War rages between Uduaghan, Keyamo, and Tompolo

By admin on 30/10/2014

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The much awaited Local Government elections in Delta State have come and gone, but rather than calm nerves, it has raised a lot of dust. Activist Lagos lawyer Festus Keyamo hit town today, with a new twist to the story of the polls which have generated much controversies lately.

The controversies are now brewing a triangular war in the state between Keyamo; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; and Government Ekpemopolo, the ex-militant leader known popularly as Tompolo.

The first of the controversies was the call for the cancellation of the results of the entire polls by All Progressive Congress (APC). The party accused the electoral body, Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) of bias, and of perpetrating corrupt practices in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP had won in 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs), of results that have been announced so far, and APC's lawyers are already set for legal action.

The second controversy, which is threatening to plunge the state into anarchy, came from Warri, South-west LGA. Unforeseen, while the election went on, was the twist in the local government, which led to an alleged threat to the life of celebrated lawyer, Festus Keyamo over his stand on the election.

The lawyer had taken legal steps towards restituting the rights of his client, Weyinmi Omadeli, who was duly voted as PDP candidate in a proper primary held in August 2014 for the Chairmanship of the Council. But his name was substituted with that of George Ekpemupolo about 48hours to the October 25, 2014 polls.

 

Background:

Weyinmi Omadeli is an itsekiri, same tribe as the incumbent Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. He was given the PDP's ticket for the Chairmanship of his LGA. About 48hours to the polls, orders allegedly came from the Governor for him to be substituted with Ekpemupolo who is the younger brother of Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), a well-known ex-militant leader who is revered in Delta State and in Abuja. He it was, that received a contract on the surveillance of pipelines in the NigerDelta.

Now, based on this substitution, the renowned lawyer, Festus Keyamo was contracted as counsel on the matter by Omadeli. The position had previously been zoned to the Itsekiris and agreed upon by all stakeholders.

 

The Other Side:

The substitution, Factnews reliably gathered, was as a result of fear on the part of the Governor who was said to have 'felt' threatened by Tompolo, who asked for ‘a little favour'. The latter allegedly called the Governor asking questions on why his younger brother (George) could not be in government. He asked Uduaghan if he intends to be a Governor forever. He allegedly asked the Governor if the other people who presented candidates were bigger than him.

Instructively, Senator Patrick Osakwe presented his son as a candidate and his son is now the Chairman of Ndokwa West, amidst protests. Also favoured is the son of Chief Edwin Clark, Ebikeme Clark who got the nod and has been sworn as Chairman of Burutu LGA. All these, our source said, informed Tompolo's request for his recognition as a 'senior' kingmaker too even when it was not the turn of Ijaw to produce the Chairman.

Omadeli is said to be sponsored by another king maker, Emami Ayiri, the controversial Niger-Delta activist who is not ready to yield to Tompolo's powers but not willing to fight him openly. The duo is itsekiri and the Governor is preparing to go to the Senate for Delta-south which comprises Ijaw, Itsekiri and Isoko. This makes him feel threatened by the Ijaws who Tompolo and Clark represent.

 

Where We Are:

After the switch Tompolo’s brother was sworn in as Chairman (Chairman for the second time), but Omadeli insisted on getting his position back as the rightful candidate for the party. This was why he secured the services of Festus Keyamo, is now instituting legal action to get his mandate back. Keyamo took up the case and is now crying out over the alleged threat to his life by Tompolo.

Through an open letter he wrote to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Keyamo said: "At exactly 10:13p.m., on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, I received a telephone call from one Mr. Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo). We have been acquaintances in the past, so I know his numbers. After reaffirming that he is Tompolo when I picked his call, he went straight to the point by informing me that he wishes to inform me that he and his ‘boys’ will kill me by beating me to death or shooting me anywhere they can find me. And that the hunt for me is on. His exact words in pidgin English was ‘we dey look for you. Anywhere we see you, whether for Lagos or Abuja or Warri, we go beat you die or we go shoot you".

 

In case one is confused on why Tompolo is threatening him, Keyamo revealed that. "He said he would kill me because I have decided to take up the matter involving his blood brother, Mr. George Ekpemupolo, who was used to illegally substitute another candidate, Mr. Weyinmi Omadeli (48 hours to the election) in the Warri South-West L.G.A elections that were concluded last Saturday in Delta State.”

 

Uduaghan In The Picture:

Governor Uduaghan is said to have danced to the tune of Tompolo not just for security reasons since he has a tight security apparatus around him but for his personal political ambition - the Senate. Without the Ijaws, it will be difficult to get it realized. Chief Government Tompolo also has the ears of Abuja and can put in a bad word for Uduaghan. Uduaghan himself is struggling to please the President by all means with the aim of making him forget or forgive his relationship with Chief James Ibori both his life as a Governor and the one after. He has been taught to beware of the powers of the President and that of his other Ijaws kinsmen. Factnews gathered that this is one of the reasons why he agreed alongside Akwa'Ibom's Godswill Akpabio to champion President Goodluck Jonathan's re-election campaign.

All this informed what Keyamo termed  "whimsical, unjust, unfair, illegal, and ungodly decision,” which is capable of plunging the whole State into untold crisis. "Consequently, it is unacceptable and will be challenged legally and politically". Mr. Keyamo said Tompolo told him that nobody had ever challenged his authority in Delta State. He also revealed that the Governor is in the know of the threat to his life. “Co-incidentally, exactly three minutes after Tompolo dropped his line, His Excellency, Governor Uduaghan called me at exactly10.16pm, and I reported to him what just transpired between Tompolo and myself. The Governor promised to speak with him".

 

What the People Think:

Those who spoke with our reporter on conditions of anonymity opined that Uduaghan may have taken the substitution decision: firstly, to assuage the feelings of the ex-Ijaw militant Tompolo and his people; and secondly, to allow the courts make a possible reversal of the chairmanship to his itsekiri brother, Omadeli. Then he may have played safe politically.

It would be recalled that the same Festus Keyamo had gone to court in 2012, to challenge Uduaghan's DSIEC over the stipulated age of its chairman. But later withdrew the case in deference to an appeal by Governor Uduaghan and after a 'visit' to Asaba during NUJ Press Week that same year.

 

Posted on October, 30 2014

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