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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

ASARI DOKUBO: A LEGENDARY ICON OF OUR TIME, BORN IN THE MONTH OF JUNE

ASARI DOKUBO: A LEGENDARY ICON OF OUR TIME, BORN IN THE MONTH OF JUNE

Dokubo

Written by Godswill Leeleebari Gabriel
For Family Writers Press

INTRODUCTION

This is certainly not one of those articles put together to massage individualistic ego but that meant to prudently evaluate and eulogies the beauty of integrity, purposeful living hard work and untainted resilience. Amongst humans, lies good deeds of great men which often seem only appreciable when they go the way of all mortals (die), thereby introducing the reverberating song of consolation: "only remembered by what you have done". Wisdom however, demands that we give, appreciate and celebrate our own even while yet alive.

Asari Dokubo, formally known as Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jnr, was born on June 1964 into a Christian family from Sagbama who were based in Warri, Delta State, as a gift to the Ijaw Clan in the so-called Niger Delta area of Nigeria. He attended both Primary and Secondary Schools in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He grew up getting increasingly disenchanted with the gross marginalization, economic emasculation and victimization of his people, orchestrated by the Hausa-Fulani oligarchy and their British overlords. Though he was still very young then, he decided to chart a course of emancipation for a better tomorrow within the Nigerian context, but later discovered the foundational structure of the Nigerian State which was exclusively premised on policies inimical to the survival of the Ijaw nation.

Undeterred by the oppressive tendencies of the Nigerian rulers, the man Asari Dokubo persisted in his dream of pursuing academic excellence. He gained admission into a tertiary institution to study law at the University of Calabar. This was however truncated due to corruption and victimization antecedents of the University authorities. He could not compromise his stance on truth, transparency, accountability and integrity. He made fruitless attempts to further his education at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, as his disdain for corruption prevalent in the Nigerian system could not permit him. The forces of evil in Nigeria associated themselves to forestall the academic desire and potentials of this promising young fellow. But destiny cannot be perpetually caged. He determined that as far as he was concerned, truth will never be compromised.

ASARI DOKUBO, THE ACTIVIST

After the gruesome execution of the late  environmental activist/writer, Kenule Saro Wiwa and other eight Ogoni indigenes popularly referred to as the "OGONI NINE"ficer in the year 1995 by the then military administration of late General Sani Abacha, the coastal region of Biafra (so-called Niger Delta), was thrown into turmoil and hopelessness. It was like who will go for us? The colossal pollution of the environments (air, land and sea) by the oil multinationals persisted unabated. It was "all for the Nigerian government and absolutely nothing for the oil bearing communities/people".

Dokubo
Jolted by this seemingly endemic but gradual impoverishment and annihilation, Asari Dokubo and a handful of few other good spirited individuals from the Ijaw Clan, sprang up in unison to frontally resist the destructive anomaly of the Nigerian State and her foreign allies operating as oil multinationals. The oppression, repression and enslavement of the Ijaw ethnic nationality have to be challenged. It was this conceptualized body of resistance that gave birth to IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL (IYC) in the year 1998, with Asari Dokubo becoming the pioneer Vice President of the Organization, and later the President in 2001.

Consequently, the Kaiama Declaration was made, urging the oil companies carrying out activities within Ijawland to suspend operations and withdraw from the territory, owing to the devastating effects of their activities on both the environments and the people. The IYC further pledged to remain peaceful in it's quest for freedom and ecological justice. This position was however blatantly snubbed by the oil companies and the Nigerian government, arrogantly stating that all the resources within the territory of Ijawland wholesomely belong to the Nigerian State. This oppressive tendencies of the government never deterred the man, Asari Dokubo.

The excruciating plights of the people thereby gave birth to the declaration of "OPERATION CLIMATE CHANGE" which included peaceful protests down to the gates of the oil multinational companies, to strongly register the grievances of the people. These were responded to by the Nigerian government, with measures of forceful crackdown and brutal repressions including military invasions of Ijaw communities and rampant raping of the women. With these unfolding bizarre developments, Asari Dokubo seized to see himself as a Nigerian and decided to stake his life for the liberation of his people. He formed the formidable and largely dreaded Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) in the year, 2004 to checkmate the destructive approaches of the Nigerian government and pressure with the agenda of RESOURCE CONTROL. Determined to have it's way, the Nigerian government responded with the deployment of various degrees of military arsenals and personnel to the Niger Delta instead of listening to the cries of the aggrieved people. The whole scenario played out this popular saying "when justice becomes law, resistance becomes duty". The forceful and indiscriminate use of lethal weapons nonetheless, the NDPVF led by Asari Dokubo strongly posed an uncrushable force to contend with. The Nigerian military woefully failed in it's vampiric enterprise to quench the burning determination of the  oppressed people and as a result, oil exploitation and exploration activities were completely brought to a halt. Production output dropped below marginal level.

