Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has failed to
meet the expectation of the people as it lacks any focus to reposition the nation. In this interview, he speaks on a lot of issues. Excerpts:
President Muhammadu Buhari has spent 100 days in office, what are your reflections on the effort of his administration so far?
We are all here and we have seen that the government of President Buhari has no direction. The government so far has achieved nothing but to make noise. All sorts of lies are being told that power is stable. I do not know where power is stable because where I am staying, there is no power. It may be stable in other places but maybe it is a punishment to us. Perhaps, we are among the seven per cent that did not vote for him, so we are being punished. He has not built anything and there is no policy thrust. There is no economic policy and there is nothing in place to show that a government is in power. Somebody is managing the country as a sole administrator. This is how Hitler came. Everybody who supported him was applauding him until it was too late.
What is your take particularly on the issue of appointments, which many believe is lopsided in favour of the North?
I am not interested in the issue of appointment and I am not expecting that he should appoint me. If he does not find his followers and those who supported him among our people worthy of appointment, why should I speak for them? They betrayed us. So, if it is the reward for their treachery, so be it. I am not interested. They knew him. They knew that this is what Buhari is before they brought him and said we should vote for him and they led him to power. So, whatever they are doing, they knew that this is the way he would behave. Why should I bother? If he likes, he should appoint his children. I do not care. That is their business and so how does that affect me.
In your calculation, what is the future of Nigeria under President Buhari? In the next four years of Buhari’s administration, what are we likely to see?
Nigeria has no future under President Buhari. There is no more rule of law since this administration came on board. So, because Akwa Ibom is a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state, the State Security Service (SSS) would invade the state Government House and do whatever pleases them. That is democratic sacrilege. The tribunals in Rivers State, they would just go to the tribunal and find out that the chairman has been changed and that a new chairman has been brought in place of the former one. Just all sorts of things go on and people have no respect for the rule of law. The court would give an order and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under President Buhari’s nephew, Mrs Zakari would give a different order. So, these are the issues and I think that what President Buhari is doing has vindicated most of us who said that this man is not even qualified to be a councillor let alone being the chairman of a local government. And we are now talking about the president of Nigeria. It is an assault, an affront on Nigeria that a man like this is made the president of the federal republic of Nigeria. We are becoming a laughing stock. When people are celebrating him, we just laugh. Seriously, Nigeria is becoming a laughing stock among the comity of nations. He goes somewhere and he calls somebody a different name and he commits all sorts of blunders and then people are saying there is progress in the country since he came. How can there be progress when the economy of Nigeria has almost collapsed. I saw it on CNN that the economy of Nigeria has shrunk by 25 per cent in the last three months. So, in four years, how would the economy be under President Buhari’s administration?
Even though you are from Rivers State, as an Ijaw man, what do you foresee of the outcome of the December 5 governorship election in Bayelsa State?
For me, talking sincerely, President Buhari’s government does not have respect for the rule of law; this is a government that is thoroughly disconnected from democratic norms. It has control of the Nigerian Police, the Armed forces, the Daura SSS, the INEC and other institutions. They are going to manipulate the process to capture and conquer Bayelsa State. But I know the Ijaw people. You do not dare the Ijaw people. You do not push the Ijaw people because when you push the Ijaw people, when they charge back at you, it will be very dangerous. I think if President Buhari is sensible, which I do not think he is, he should allow the December 5 election to follow the rule of law. Let the election be free and fair. If there is a free and fair election, Governor Seriake Dickson will win in all the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State.
As an Ijaw man, after the presidential election, how did you feel the day the former president, Goodluck Jonathan conceded power to President Buhari?
I did not support Goodluck Jonathan and I have never been a supporter of Jonathan. I supported something greater than Goodluck Jonathan. I have said it severally that if it is Goodluck alone, I did not support him. It is what Goodluck represented that we supported and that we will continue to support. And everybody is seeing it now. We do not need to be told. Goodluck represents the good light to the people while President Buhari represents darkness. Goodluck represents the downtrodden and disposed people of Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno, Plateau, Benue, Rivers and Akwa Ibom. They voted for the All Progressives Congress (APC) but today in Plateau State, they are demonstrating that the Gambari people are killing them. Why? You used your hands to kill yourselves, so why are you demonstrating? What are you talking about? You deserve it? In Benue State, they are also shouting; you deserve it. It is either you voted or you assisted them to rig the election. I felt bad because it has taken us backward. We are way backward. I did not support President Goodluck Jonathan. Since he lost election and left power, yesterday (September 8) during Dickson’s declaration for a second term that I saw him for the first time. I felt bad.
You are saying that you did not support Jonathan when they said you got a lot of security contracts from his administration to secure the oil pipelines?
Let them go now. I think that they are freezing people’s accounts. Let them go and be looking for my own bank accounts to freeze. I must tell you that Goodluck is a good man as a person. Let me tell you; the truth is that the Ijaw people ought to be abusing Goodluck, the Itsekiri people ought to be abusing Goodluck, the Urhobo people ought to be abusing Goodluck and all Niger Delta people ought to be abusing Goodluck. That is the truth of the matter. On the contrary, Nigerians ought to be praising Goodluck because he did everything for Nigeria. He did not do anything for us. We stood because he represented to us something greater than himself as a person. So, if Goodluck had handed over to somebody else, we would have built on this. I am talking about a situation where Nigerians would be equal and where Nigerians would have access to power. No group of Nigerians would feel that they would lord it over other people, saying they are born to rule. That was what we fought for and which Goodluck represents and not just because we were supporting him because he is Goodluck. But not when a leader considers himself other than the people who are backing him, Goodluck was talking about his safety, he was not talking about the safety of Marilyn Ogar who stood firmly but lost her job. He was not thinking about all the military men who are being retired and the policemen who are being harassed. All these people stood for him based on principle. We stood for him based on principle because we know that he represents the truth and these people represent total darkness. And then we are all seeing it. We are reasonable bystanders. When they do anything, we clap hands.