War in the Creeks As Buhari, Tompolo Alliance Crumbles
Buhari and Tompolo to the best of my knowledge entered into alliance, some weeks after the Presidential inauguration where the later wanted the cooperation of the former to ensure that there is peace in the Niger Delta and that Biafra agitators do not form alliance with Niger Delta militants. This alliance was a result of intelligence reports that elements within the Niger Delta Militants and Biafra Agitators were being sponsored by agents of the Peoples Democratic Party to blow up oil pipelines and make the Buhari Government suffer economic crunch.
Militants from both the Niger Delta and the South East attended a meeting where agreement to blow up oil installation was discussed and I was also aware of that meeting. Buhari was advised by intelligence sources, political advisers and loyalists to cut off sections of the Niger Delta Militants from teaming up with Biafra agitators. This was coming at the heels of renewed uncensored vulgar messages from Nnamdi Kanu of Radio Biafra conditioning the minds of the people that Buhari is a terrorist-elect, child rapist and all manners of things said without consultation with the Igbo nation.
A frightened Federal Government swiftly moved and wooed Tompolo from joining in the Biafra struggle. This led to the meetings with President Buhari in Abuja where Tompolo pledged loyalty to the incumbent President and promised not to join any group to destabilize the new government. Edwin Clarke’s denunciation of Jonathan months later was part of that scheme.
Tompolo had boasted to groups of people two months before the renewed Biafra protests of November 2015, why he cannot support Kanu when a big masquerade called Buhari had already begged him to pipe low. At that time Kanu was still posting his hate messages from London,Therefore, before that Biafran struggle too off, many ingredients were already compromised, including Tompolo factor. Many persons had informed me of Tompolo’s position of the Biafra agitations and I warned those relying on his support to go and sit down and support the Change regime because an ingredient in the arms struggle had already opted out in return for government favors and protection. The Buhari they called old, sick, brain dead had shown that he is in fact an expert strategic planner than his numerous loud mouthed critics.
However militant leader Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo took his luck too far. Tompolo equated his alliance with Buhari to mean that he has the license from the Muslim North to do as he likes. Tompolo started harassing every political opponent who fails to worship Him, his views and his God. He arrogated to himself the status of a Niger Delta Godfather, and this did not go down well with some sources within the ruling party.
Tompolo was dictating to Governor Okowa of Delta State how to run his government. Tompolo it was who made it possible for Okowa to emerge Governor in Delta especially when ex-Governor Uduaghan abandoned Delta North born Tony Obuh for Urhobo born David Ebhevie two days to the primaries. After the primaries, Okowa ran to Tompolo to solicit support to ensure that Uduaghan does not support the opposition candidate secretly. Tompolo pulled his thuggery influence in the militant infested zone and gave Okowa the support, including electoral rigging necessary to defeat the candidate of the labor party, Great Ogboru in the polls. Okowa that saw to it that Tompolo’s nominee, Barrister Kingsley Otuaro became Deputy Governor.
Since then the fear of Tompolo in Delta is the beginning of favor. In Bayelsa State, Tompolo refused to abandon his erstwhile close ally, Governor Seriake Dickson, with whom they have done oil bunkering for over decades in the creeks, for ex-Gov Timipre Sylva. It was said that Tompolo gets monthly security allocation from Dickson and also contractual favors to associates of the militant leader. Therefore, the militant leader is not ready to abandon all these for Buhari’s candidate, Sylva, to take over Bayelsa.
Tompolo was a factor in PDP retaining Bayelsa State by ensuring that militants were not mobilized to move against the incumbent. Another prominent militant leader from Bayelsa, Africanus Ukparasia, aka General Africa had raised alarm claiming that Tompolo wanted to send killer squad to Bayelsa and use them to hijack electoral materials for a particular candidate. General Africa is a known supporter of Sylva.
Tompolo was having serious issues of corrupt enrichment, the type that characterized the Jonathan regime. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had earlier invited him to answer charges of corrupt enrichment to the tune of $108 billion dollars and N2.1 billion naira since December 2015 but he refused to comply. This case cropped up since September but the political alliance with the ruling party suppressed it until rebellion was found in him..
In the course of the matter, the Federal High Court, on the instigation of another Deltan and human rights lawyer, Festuus Keyamo, issued a warrant for the arrest of Tompolo. Tompolo had in 2014 described Keyamo as a ‘ senior charge and bail lawyer’ and threatened to beat him to death for interfering in his (Tompolo’s) control of Delta State Council polls, a matter the human rights lawyer reported to the Director of SSS in the State in a letter dated October 29th 2014. Keyamo also included that Tompolo “had the instrument to kill human being” and also added that “I know the subject of this petition, Tompolo, is a favored citizen of this government, and I am not. I know Tompolo is close to those in power at the moment, whereas I am an ordinary citizen. I know Tompolo has money and influence (which are factors that are widely acknowledged to aid a suspect walk away with murder in Nigeria), but I have none of these”. Today, EFCC through Keyamo, is the hunter, and Tompolo is the hunted.
Tomplo, according to his friends, had tried to call on Buhari to ask the EFCC to leave him alone, but probably, the tone of his overtures was less friendly, and he was snubbed.. Tompolo had entered trouble. He has been alerted that any day he appears before any court, what happened to Nnamdi Kanu will happen to him. He will be abandoned in prison and case of corruption will put him behind bars. Tompolo was alerted, according to sources, by friends within the military circles of impending joint EFCC, military invasion of his home, thus he retreated to the creeks for more protection. Tompolo told close allies that he was advised by ex President Jonathan and Elder Statesman Edwin Clarke and Govenor Dickson not to answer the EFCC call until a political solution is organized.
Tompolo is now running helter skelter. The cookies had crumbled. The Nigerian Navy wants him out of the way for humiliating them out of their constitutional duties. He knew there is trouble and he gathered his boys and asked them to prepare to defend their fatherland. They were mobilized, re-armed and kept on standby to defend the militant leader against any military incursion In the course of the standoff, oil facilities were blown off. My sources have not confirmed whether Tompolo ordered them to blow up the facilities or they acted out of over zealousness.
Tompolo had denied blowing up the facilities, and I tend to believe his denials, but his boys did it. The military had invaded Gbaramutu Kingdom, and there is tension everywhere. As a result of the attacks, operations in Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries have been shut and Nigeria will face another fuel crisis, despite assurances to the contrary from NNPC.
Tompolo had a shrine where he forces all big time politicians, including former President Jonathan, Former Oil Minister Madueke, Governor Okowa and numerous others to worship his deity in return for political patronage. He has reportedly made sacrifices to that go in the face of renewed EFCC onslaught, however, he needs the full support of that god now to escape the looming hands of Interpol since his alliance with Buhari and APC had crumbled. Tompolo alluded to this when he said through his media aide “Well, I am sure this is what President Buhari is looking for. He should allow the people of the Niger Delta Region to know peace; otherwise he will not know peace as well”.
What options does Tompolo have now? That will form the next discussion. However, it is obvious that the Buhari, Tompolo alliance had crumbled, and the hunter had become the hunted.
Obinna Akukwe via [email protected], www.facebook.com/obinnaakukwe, @ObinnaAkukwe