Tompolo: A Tacky, Tadpole Militant

by Taju Tijani

With the mass, historic and hysterical surrender of the Boy’s Scout fighters along the Niger Creeks, it becomes obvious that the causal nexus of militancy has been defeated. What a sorry sight to see a rag tag multitude of untrained ‘freedom fighters’ hurry to surrender, unmindful of the generational shame of such a shameful show of capitulation.

Then the bedlam: AK-47, anti-aircraft guns, stun grenades, bayonets, all, willfully surrendered through the tempting prompting of the holy man of Abuja who promised amnesty, restitution, rehabilitation and the birth of good times along the battle zones. I am no clairvoyant, but militants’ thoughts are legible enough. That someday these restless airheads called militants will junk the cause for suits and bungalows in Lekki. What a self-fulfilling prophecy. I am in a jolly mood of triumphant exhilaration for exact prescience.

If the sight of the surrendered rag tag multitude of hungry fenfenefe militants was wretchedly executed, that of the fragmented leaders was an affront to honour; a shame to valour and an affirmation of our groveling and prostrate status before Northern rulers of our battered realm. Yoruba adage says, “death before dishonour” and which ideological disaster is more disastrous than the sight of cowardly militant leaders begging to surrender and escape a racing timeline that could mean death if breached. The very day a decision was made to impose a deadline on the militant struggle, that was the day light went out from the Niger Delta.

Then the rats began to emerge, juju armband and all, from their ratty holes. The sight reminded me of the old author of ‘mother of all battles’ Saddam Hussein when he was smoked out of his dingy rat hole in the firestorm of the Iraqi War. Bedraggled and drowsy, Saddam Hussein woke up from his underground soft bunker to the pulsating, nerve-wracking rock anthem of “We are going to rock you”. Rocked he was by the military hardware of the Western Forces. I should advice that Tompolo and other rats should be enpenned at the Boca Raton wilderness to go catch rats.

With the absence of any measured blend of honour and dignity, Siemens Nisor (Niger Delta Gueririla Fighters); Henry Binidodogba aka Egbema of the (Egbema Freedom Fighters), General Nikko Martins Sente (Niger Delta Freedom Fighters), Ateke Tom (Niger Delta Volunteer Movement) Dagogo Farah (MEND) and the biggest coward of them all, General Government (joker) Ekpomupola aka Tompolo of (MEND) betrayed a righteous cause that had all the indicia of strategic success. Looking lost, famished and bedraggled exactly like their alter ego Saddam Hussein, they tucked their militant tails in and offloaded their weaponry into the waiting soft palm of Abuja errand dogs. Tompolo, the feared demon of the creek and a man of thousand legends became the captive and failed fenfenefe militant. A fearless, courageous die-hard has now find a space in his heart to accept accommodation with the status quo and the Northern oppressors of his exploited region. Ah, the dominating North proudly dictated once more for the weak South the terms of surrender. A surrender rendered in nakedly servile language. With the right price combined with his own natural reflex to survive and enjoy the ‘spoils’ of war, a once valorized Tompolo immediately morphed into a tacky, pliable, pitiable, fenfenefe boy’s scout militant. Just like that! He..he..he…heee!

His dream of the Republic of the Niger Delta through amphibious struggle was capsized the moment doubt storm set on him. The attractive articulation of a new republic forged through contested struggle as envisioned by Isaac Adaka Boro has now been wrecked by Tompolo’s surrender to existential reality. Tompolo allowed himself to be embraced and inducted into the graft world of Abuja connectivity of ‘settlement’, contract patronage and monetised conscience. Where is the poetic justice in his surrender? The induction into new realm prosperity began with alacrity. The somnambulist high imam of Abuja gave Tompolo a ride in the Presidential Air Force jet, walked on long red carpet, cruised in dignified motorcade around Abuja and his Oporoza domain.

Ah, Tompolo is also promised a four-year-non-stop sum of N65,000.00 naira per month. Unlike Castro who rode into Havana in victory over Batista, tadpole Tompolo could only ride in defeat into Oporoza. There is plan for post-traumatic stress disorder to determine his sanity, the promise of a job in an oil company, house, cars, contracts, riches and holiday abroad. This cause-for-sale aberration is a disquieting humbug that shames the youths of the Yahoo generation. Fighting to receive banal blandishments or micro tokens will create credibility liability for future militants. The surrender will now encourage a new imperialistic remaping of the Delta oil exploration for more severe plundering.

There are troubling questions we need to pose here. Is the Northern amnesty designed to usher peace and stability and also re-ignite the old fire of agitation for Sovereign National Conference? Is the Northern amnesty undergirded by pluralism that will encourage round table discussion of fiscal federalism, revenue allocation, resource control and correction of the historical distortion of our separate nationalities?

If the letters of the amnesty is stripped of the above caveat, then the Barbary Apes of the North, their Southern puppets and the multinational oil company executives have succeeded in passing off dirty trick as sincere peace. Shell out of its rapacious interests has paid homage to the Abuja cipher on the success of the amnesty. I love peace with justice. Any peace at any price is a form of deception from the pit of hell. Any relationship built on peacekeeping will not last. What matter is justice and truth telling over peace. There is no justice yet for the people of the Niger Delta.

What Tompolo, the tacky, tadpole fenfenefe militant has done is to follow the narrow vision of charismatic revolutionary figures of Rosa Luxembourg, Leon Trotsky, Che Guevara and even Ho Chi Minh who at best were stirrer of popular emotions but dreadful deadwoods in their commitment to the salient purpose of armed struggle. The militants are not centred enough; not confident enough, not prescient enough to know that the North does not pretend to have their interest at heart and that the alchemy of their future must be decided through fight. Yes, bloody fight! More had been stolen from that region that armed struggle is the healing option—-the only restitution!

In my reckoning, the day of infamy was Saturday October 3, 2009. That was the day militants went into denial of regrettable reverse gear to embrace a futile peace that will soon melt away like snow. The militants failed to realize that their denial is not a reflex of logic but a reflection of the psychology of the denied who dream of aligning with the Joneses or the oppressors. However, what really grates and troubles my spirit is the compliance of our hope in their denial. Ah, what fenfenefe!!!

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1 comment

Dr. Lere Amusan November 17, 2009 - 4:58 pm

this is a good essay that looks into the crisis that a state of nigeria is contending with. i hope you will continue to let the nigerians know that indepth of the crisis in nigeria as a whole. the religious, ethnic and political problems. what of the retired and serving military officers input in the dislocation of the nigerian economy.


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