…Ijaw leaders, 10 year old lass eulogizes celebrant
…as women leader rejects, warns against marginalization of Ijaws
The entire streets of Warri were in a lock down on Thursday in an unprecedented celebratory mood for the iconic Niger Delta ex-warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo at the posh KFT Place, Warri, Delta State.
The event was a mixture of traditional and modern ensemble of colourful displays by the avalanche of eminent personalities, from both the young and old, who thronged the venue to show their love for their ”man” Tompolo.
The Peace rally that preceded the main event, took place earlier in the morning by the youths of Niger Delta, to symbolize unity and uniformity, a trait the absentee- celebrant usually preach among his people and the Niger Delta as a whole.
Chief Wellington Bobo, the Oroupawei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, who gave the opening speech, professed to be under the leadership of the great son of the Ijaw nation.
He pleaded with the Ijaw nation to stand behind Chief Tompolo in the struggle, stressing that people are looking for him (Tompolo) to intimidate him, but that God would not allow them to succeed. Chief Bobo stressed that God is the one who sent Tompolo to deliver the Ijaw nation.
According to one of the Guest Speakers at the occasion, High Chief Mike Loyibo, the people of the nation, gathered to honour the celebrant, because they revere him, as the liberator of Niger Delta people.
He stressed that, Tompolo is being persecuted because of his fight for the nation; therefore the Niger Delta people, should support him. He also noted that all the cases against Tompolo are political.
Chief Loyibo also uses this opportunity to implore the government to withdraw all the cases against Tompolo.
He said; ” Tompolo has been at the forefront of ensuring the peaceful atmosphere we are enjoying today, in this region. Therefore, we must not allow the government to muddle up the struggle”.
Another Guest Speaker at the occasion, the President of Ijaw Women Connect, IWC, Comrade Rosemary Graham Naingba, who delivered a lecture, titled; ” Resource Control”, the people of Niger Delta are marginalized and they can either resist or remain marginalized, “I doubt if it can happen anywhere in the world, except maybe only in Nigeria. I don’t think we should accept any condition, in which we shall remain marginalized, or be oppressed any further”. She said.
Comrade Rosemary, also identified on some of the leaders, who had been in the fore front of agitation in the past, such as; Adaka Boroh, Ken Saro Wiwa, and how the modern struggle came with the Ijaw youth.
She also noted how Tompolo becomes the G .O. C of the Ijaw Nation. She explained that, Tompolo actually awakened the consciousness of the modern struggle for resource control and ownership.
”How can I have resources that will become a burden to me?”. She queried. ”I don’t understand. It is not possible because in the developed world, there are laid down principles on how government operates, but here in Nigeria, we run a system that never works.
”It never work because, the people who are managing the government are only interested in how they can drain us and they want the Niger Delta people to fold their hand and watch them.
‘‘It won’t happen that way.
Continuing, she said ”Every Ijaw sons and daughters, rise up and defend the Ijaw nation, resource control is our birth right, it is only in Nigeria you see the government oppressing the people, the Ijaw people are not valued and we are quiet because, we want to be given appointments.
”We want to go to Abuja, so we can’t speak. My voice cannot be bought, wherever I go, I will be proud to say that ”I am Tompolo’s sister”.
A ten year old girl, Merylynn Emomoemi Pondi, daughter of Chief Kestin Pondi, and a niece to the Ijaw warlord, acknowledged the virtues of the High Chief Tompolo on his 47th birthday.
She said words are not enough to describe how nice and generous her uncle has been.
In her Words,” Tompolo as you all know, loves the Ijaw nation so much and he has done so much for the Ijaw nation”
Merylynn stressed that Tompolo offers the young indigenes opportunity to have education by awarding them scholarship from primary to University level.
”The amazing thing is that, if anyone comes out with a first class degree, the person will be awarded scholarship to study overseas for his or her Master’s degree”. She explained.
The venue of the event was predictably jam-packed and the occasion was attended by dignitaries from all over the Niger Delta.
By Loveth Ojogun