ANN-KIO BRIGGS & TOMPOLO; THE TWO WHO MUST RISE and now…
DAWN BECKONS in the NIGER DELTA and the natives begin their daily quests for improvement solely focused on tomorrow. Unbeknownst to them, tomorrow may not come, not of their doing, with opportunities for such improvement.
THERE ARE THOSE who would claim to speak for them and there are those who fight but not for their cause. I have no idea how many of such genuinely play either role.
WITHOUT ANY special affiliations but with a vested interest in the future of the Niger Delta, I would say to the two more prominent of the claimants to the interest of the Niger Delta to STAND UP NOW!
ANN-KIO BRIGGS I have never met but has been very visible in the Niger Delta cause. I have had numerous reasons to disagree with some of her positions taken but was greatly encouraged to call her out following a recent interview, as reported, on the CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS around the resurgent Militancy in the Region.
I have NO DOUBTS as to her importance and influence in the region. Years of tracking her have shown that she has the capacity to command the respect of the various parties and stakeholders in the Niger Delta cause.
ANN-KIO BRIGGS must not let the Niger Delta burn. She must hold it together and I respectfully challenge her to do so.
HIGH CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO aka TOMPOLO is different kettle of fish. I have had the opportunity to meet with him and spend some considerable time doing so. I do not claim to be his personal friend but I can tell you something about this chap.
OF ALL the claimants to the notion of LEADER amongst the various groups of the aggrieved, IN MY OPINION, Tompolo is the Man. You need to sit with this man to feel the POWER he exudes, albeit in complete silence.
FOR ALL THE BRAGGADOCCIO portrayed by the noisier, more abrasive Militancy Group Leaders, the POWER lays with TOMPOLO. He may not be the most articulate of them nor the brashest but behind that QUIET, COLD, EXPRESSIONLESS FACE laid a SMART, CALCULATED and BRAVE WARRIOR. He is simply SCARY and without flinching you felt it.
The ONLY sign of life TOMPOLO showed me was when I asked him about CAMP FIVE. He was NEVER going to answer that but the answers were already there. When he finally whispered ” I dey Vess “, my liver failed but it had nothing to do with the question I dared ask him…phew!
TOMPOLO SAW TODAY coming a few years ago but it is not why you think. He had been given and taken the opportunity to walk away from Militancy yet remain in a position of influence.
Tompolo’s worry was that DESPITE the AMNESTY PROGRAMME, the ‘younger boys’ were still restless. It had nothing to do with the Niger Delta Cause but what they saw as being ‘marginalised’ away from what they deemed ‘benefits’ which accrued to “the leaders”. How to keep the ‘younger ones’ happy was the challenge.
Tompolo’s personal wishes going forward were somewhat laudable. He wanted Schools and Clinics and Roads built and provided for his region.
REGARDLESS of what you may think of how he got there, TOMPOLO was GENUINELY, in my opinion, wanting an improvement for his people. He was probably not on the same page as other Niger Delta militant “Leaders” who similarly emerged.
HE MAY NOT have been the most-educated, most-coherent or even most admired of them all but I had, and still have, the impression he was the most-powerful.
IF WE STRIP away the current dilemma Tompolo has with the Federal Government, TOMPOLO and not the clowns and academics who sit far away from the theatre espousing big English after failing to take the opportunities certain access accorded them, would be the man to have temper the resurgence of Militancy in the Niger Delta.
MY DIRECT CHALLENGE is to ANN-KIO BRIGGS and HIGH CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO aka TOMPOLO….You CANNOT LET THE NIGER DELTA BURN!
It is time to stand up for the safety and future of our Peoples and the Land…May You Both Live Long!
By: Ivor Ekpe