Plans by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to have ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, withdraw his ultimatum, concerning the constitution of a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), have hit the rock.
The respected Niger Delta agitator had issued a 7-day ultimatum for Akpabio and the federal government to constitute the board of the NDDC or be prepared for dire consequences in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Tompolo’s ultimatum gained popularity as several other ex-militants lent their voices to the ultimatum, threatening that they were prepared to join the Gbaramatu chief in the action to compel the federal government to constitute a substantive board for the NDDC.
It will be recalled that the issue of asking the federal government to give the NDDC a substantive board started with the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), which gave the central government a 30-day ultimatum.
At the expiration of the IYC ultimatum, the group had shut down NDDC offices across the states in the region.
Nigerdeltaconnect gathered that on May 5, the Isoko National Assembly led by Comrade Amos Ogbokor-Etaluku had urged the federal government not to use the forensic audit as a ploy to continue with the sole administrator to run the NDDC, calling on the Buhari-led federal government to constitute the NDDC board promptly.
It was while this was going on that Tompolo issued his own ultimatum.
Consequent upon Tompolo’s ultimatum, Akpabio had assembled a delegation to prevail on Tompolo to withdraw his ultimatum and give the government some more time.
Akpabio’s delegation, comprising some notable Niger Delta leaders, was led by a former IYC President and Special Assistant on Youth Matters to NDDC Sole Administrator, Udengs Eradiri.
It was gathered that the delegation did not succeed as it was unable to prevail on Tompolo to withdraw the threat.
Tompolo was said to have rejected the plea of members of the delegation and informed them through his representatives that it was too late to retract the ultimatum and urged them to tell the minister to do the right thing.
Tompolo’s position is that the continued stay of a sole administrator for the commission was capable of causing fresh unrest and disruption of oil production activities in the region.
The former MEND leader had, in an earlier statement, said there is no provision for either interim management or sole administrator in the act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission, stating that the commission was established to attend to the developmental needs of nine states of Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.
Tompolo’s ultimatum is generating tension in the Niger Delta region as the failure of the federal government to constitute the NDDC board in the next few days may lead to a resumption of
hostilities and unrest in the peaceful but fragile Niger-Delta region.
Tompolo’s ultimatum was issued on May 30 and expires on Sunday, June 6.