Tompolo, Vanishing Courage, Rule of Law and Hypocrisy
By Taju Tijani
The legend of brutal valour and courage associated with High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, the commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, is now becoming a myth with his Houdini-like disappearance from his stronghold of the creek estuary. Tompolo, the feared demon of the creek and a man of thousand legends has melt away leaving his troops in bewildering shock. This man is a coward. This man is a manipulative genius who used innocent young men to pursue a personal glory. All his irritating bluff and rigid adherence to low life of armed struggle has now blown off to reveal a calculating character from the swamp.
All the restless, emergency airheads who are making the rounds and warming sofas at our television studious as apostles of rule of law are not debating the flagrant abuse of rule of law of the highest criminality of Tompolo, but are damn too quick to label President Mohammadu Buhari as a breacher of rule of law. The airwaves are not jammed with the debate of Tompolo’s hide and seek; the radio stations are not making jingles of the most wanted criminal in Nigeria, our editorials are not dripping with bloody denunciations of a coward whose new status as a billionaire is under scrutiny.
At present, Nigeria is bleeding from a million cuts. From corruption, feudal mindset, political impunity, elite solidarity against change, ethnic jingoism, anti-Buharism and tribal fetters. If Nigerians understood how much of their money was looted and salted away by a tiny, shameless elites of which Tompolo – the boy’s scout – is a new convert, we would launch a full blown air, land and sea search for such a greed-addicted hooligan whose once courageous balls are now deflated by a strange juvenile fear of justice.
Tacky Tompolo, the Ibe-ebidouwei of Ijaw nation (someone who wants the good of Ijaw nation), is said to be revered in his Gbaramatu/Oporoza hideout. There is nothing more sacrilegious than honouring a criminal, which, by extension is the disease of this nation. How can anybody honour a runaway from justice? How can anybody honour a man who is fanning the embers of tribal animosity between the Ijaw and the nation at large? How can we honour a man who is threatening the economic life source of Nigeria? How can a destroying volcano like Tompolo whose speciality is blowing up gas pipe lines be given any honour? How can a war-mongering rascal be given any honour?
Tompolo is a classic case of a nation that has allowed corrupt individuals and their interests capture the moral high ground while the interests of the masses are treated with stupendous contempt. The hypocrisy of the judiciary in the struggle against corruption and those accused of corrupt enrichment is a testament to this orthodoxy.
A fugitive who is running from justice, according to some of our overeducated Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), is not in breach of rule of law but the swamping of Gbaramatu Kingdom with law enforcement officers is regarded as a breach of rule of law. This judiciary hypocrisy is weakening the fight against corruption. Tompolo is shaming himself, his Ijaw nation, our law and government by his condemnable contempt of court summons.
Tompolo’s charge sheet reads like a crook’s manual. He was charged by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of N34bn fraud. The Federal High Court summons compelled Tompolo to appear before the court to face a 40-count charge of conversion of several millions of naira, dollars and property belonging to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to personal use. The outlaw and untouchable has since jump ship and melted into the sewer. His outlaw followers have been threatening thunder and brimstones if their man is arrested let alone prosecuted.
Mr Government (what irony) can run and hide, but the long arm of the law shall caught up with him someday. He should check the record of fugitives. Someday soon, Tompolo will be looking lost, bedraggled and famished just like known fugitives in the mould of Saddam Hussein and Ghadafi before they were smoked out of their rat holes. Then, the Ibe-ebidouwei of Ijaw nation will have lost all spaces for our compassion and support. His dream of the Republic of Niger Delta through amphibious armed struggle is already capsized. His ugly articulation of a new republic forged through a contested struggle as envisioned by Isaac Adaka Boro has now been wrecked by cowardice, corruption, lawlessness, zero leadership and disastrous disrespect for our judiciary.
What we can conclude about the life of Tompolo follows closely the narrow vision of revolutionary figures like Che Guevara, Leon Trotsky and even Ho Chi Minh, who at best were mere stirrer of mass emotions but dreadful deadwoods in their commitment to the salient purpose of armed struggle. Tompolo failed to realise that his judicial heist is not a reflex of logic but a reflection of his guilt, fear and future restitution through a long jail term.