the House of Representatives for its boldness on this thorny issue and affair.
The Committee has been particularly proactive. It was able to wade through the maze of deceit, falsehood, half-truths and misinformation dished out by Uba’s traducers. It is heartwarming that the Public Petitions Committee has indeed been told that Uba actually supplied Petroleum Products in the year 2011 which the Customs Service also confirmed. The same applies to some NNPC subsidiaries. This is a vindication of Dr. Uba’s position that he supplied the products. These revelations, on the other hand, portray Uba’s accusers as people lacking in fairness. They are perhaps driven by morbid hatred and envy.
From the foregoing, it goes without saying that the Ministry of Finance should release. Uba’s subsidy payments. He should be paid for the products he supplied. To continue to delay the payment is to frustrate his business. It will set the hands of the clock back for Capital Oil. The employees of the company and their families are already adversely affected. They should not be allowed to suffer further hardship on account of administrative bottle-necks.
We call on the appropriate agencies of Government to take immediate steps to ensure that Dr. Uba’s Money is released to him without further delay. Uba is a genuine Petroleum dealer who has been playing a key role in the comprehensive distribution of Petroleum Products all over the Country. It is now beyond dispute that the tales against Dr. Uba and Capital Oil were fabrications and deliberate lies aimed at keeping him out of business. It is a very wicked invention and deception hither too unsurpassed in the history of business competitions and trade practices. It is obvious that Dr. Uba is an Oil dealer and magnate of the first Order. His co-competitors are Pretenders who cannot match his achievement.
He has dwarfed all of them and they are fighting back by blackmailing him and tarnishing his hard-earned reputation. To God be the Glory that the grey areas of the saga are now clear. They know the Liars and the Pretenders. The Courts and the whole Judiciary are now wiser over this matter. This may be the reason why the Judiciary has lifted injunction against Capital Oil.
This is a welcome development. We say cudos to the Judiciary. The vacation of the injunction order on Capital Oil will enable the company to pick its bits and pieces together and go back to business despite the attempt by the police to stop the resumption of work by the company after the order of the court has been lifted. The lifting of the order will facilitate the distribution of Petroleum products all over the country and enable employees of the company to go back to work immediately. The effect of the lifting of the injunction on the Economy can only be Salutary and Cathartic.
The Nigerian Judiciary ranks among the best worldwide. Our Judiciary has continued to live up to high its billing as the mouthpiece of the meek and the oppressed. The Judiciary is in a position to call a spade a spade without munching words. The Judiciary has acquitted itself creditably and it deserves the commendation of all and sundry as the last hope of the common man. The AMCON action is very unfortunate. It is a great disservice to the Nigerian people and the petroleum industry.
It shows that there are some mischievous elements in our midst who seek to reap where they did not sow and who enjoy throwing dust into an otherwise clear sky. Uba’s Patience, belief in God, Reliance on the Impartiality of the Judiciary and the inmate essence of the Doctrine of Rule of Law and due process cannot but be applauded. In his travails, he refused to cut corners and to put his connection into action. He had a Firm Belief in the Rule of Law and Impartiality of the Judiciary. The Uba saga is a sad chapter of our national history and our hope is that this history should not repeat itself. Okpala writes from Nnewi.