Alhaji Mujihad Dokubo-Asari is at it again! He has been making comments that are capable of upturning the fragile peace and stability that exist not only in Rivers State, but in the country. He has been telling the Rivers people of how the 2011 gubernatorial election would be in Rivers State since few days back that Dr. Abiye Sekibo, one time Minister of Transport, joined the Action Congress (ACN), Asari hold sway in. There is fear in the people, especially among the non-indigenes. But we pray that Rivers State does not go back to its forbidden rascality in the form of militancy by some miscreants who now walk the streets free because of the late President Musa Yar’Adua-initiated amnesty.
The fate of non-indigenes in the Rivers State should not be prejudiced or jeopardised as we have experienced incalculable damage of lives and property during the time of the militancy holocaust in Rivers State.
This is Asari we thought that have repented and stoop low to help our Rivers State burgeon. We can remember that on July 1, 2009, the news that the Governor Chibuike Amaechi-led Government of Rivers State and the unrepentant leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujihad Dokubo-Asari have reconciled their differences was everywhere.
The reconciliation was said to have been brokered by the then Rivers State Action Congress (AC) leader, Prince Tonye Princewill. The peace-talk was said to have taken place at the private residence of Amaechi in Port Harcourt.
It was gathered that Princewill drove Dokubo-Asari to the place. They retired to Amaechi’s inner room where various issues on their past and the need to move the state forward were discussed.
We have not forgotten what was on the news then: Asari acknowledged that his initial support for the Amaechi administration had faded and pointed out that this had been due to his perceived lack of appreciation to the then AC gesture, the lopsidedness with respect to development for people in the riverine areas and Amaechi’s definition of all involved in the Niger Delta struggle as criminals.
We have not forgotten that Asari said that his initial disposition showed he had no problem with Amaechi even though his dissatisfaction with the Supreme Court that brought Amaechi to power had been on record. Also that that it didn’t take much persuasion by his cousin, Prince Tonye Princewill to honour the invitation to dialogue with Amaechi and also revealed that he had advised Soberekon to do likewise in the interest of peace, not to deny him his right to pursue justice but to rise above litigious distractions in the interest of the state. So, we ask, why is Asari going back to his vomit by his present unfriendly utterances of how Amaechi did this or that as governor?
We remember that Amaechi expressed joy at the meeting and commended Princewill for the initiative proving yet again Princewill’s continued dedicated efforts to achieve peace in the state. We have not forgotten that Amaechi offered Asari a personal tour of the state to witness firsthand the ongoing projects across the 23 local governments with the objective of disproving the notions of marginalisation of any part of the state by Asari.
Amaechi said that everything he was doing in the upland areas he was also doing in the riverine areas except roads, which he said, due to a shortage of land, were not at that time possible. Amaechi said the reform in the education and health sectors had reached all parts of the state. Princewill reminded Amaechi and Dokubo-Asari that he was the one most impacted by their impasse during the concluding speech.
However, the Concerned Non-Indigenes in Rivers State (CONIRIV), warns that Asari should differentiate STRUGGLE from unwarranted unguided utterances he is making in recent times following the next year’s election. We know that he is not afraid of going to war against anybody or group that is ready to make war with the oil-rich region, but he is talking too many things about Nigeria and Rivers State at the same time, that are unacceptable by peace loving people of Rivers State. And these utterances are not good coming from a man who had in several forays said that he is not a Nigerian.
While he said that he is not a Nigerian, we wonder why he was responding to the statements once credited to some Northern leaders that the North will make Nigeria ungovernable for President Goodluck Jonathan. While we are not happy with the statement of some key northern leaders, we ask that the former Minister of Finance, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma; and Alhaji Tanko Yakassai should stop the needless agitation for a Northern president come 2011, as Nigeria is one, except they prove otherwise.
Reacting to the Ciromas, Asari was quoted as saying: “The drums of war have been sounded by the Ciromas, the Tanko Yakassais, the Ali Mungonus, the Ibrahim Rabius, we have heard it. But let me tell them that we are not afraid of war! Let them come with their war.”
Asari, who openly declared support for Jonathan, given that he has said that he is not a Nigerian, whereas he is a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said he was not in the party to sell his patrimony.
We are not saying that Asari has no right on who to support, but he should avoid any statement that is capable of heating up Rivers State like a plague; and he should allow Nigerians to protect their political aspirations.
We are not saying that Jonathan is not his brother, but he should avoid any politics of scoring cheap publicity. We have heard him say: “I pray for him as a brother. Jonathan is my brother and I will stand by him any day, any time, whether I benefit from him or not. I have no apology to tender to you or anybody.”
We must say that we do not want any form of re-arm of militants in Rivers State, and indeed, in Nigeria.
The bomb explosion in Abuja on October 1, 2010, wasn’t acceptable by us, but we praise Dokubo-Asari as he said, “Fifteen days before then (the bomb blasts), the intelligence unit of NDPVF had a stunning revelation and uncovered a plot by Henry Okah to re-arm militants and to re-arm his criminal gangs in the region.We intercepted large caches of arms that were being sent to his new recruits around the Bonny, New Calabar, Sombreiro and St. Bartholomew rivers. This information was promptly forwarded to the security agencies that Henry Okah was up to something. These persons in government and its agencies dismissed it, saying that I was a rabid hater of Henry Okah. And this information was passed by some unscrupulous top government officials to Henry Okah, that Asari had informed them that he, Henry Okah, was planning something. What a shame!!!” We want him to help beef-up security in Rivers State than making people crestfallen with comments on how next year’s election in the state would be.
However, we must say that Asari is a complicated figure. Imagine that he was born Dokubo Melford Goodhead Jr. in the early 1960s to a Christian family, he dropped out of the University of Calabar in 1990 and later the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, citing problems with university authorities who apparently disapproved of his activism. He converted to Islam and changed his name, spending much of the 1990s in failed attempts to win regional political positions. As a member of the Movement for the Survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality (MOSIEN), which remains a militant activist organization today, fellow activists say he was already vocal about what he regarded as the need for an independent Ijaw nation. Asari claims to have been influential in founding the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the pan-Ijaw group that has tried to coordinate activist and militant efforts to force greater political and economic rights for the ethnicity. Yet he was not present during the IYC's Kaiama Declaration of December 1998, which asserted that all land and natural resources within Ijaw territory belong to Ijaws and warned oil companies they would be considered "enemy" if they relied on military protection. And many things happened thereafter.
We warn that Asari should stop talking flagrantly on issues as they relate to Rivers State. He can’t be a non-Nigerian, and at the same time holding the leadership of ACN in Rivers State, and casting debasement on the leadership of Amaechi, which he does not know much about. Can he do his as a “struggler” job and do Amaechi’s? Though, Asari has the right not to accept amnesty. It is high time Asari began to face the reality, than playing two side wings. He should leave sectionalism, regionalism, tribalism, fascism and nepotism aside, so that Nigerians could move Nigeria forward.