ASARI DOKUBO, THE VICTIM OF SABOTAGE

The appearance of parallel and renegade bodies to counter the drive of the genuine freedom fighters is not new in the British enclave called Nigeria. The Nigerian government has always employed antics to frustrate the good intents of the people meant to better their lives and that of their upcoming generations. Asari Dokubo fought so vehemently under the umbrella body of the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF), to press home the people's unambiguous demand for freedom, justice and total control of their God-given resources. When the Nigerian government in it's desperation and frustration noticed it cannot prevail against the resilient spirit of the Great Lion of the South, the sponsorship of a renegade group became the only available alternative.  A group known as Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV) which labored strenuously to hamper the activities of the NDPVF was created. This was the shameless game of a government whose duty it is to wholesomely cater for the welfare and well-being of the citizens. It aided the creation of an in-house or better still, subterfuge war within the region which will surreptitiously attract it's officials as mediators, tagging the freedom fighters, militants. This never debarred the man Asari Dokubo as he meticulously, fought on. This resilience prompted the then government of Olusegun Obasanjo to extend invitation to the freedom fighters for peace talks. Living true to his convictions, Asari Dokubo strongly resisted all enticing inducements from the Nigerian government and pointedly refused to recognize Obasanjo as his President. Asari Dokubo's blunt refusal to sell out the collective will of his people, attracted his arrest and incarceration in an underground secret cell for one year and two months. He was there subjected to horrific tortures but he remained resolute and unyielding. He has encountered many terrific and life threatening circumstances but like the biblical Caleb, has enjoyed the favor and protection of the Almighty God. He remained undaunted for the fulfillment of divine purposes.

THE WISDOM OF THE MAN ASARI DOKUBO

While still in secretive custody of the Nigerian State, the government floated the criminal Amnesty Program. Many lily-livered individuals were hoodwinked. They surrendered to the government as repentant militants/criminals and were granted "state pardon" with stipends from the resources deposited in their fatherland. The man Asari Dokubo bluntly refused the criminal/militant tag and uncompromisingly rejected the criminal Amnesty Program mantra. He unequivocally stated that it was an insult to his personality as an Ijaw man and that the quest for freedom and justice can never be a criminal offence. This can never be compromised. He has remained the only courageous lone voice that speaks against the oppression of his people by the Nigerian government in the coastal area of Biafraland.

Asari Dokubo in his wisdom, has refused making any form of investment in Nigeria which he sees as the habitation of Lucifer, controlled by the satanic Fulanis that will eventually turn around to confiscate them as he remains an opposing voice from that region of Biafra. He pledged his allegiance to Benin Republic, without which, he would have been a poor fellow today.

ASARI DOKUBO IN OUR PRESENT TIME AND THE BIAFRA AGITATION

Asari Dokubo while speaking on Radio Biafra London stated "Asking me if I am a Biafran, is like asking me if my name is Asari Dokubo. We, the Ijaws are even more Biafrans than the Igbos. They said I am following Nnamdi Kanu and I said why not? If Nnamdi Kanu is doing better than me in restoring Biafra, then it is only wise that I follow him".

It is noteworthy to state here that at a time when men are shamelessly hiding under their wives' wrappers and in their mothers' kitchens, Asari Dokubo courageously stood up to get identified with the Biafran restoration cause. He has been campaigning vigorously for the coastal region of Biafra to rise up and embrace the emancipation drive. The man Asari Dokubo has continued to stand on the side of justice and is unrelentlessly fighting in defense at all cost, of what he unrepentantly believes in.

Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo 'The Great',
The Edi Abali of Kalabari
The Fearless Lion of the Coastal Area of Biafra
The Master of the Creeks and the Ocean

You have done exceptionally well but like the proverbial Oliver Twist, my prayer is: "May God keep and strengthen you to do more".

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU SIR!

Edited by Peter Oshagwu
For Family Writers Press

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