Dokubo-Asari: The masses and their bearers By Adeolu Ademoyo

Adeolu Ademoyo

Not long ago, Mr. Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari  of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, along with other groups from North-central, South-east and South-south geopolitical zones were said to have held a meeting to strategize on how to retain power in Nigeria beyond 2015. According to reports, part of the agenda is to ensure that power does not shift to the core North now or in the nearest future. Mr. Dokubo-Asari and his group have not denied this meeting and its agenda.

Surely, part of the strength of a  democracy lies in the extent of its openness. Thus, on the surface, the openness of democracy would seem to confer moral soundness and legitimacy on Mr. Asari’s groups and their agenda. Also, it would confer same soundness on the agenda of similar zonal groups who are presumably doing the same thing Mr. Dokubo-Asari’s groups are doing-either to get back power or to strategize on how not to relinquish power. But this is an unsound proposition for it is not obvious if this is what ought to be the face of power or how it ought to be used.

Talking about power this way without showing how it has benefited the material and living conditions of Nigerians is morally unsound because the open nature of democracy that allows people to articulate their position is one thing, what is done with such openness is another.

Thus, there is a serious moral problem with the agenda of Mr. Dokubo-Asari and similar agenda across all of Nigeria’s political zones that are ready to take advantage of the openness of democracy while ignoring the moral entanglements, and moral expectations and obligations   of democracy to Nigerians and their material conditions.

This is because Mr. Asari and other so-called leaders of Nigeria’s geographical zones on one hand protect their political elites who wantonly raid and loot the resources of the country and store them for their families while on the other hand they take public stand on behalf of the “masses” and some silly, ill-conceived and amorphous geographical zones. The relevant question is never asked, which is that: what have the likes of Mr. Dokubo-Asari – who perhaps must have felt he and his terrorist and armed bands in the Niger Delta are responsible for Mr. Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency – done to improve the living and material conditions of the “masses” on whose behalf they want to remind us they hold power and wish to retain it?

Until Mr. Dokubo-Asari’s open declaration, I never knew that power is seen in our country  as residing in a particular zone, or that it is being held on behalf of a zone, and that it is waiting either to be retained in its present zone of residence or reclaimed by power’s previous hosts.  This seems to be a dreadful conception of power in our country, a country that is facing serious challenges of infrastructure and massive poverty. This conception of power, which is not tied to how the living conditions of peoples are improved on a massive scale, simply shows that the so-called present power hosts implied by and in  Mr. Dokubo-Asari’s words  do not care a hoot about Nigeria. And that is sad.

And If Mr. Asari’s proposition is true and not challenged by the presidency, it implies that the president, Goodluck Jonathan is seen as ruling on behalf of Mr. Dokubo –Asari’s zone and not on behalf of Nigerians, and that other zones are trying to dislodge Mr. Goodluck Jonathan on behalf of their own zones. This is equally silly and unserious when the primary task is how to make Nigeria work and become competitive and attractive again.

Some commentators see this way of looking at power as a recipe for disintegration. While they may be right, I think Mr. Dokubo-Asari and his clique’s  way of looking at power in the 21st century is worse than being a recipe for disintegration. The simple thought of keeping power on behalf of a zone is primitive, it is archaic, it is a village conception of power, and it is morally opportunistic.

Sadly, given the environmental devastation, historical neglect and the acute injustice and poverty in the oil producing areas of our country, Nigerians understand the basis of the position and demands of the oil producing areas of Nigeria. But what are incomprehensible are the demands of elements like Mr. Asari on one hand and the readiness to look the other way when leaders from same region loot  and raid the treasuries of their zone. When zonal men like Mr. Dokubo-Asari are ready to look the other way when their own political elites raid the treasuries in “their zone” we must ask for the meaning of power.

In this regard, I will like to know what Mr. Asari thinks of the daylight robbery and raid that both Messrs Diepreye Alamieyeseigba  and James Ibori,  former governors from the same zone as Mr. Dokubo-Asari, conducted on the treasuries from their zone and what this means for power. Were Messrs Alamieyeseigba  and Ibori  holding power on behalf of their peoples? What is the impact of their keeping power on qualitative education, security, food, good clothing, infrastructure etc. I am not sure if Mr. Dokubo-Asari’s understanding of power has any moral content to it beyond the crudity and nakedness of power and that is morally unsound.

