Last month, YNaija.com launched its Monthly Citizenship Dispatches, which explores in detail, the lives and realities of Nigerian citizens across the country.
This month, the dispatches come from the Niger Delta, where our reporters have spent weeks digging deep into a part of the country oft reported about and sadly still mis-understood.
These are the stories we will share with you daily over the next two weeks – for the voices, the issues, the realities that fellow citizens living in the Delta have dealt with, and continue to deal with every day.
What do you do when, as one of the most wanted men in the country, the president grants you and your fellow militants in the Niger Delta amnesty and his successor hands you multimillion naira contracts to protect the waterways that you already have secure in your back pocket?
Open a charity to help your people, that’s what.
At least that was the route that Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo took in November 2012 when he launched the Tompolo Foundation with pomp and pageantry.
Chairman – Government Ekpemupolo
Executive Secretary – Paul Bebenimibo
Director of Education – Job Bebenimibo
Director Health Projects – Dr. Agagha Clarkson
The event which had all the trappings of a society wedding, held at at the popular Hotel Excel in Warri. Present were Nyesom Wike, who was representing then Vice President, Namadi Sambo and an aide of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan as well as Kingsley Kuku, then presidential adviser on amnesty and quite a number of traditional rulers from across the state. Of course, the man Tompolo was there as well, in a white tee; the logo of his charity emblazoned on it, and black trousers.
Over N100 million was raised at the launch. Top on the list of donors were Chief Ayiri Emami, now his archenemy and flamboyant banker, Tunde Ayeni who doled out N10million naira each.
On its one-year anniversary, the foundation claimed to have spent about one hundred and forty million Naira (N140 million) since its inception, including over N73 million on health facilities.
As it approaches the 3rd anniversary, here’s a timeline of the organisational milestones.
September 2012 – Tompolo Foundation launched in Warri, Delta State
2012 – Donation of relief materials worth several millions to ameliorate the suffering of victims of the flood at Bomadi.
October 2012 – Donation of free book, school uniforms, school bags, sandals to schools in the Warri South West LGA
April 2013 – Renovated and refurnished Okerenkoko & Okulagha Cottage Hospitals, while employing and paying over 20 medical personnel for both.
July 2013 – Nominated for Delta Role Model Awards
August 2013 – Organised a two-week capacity building training programme has been organised for teachers in public schools in Delta State.
March 2014 – The Foundation pays a courtesy visit to the Vanguard Media Head Office in Lagos.
July 2014 – The Foundation receives a state-of-the-art ambulance from the Delta State Oil Producing Area Commission (DESOPADEC)
July 2015 – The Foundation receives a donation of drugs and mosquito nets from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
October 2015 – Donation of mosquito nets & drugs to Yenizue-gene Primary Health Centre in Yenagoa
August 2016 – Awarded scholarships to seven Gbaramatu indigenes who bagged first class Degrees from the Benson Idahosa University (BIU), Edo State to further their education in a university of their choice anywhere in the world.