When the former ex-militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, vacated his seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to form a substantive Board for the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on May 31. It is believed that he would meet with the Minister of Niger-Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Notably, Tompolo’s involvement as well as Akpabio’s subsequent meeting at Oporoza with leaders of Niger-Delta ethnic nationalities, helped to defuse tensions that had arisen in the region as a result of the delay in establishing the NDDC Board, with militants threatening to strike at the end of the seven-day warning.
Tompolo’s treaty with Akpabio
After conferring with Akpabio, Tompolo issued the following statement: “The outcome of the meeting has been made public by the Minister.”
“He profusely promised to begin the process of NDDC constitution and inauguration of the substantive Board on or before Friday, June 4, 2021, and that he should be allowed to drive the process to completion on or before the end of June 2021.
“As it stands now, I have reluctantly accepted the outcome of the meeting.
“It is important to note at this point that I do not want anything to disrupt the relative peace that we have in the region.
“I accepted the meeting’s outcome based on this premise.
“The ultimate goal in this matter is for the Minister to keep his promise to begin the process of forming the NDDC Board right away.
“Government shenanigans must not be allowed in this matter because the NDDC Board is very dear to the people of the region.”
“We urged him (Akpabio) to return and inaugurate the NDDC Board before the deadline ends,” a leader of one of the Niger ethnic groups who met with the Minister stated, “but he was pleading that he be permitted June ending.”
However, three days before the end of the month, improbability has clouded the June ending date that stakeholders agreed upon with the Minister, who promised to drive the process.