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Why Tinubu’s familiarity with Tompolo is necessary – Adamu Garba

Last week, Tinubu met with Tompolo, a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)...

Tinubu and Tompolo

A former presidential aspirant and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adamu Garba, has said Bola Tinubu’s romance with agitators such as Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo and Asari Dakubo, is “pragmatic, strategic and necessary”.

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In a recent interview on Arise TV, Garba said Tinubu's holding out an olive branch to bandits, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) outlaws, Eastern Security Network (ESN) members, and Boko Haram insurgents, is “an excellent move towards a general national reconciliation”.

What Garba said: “To the best of my knowledge, I think he is being pragmatic. There had been so much attacks against the so-called agitation in Niger Delta since General Sani Abacha days which was the dictatorial times. Was there any success?

“So if these people express willingness to join the formal economy and work for Nigeria, not against Nigeria, then who are you as a leader not to accommodate them?

“A situation whereby you have Tompolo, who used to do something evil and now comes back and say he wants to do something good in the interest of Nigeria, you will not be a good leader to throw him away because you are going to create multiple Tompolos that will come against Nigeria in the future,” Garba said.

Why this matters: Last week, Tinubu met with Tompolo, a former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

The 70-year-old visited Tompolo alongside traditional rulers and other Niger Delta stakeholders, where he interacted with the community on his plans ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

Who is Tompolo: Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo predominantly referred to by his sobriquet Tompolo is a former Nigerian militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and the chief priest of the Egbesu deity, which is the Niger-Deltan god of war.

For years Tompolo was a commander in various guerrilla groups in the Niger Delta which were all agitating against their perceived insensitivity of the federal government and the international oil companies towards to exploitation and degradation of the Niger Delta.

During his time as a guerrilla commander, he was able to drive the Nigerian government to grant amnesty to MEND members who decided to surrender. Tompolo was granted full amnesty as well as all of his men when he embraced the amnesty offer on the Federal Government of Nigeria under president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua on June 27, 2009.

Tompolo embraced amnesty on October 4, 2009, in order to allow for peace in the area, and for the government and oil companies to carry out development projects, and provide jobs and training.

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