Adeolu Ademoyo: aaa54@cornell.edu Africana Studies Department, Cornell University, Ithaca New York.

 


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  • Benedicta

    AN interesting piece. Unfortunately, I do not think Asari Dokubo can make sense out of this. This piece is for intellectuals and not for Asaris of this world who only understand power from the point of

  • $10747357

    Mr Ademoyo’s write up in my opinion is biased and insulting. Your calling him a terrorist exposed that bias. The rulership of Nigeria has been on tribal, religious, or zonal basis since her history . The bias did not allow him to remember the zoning in PDP and the resultant problem during the last “election’.
    He is pretending to be enlightened by asking Dokubo to do everything in the open forgetting that people do plan sometimes in secret before announcing the agenda – many examples in the Nigerian society.
    The article does nothing but expose the writer”s dislike for the group he mentioned and that is parochial at the minimum.

  • concernednigerian

    Absolute rubbish. Dokubo was only reacting to those who not only publicly but in their secret conclave have vowed to make the country ungovernable for Jonathan. The Niger Delta activists have been very vocal in condemning the excesses of their governments and as usual Dokubo was the most vocal during the Alamieyeseigha saga in Bayelsa until he was clamped into jail. However the message Dokubo is putting across on this occasion is that Jonathan came from a zone and will have to run in 2015 whether he likes it or not. Other wise history will blame him for emasculating and working against the political interests of the South South and by implication the entire Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt. If so called military ‘presidents’ had two terms in power of about eight years why push out this fellow Nigerian from presenting himself to the Nigerian electorate in 2015? Moreover, there is a mood brewing in Nigeria which some people have chosen to ignore: those who suffer pollution and environmental degradation in the interest of the common good will not be eager to allow people from economically redundant areas to grab power and preside over proceed of resources from other economically viable areas of the country. So the first step to gaining power is to revive the economy of your part of the country.

  • Gladday4real

    This is absolutely rubbish. Even the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria recognises such things as rotation and federal character in the distribution of power and positions. If you must quarrel, fight for the amendment of your constitution so that merit will be considered above ethnicity. Obasanjo was first a yoruba man before being a Nigerian. So was Babangida, Buhari, Shagari and the others. Each represented first a zone. Forcing Jonathan to rule only one term is unfair, unacceptable and injustice. Each zone should have an equitable distribution of period it stayed in power for the purposes of stability. On what the leaders of the zones did with the power given to them should be left for the people of the area to evaluate. South-south must be allowed to complete their 8 year tenure come 2015.

  • simonibekwe

    I couldn’t see how this writer could be accused of parochialism for stating the fundamentalism of access to political power. Asari and his minions are too crude to comprehend the writer. If the acquisition of power is to further ones mundane and personal interests then we had better stand up to PDP and recover our nation from the parasites.

    • igboham

      Chief Ibekwe

      The article you refereed to was over 11 months ago but I happen to remember a bit of it.

      I believe that dokubo is fighting for the self determination of his people and i have no reason to doubt his motive. I just wish that my own people were more like him. In the absence of that, I must support a freedom fighter no matter what.
      You stated that you could not see how my accusation of adebo arose but went on to mention Pdp etc but nothing to counteract my logic that nigeria is warped and Dokubo has a legitimate right to counter the injustice. I careless about PDP or any else happening in Nigeria outside freedom for its peoples.particularly mine.
      I like logical discourse so let us have one..
      Thanks bro.

      • simonibekwe

        I have no problems if you want to support anybody for that is your personal right. Asari to me is not a freedom fighter but a common criminal who is counterfeiting and masquerading freedom fighting. He represent all that is wrong with Nigerian Nation. A freedom fighter does not sit in the comfort zone of highbrow section of Abuja to claim to be a freedom fighter. When i see a freedom fighter i surely will know one. What Nigeria needs is purposeful, clear headed and corrupt free leadership then we will take our rightful position in the committee of nations. Of course the present leadership have not displayed it and cannot do it for you could not give what have you not.