A group under the aegis of PENGASSAN United has said that it has uncovered a list containing names of non-delegates at the ongoing 6th Triennial National Delegates Conference of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.
The conference taking place at the NAF Center in Abuja was on Thursday declared opened by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
It was gathered that the delegates list of Petroleum Training Institute was allegedly forged as against the original list, which contained names of authentic delegates submitted and endorsed by the chairman and secretary of the association.
Trouble started when members of PENGASSAN United sighted the names of those that lost at the branch election in the list of the institute while the elected delegates were denied access into the venue of the election.
The group quickly raised the alarm and insisted that the accreditation team should not recognise those names, which led to the altercation at the venue.
The drama, which lasted for 30 minutes,.was later brought under control when the accreditation officials agreed and expunged the names allegedly smuggled into the list.
General-Secretary of the association, Lumumba Okugbawa, was accused of being the brains behind the ficticious names when he singlehandedly overturned the decision of the election petition panel and asked a group to swear in those that lost in the election.
Findings revealed that there were plans by some people in the association, who have connived with some external forces, to subjugate the will of the people in the election of the leadership of the association.
A reliable source at the conference, who pleaded not to be mentioned, alleged that various government sectors have shown undue interest in the election of the leadership of the association with a view to foisting their candidates on them.
He said, “What we are doing today is to change PENGASSAN and give it the life it deserves. As far as we are concerned, the government is more interested in a union that is docile.
“But it is not going to be easy battle because we have forces from government and various sectors trying to deny people who are supposed to be legitimate delegates to this conference access. They know that they are going to vote for the progressives.
“There are some branches being targeted to change their delegates lists in order to subjugate the will of the people and deny them right to vote.
“They mobilised those who lost election and put their names in the delegates list. We fought that battle this morning and won and we believe that we will continue the battle until the will of the progressives prevail.”
The two candidates vying for the office of President of the national body of the association are Festus Osifo and Rowland Oju Fredricks.
Other positions being contested include Deputy President, National IRO, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, PRO, Auditor 1, Auditor 2 and Chairperson NWIP.