High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo
He is the man Nigerian Government couldn’t arrest though he is on a wanted list of militants for crimes of economic sabotage. Yet the man is still around though not seen physically but his presence looms large over a greater part of the Niger Delta region particularly in Gbaramatu kingdom where he is revered as a tin God.
Ladies and gentlemen, we hereby proposed a toast for High Chief Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo Aka Soso 4 sure. The High Chief of Gbaramatu kingdom, ex- commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger delta (MEND). Today, a Businessman, a Philanthropist, Community leader, and Environmental right activist cum Politician
Government Tompolo as he is popularly known and called is a man many love to hate and hate to love. Though born into a royal traditional family in the Gbaramatu Kingdom on April 12, 1971, in Delta State, Tompolo was to later drop out of college. He was drawn into the pursuit of militant activities in response to many years of unethical neglect and marginalisation of the Niger delta people from the benefits of crude oil drilled from their community.
Tompolo was to later emerge from the shadows of one of the run down militants camp in the Delta to become a rugged and clinical commander within the rank and file of MEND militant group. He was to further command respect and support within the group because of his large heart and philanthropy within the Ijaw community.
When the amnesty festive came during the regime of President Umaru Yar’adua, Tompolo quickly embraced it and facilitated amnesty for most of the MEND members and thereafter position himself as a community leader in the oil producing Ijaw land. This position of influence and leader among his community was what draw him closer to the two previous governments of Yar’adua and Gooduck Jonathan.
Perhaps it was during Goodluck Jonathan government of 5 years that Tompolo was favoured most. He not only consolidated himself as a Niger delta region leader but also entrenched himself in the Jonathan Government that he was considered an inner caucus member.
This romance also brought him fame and wealth as he covert several lucrative contracts from the administration some running into several millions of dollars.
With his wealth, Tompolo extended favours and help to his Ijaw community and also assisted in attracting some projects to his community. One of such project is the controversial Maritime University to be sited in his Gbaramatu Kingdom.
The emergence of Buhari Government was to put a stop to Tompolo larger than life image and political escapades. Convinced that he did not follow due process and was enmeshed in corruption with the past administration of Goodluck Jonathan, the Buhari Government was to declare him wanted when he shunned the invitation of security agencies and anti- corruption agencies.
The battle between the current Buhari Government and Tompolo was to cost the former dearly as Tompolo associates, supporters and admirers formed the Niger delta Avengers and re started the agitation and militants crusade for the controlled of their oil wealth. Their violent agitation was carried out by massive bombing of oil pipelines and flow stations leading to a drastic reduction of the Nigeria’s production levels for export. The consequences of this were to plunge Nigeria into recession for the first time in 20 years.
The precarious situation and the attendant hardship forced the Nigerian Government to abandon the military option they intended to use against the militants. A rather soft and pacifying option was adopted and this helped in calming fray nerves in the region and restored a fragile peace within the region at least so that oil will flow into the Government coffers.
It is widely believed, that the man Tompolo, the Enigma was at the centre of this drama and that he is also instrumental for the temporary peace enjoyed so far based on continuous negotiation between the Government and his group.
Perhaps this explains why the Nigerian Government has soft-pedaled on his arrest and prosecution. Tompolo is 46 years old this year and his birthday was celebrated with pomp and pageantry by his associates, cronies, fans and admirers on Wednesday the 4th of April in Warri town in Delta State. This birthday date is conflicting with other dates he is believed to have been born. It wouldn’t be surprising because after all everything about this man Tompolo is conflicting and he is, in fact, an enigma of a sort.