The trouble rocking the Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA in Imo State may have reached a crescendo with a faction of the group condemning in strong terms an award given to business mogul and Chief Executive officer of Zinox Technologies, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh.
Ekeh had last week received an award of excellence from a faction of the newspaper publishers, a move which drew the ire of another faction.
The publishers had split into two after one of the factions had demanded an account of monies accrued to the state government since the inception of the Rochas Okorocha administration.
In a statement signed by the aggrieved publishers led by Elder Lambert Ojukwu, they described the award conferred on Ekeh as a gimmick with the sole purpose of extorting money from the computer guru.
“It has come to the notice of the Independent Newspaper Publishers, Association [INPA], Imo state under the able leadership of Elder Lambert Ojukwu that a group of renegades and quasi Publishers few days ago claimed to have purportedly given an award of ‘INPA MAN OF THE YEAR’ to Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, the CEO of Zinox Computers with the sole aim of extorting money from Chief Leo Stan Ekeh. Nothing can be as spurious, nonsensical and out rightly questionable as this award” the statemng began
The group said much as it is not against any group giving award to anybody, they are concerned that the name of INPA was used for such illicit award by those who do not have functional newspaper Houses and are not members of the Association.
“This is a classical case of impersonation and our Lawyers have been briefed and are now preparing their papers for possible legal action”
“It is pertinent to point out that INPA as a reputable organization is not and has not been in the business of given Awards to Individuals and therefore it is appalling that Chief Leo Stand Ekeh allowed himself to be deceived into receiving such an illegal Award by expelled members, mostly non Publishing Publishers who just cobbled themselves up just to embark on such outrageous and illegal exercise” the statement stated.
The Publishers urged the general public to discountenance such award and called on Chief Leo Stan Ekeh and others who might have been so illicitly honoured to disregard the awards as it came from a disddent group whose only stock in trade is just to extort money from the unsuspecting public.