By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board
South-South region is one of the six geopolitical zones that make up the political entity called Nigeria. The zone is also referred to as the Niger Delta because of its location at the bank of the Atlantic Ocean.
As expected of the delta region, the zone is characterized by swampy and marshy environment but blessed with a high volume of crude oil and other mineral deposits.
The above fact has made the region to pride itself as the economic mainstay of the nation. This position is based on the fact that our nation’s economy is crude oil dependent.
Again, talking about this region brings to mind some notable personalities that have helped in no small means in shaping the region. Some of these great personalities include but not limited to; Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo, Comr. Joseph Evah, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Chief Pat Utomi, Tom Ikimi, Dan Etete, Chief James Ibori, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Dr. Peter Odili, Donald Duke, King Diete Spiff, Rt. Hon. Chubuike Rotimi Ameachi, Godswill Akpabio, Timipre Sylva, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, to mention but a few.
But among these names listed above, High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo has been meted with the highest level of identity crisis.
While the previous administrations saw him as a friend and partner in development, the incumbent sees him as an enemy of and security threat to the nation.
In synopsis, Tompolo was born in the early 1970s to the family of the Late Chief Thomas Osen Ekpemupolo of Okerenkoko community in the great Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
He attended and successfully completed his formal education at various levels which in turn qualified him to join their family business. While with the father’s business, he rose to the position of the Managing Director as a result of his pragmatic demonstration of intelligence, creativity, and resourcefulness.
Despite his very good achievements in the family business and comfort provided by his position, he still suffered internal dissatisfaction occasioned by the plight of the people of the Niger Delta region.
The above concern, as someone that detests injustice, the Newspaper learnt, made him to abandon the family business to lead the struggle for the emancipation and crusade for a better living condition of his people in the Niger Delta region.
Correspondingly, as his name ‘’Government’’ connotes, GbaramatuVoice gathered that within few years of his involvement with other notable people in the struggle, he rose to become a leader in the region and a critical factor that must be considered when solving the socio-economic equations of the Niger Delta.
His involvements in the agitation for a fair share of their God-given natural resources using the organization he founded, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has given birth to a litany of positive results in peace building within the region in time past.
More so, it is our candid observation as a media group that Tompolo, as he is fondly called, is not a demagogue but an authentic leader that enjoys large followership built on mutual respect and support.
The above fact we urge the present administration to look into and see how to figure out Tompolo factor to her advantage in managing the hostility in the region.
GbaramatuVoice as a news organization that has covered the region with a daily interface with the people at the grassroots can very authoritatively state that the much celebrated success recorded by the recent amnesty programme was made as a result of his decision to embrace the programme.
His declaration and eventual support for the programme brought peace and tranquility to the once-troubled region and again made hundreds of youths from the region to embrace the programme.
The above role, we believe as a reputable corporate organization, that he can still replay in the restoration of peace that have become elusive of sort in the region if engaged by this present administration. This step we frankly advice the Federal Government to take as Tompolo may be more of a friend than foe as currently perceived.
Very instructively also, achieving the above will require the Federal Government abandoning hostility, military drills and go for a candid dialogue and all-inclusive involvement of personalities from the region.
Also important is that no matter how long we live in denial, our oil installations in the region are facing serious security challenges which we believe that the best way to guarantee the security of these facilities is through community involvement in the protection of these infrastructures.
To this effect, a popular saying has it that ‘’to know about the road ahead, ask those coming back’’. It is based on this saying that getting High Chief Tompolo on board will help in no small way in providing the needed security in the region.
This call of ours is based on the fact that it is a job that he has effectively and efficiently handled in time past and had garnered the needed experience as well as the expertise to do at all time. This is critical at this point as our nation’s economy revolves around the crude oil which comes from the region.
As a media group of repute, we can never support that a citizen should be above the law as is the belief of many outside the region that Chief Government is operating as one.
But we have long observed as an organization that operates in the creeks, that he is a law-abiding citizen that some media organizations and enemies of the region portray as an enemy of the government at the centre for yet to be identified reason(s).
We also discovered that what is propelling this strain relationship between the High Chief and the Federal Government is the harsh and lopsided reportage by some media groups who never contemplated getting to the creeks to obtain a firsthand information but instead relied on half-baked truths as posited by these enemies of the state that are benefiting from the crisis.
The above facts we urge the Federal Government to look into and get directly involved with him and other key personalities from the region as a way of reaching a common ground where peace based on justice shall reign and in turn propel development of the nation’s socioeconomic sector.
In the same token, we call on the Federal Government to look into and reconsider her decision on Chief Tompolo’s account that was frozen, as that will signpost a sincere invitation by the government to finding a lasting peace in this troubled region.
Similarly, GbaramatuVoice has discovered that any form of maltreatment meted on Chief Government Ekpemupolo has ripple effects on so many other people within and outside the region. This claim is objectified as he has so many youths as well as young adults that are on his scholarship scheme.
A typical proof to the above is the fact that the frozen of his account has affected the academic pursuit of these our ‘’future leaders’’ as they could not continue their schooling due to their inability to pay school fees.
It is also our views that by the government ensuring of the smooth take off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and other projects sited in the region will assist in convincing not just Chief Tompolo but the entire region that the government is sincere with the development of the region.
Therefore, our common interest should be on how to figure out sustainable formula that will guarantee a constant flow of the nation’s crude oil and by extension stabilize our economy. If that is our goal as a nation, the first should be for our government to dialogue with Tompolo and other notable players in the region.