2023: Tompolo phenomenon and what Niger Deltans stand to gain rallying round him

2023: Tompolo phenomenon and what Niger Deltans stand to gain rallying round him

By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board 

The Friday, November 25, 2022 visit by Alhaji Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate in the forthcoming general election in the country, to Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom and home of High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo, the famous leader of the now rested Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), has again raised the consciousness about strategic position Tompolo currently occupies in the nation’s political scheme of things especially as it concerns Niger Delta as a region.

Aside from affirming as true GbaramatuVoice long held believe that Tompolo is a huge blessing to, not just the Ijaw nation but the entire Niger Delta region, the visit more than anything else has further postured Tompolo as a rallying point, a patriot, a true representative, an emblem of honesty and most importantly, a bridge between Niger Delta region and other part of the nation.

Notably, some may query why the Newspaper ascribed such a feat to an individual that is neither a royal father nor a politician (public office holder). Others may view the recent visit by Tinubu from the ethnic/tribal prism or private that has nothing to do with the entire region. The rest considered Tompolo’s relevance as restricted to the Ijaw ethnic nationality and has nothing to offer other tribes/ethnic groups within the region. Even within among Ijaws there is this number (very few anyway) that also believed Tinubu’s recent was Tompolo’s specific and has nothing to do with Ijaw nation.

ALSO READ: The moment Tinubu met Tompolo in Gbaramatu

However, despite the validity of these claims, arguments or positions, GbaramatuVoice believed and still believes that for Niger Delta to move forward as a region and occupy enviable position in the nation’s political discourse, the hour has come for all to drop ethnic consideration and recognize how expedient it has become that all Niger Deltans of goodwill queue behind him irrespective of tribal/ethnic or political affiliations, to negotiate political benefits/democracy dividends accruable to the region come 2023 electoral exercise.

Without doubt, the truth is that the greatest undoing that has held Niger Delta down as a region is that whereas other regions and of course the world at large see the region as one, yet, tribal consideration and loyalty has remained more potent than common sense of region hood. This seriously explains why the fight for the emancipation and sustainable development of the region has never gathered steam but always characterized by ineptitude. The region have for a very long time fought as a divided house stripped of common front and objectives.

Thus, as the nation braces up for the 2023 general election, GbaramatuVoice calls for an urgent change in strategy as the region cannot be doing one thing repeatedly and be expecting a different result. Such an attitude, they say, is the simplest definition of insanity.

The reason for the present call is predicated on the awareness that through consistency, discipline, commitment, selflessness and love for his people, Tompolo in the estimation of policy makers in Nigeria and beyond is a charismatic leader from the region that is most respected by the political circle and class.

The above claim about High Chief Tompolo’s charismatic influence did not start today but dates back to tens of decades ago.

For instance, Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher for the International Crisis Group (ICG), in a report published in 2019, said: “Tompolo’s acceptance of a presidential amnesty program offered by the Nigerian government in 2009 was “highly significant, some would say decisive, in ending the violence at the time,” and that he still commands a strong following in the Niger Delta region’’

Very recently also, one of the most respected newspapers in the country, the Guardian Newspaper in a well considered commentary, agreed that High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State, is a reputable community leader that holds one of the highest traditional titles in Ijaw nation known as the Ibe-Ebidouwei of Ijaw Nation. The newspaper further stated that as the Global Ambassador of the Ijaw people, High Chief Tompolo displayed honesty, truthfulness and sincerity in all his dealings, noting that he is a leader of the Niger Delta region fighting for the control of the region’s resources and a reversal of the environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.

At this point, GbaramatuVoice would like to put forward the following questions: If reputable organizations and institutions with impeccable reputation could describe Tompolo as a leader with sterling qualities, why can’t the region see and adopt him as such? What is stopping the people of the region from crowning this special gift from God as their rallying point? Why can’t Niger Deltans (South South geo political zone) draw lessons from other zones that have mastered the act of dropping ethnic/tribal differences when negotiating national issues that will be of benefit to their regions? Or do Niger Deltans think that there are no ethnic/tribal divisions among other geo political zones in the country?

While answers to the above questions will assist understand the import of this editorial comment, GbaramatuVoice in the interim holds the opinion that it will be highly rewarding if all the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta realign and urgently rally round High Chief Tompolo to push for a common political objective in the coming political dispensation. Like the South West and North East geopolitical zones, Niger Deltans must act swiftly in presenting this common front as 2023 general elections is around the corner. The region needs TOMPOLO, and the best time to act is now!

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