What is in a name? The eccentric economists Levitt and Dubner asked in their book Freakonomics and the answer will be startling to the average African – nothing.
However, I had often wondered why someone or his parents will pick up a name and call a guy “Government”. The word in itself connotes authority and the ability to shape the direction and affairs of a group of people. When the young man Tompolo hits the Nigerian news headlines as being a government in himself, controlling the enormous ill gotten wealth in crude bunkering and kidnapping in the creeks of the Niger Delta, I sighed a-ha.
Now, kidnapping is no longer in vogue, it is now the ability to shape the focus of Abuja and who gets what in the allocation of the resources coming from the creeks of the Delta. The news now is that our man, Government Tompolo himself, is now so influential in Aso Rock that he determines who gets what. If the news reported by Associated Press (and a few other Nigerian news agencies) is true, and there is no reason to believe otherwise, Government Ekpumopolo, a former militant leader in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta is linked to a private security company that signed a $103 million deal with the government to patrol the nation’s waterways against pirates.
Now the question that begs for answer is why Tompolo? Are the handlers of our national affairs serious minded at all? Doesn’t it dawn on them what the message being sent out to the wider public by this singular action is? Okay, I will help to put it in black and white, it simply states ” Hey you guys out there, if you take up arms against the state and are very forceful with it, we just might throw some millions of dollars towards you and make you welcome in the corridors of power”. So why do we bother about Boko Haram at all knowing that eventually these sponsors of state terrorism will be welcome to red carpet treatment in Abuja and some Juicy contracts, probably to police the entire north eastern corridor of Nigeria, will be thrown at them.
Don’t you just love this paradox and the tragedy we call government, oh in this case I mean Abuja and not the beloved Tompolo.