Lets call a spade a spade, Asari Dokubo is a major disaster waiting to happen. The magnitude of the disaster is what the world is unsure of. Mr Dokubo’s recent behaviours and public conduct have all shades of terrorism written all over them.

Dokubo and his rag-tag foot soldiers bear the hallmarks of the Boko Haram sect at the incubation phase. The only missing piece is for an agreement to go wrong between Dokubo and his clandestine backers in government, and we will have a full-blown terrorist group flexing muscles.

From the look of things, Dokubo’s boys might grow faster than the Boko Haram terrorist group due to their access to arms and ammunition. The menace of Dokubo is what happens when a nation refuses to learn from history, experience and mistakes.

In the words of the renowned German sociologist, Max Weber, “a government is an institution that holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence”

A state that shares the use of force with private citizens is sliding towards anarchy and failure.

Dokubo, a former militant blowing up oil pipelines, found his voice since his infamous meeting with President Bola Tinubu in June, 2023. Immediately Tinubu handed him the microphone, his first victim was the Nigerian Army. He accused them of working in concert with criminal syndicates to steal oil in the Niger Delta region. The accusations were made without any proof. From there, he went after his usual sparring partner – Nnamdi Kanu, who is cooling his heels in one of the holding cells of the Department of State Security, DSS. He also lambasted the Igbos and has been threatening to crush the imaginary enemies of Tinubu. Even the governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, has been warned to tread carefully before he ‘collects woto woto’ (severely dealt with).

Fredrick Nwajagu, the Eze Igbo of Ajao Estate in Lagos State, didn’t do as much as Dokubo before he was arrested by the police & the DSS, and subsequently charged to court.  He made some unguarded statements during the general elections and today is behind bars as he continues to stand trial for ‘terrorism’.

Dokubo appears untouchable, he seems above the law. For the security operatives to be turning a blind eye to his illegal militia, their dangerous weapons being brandished in public places and subsequent threats, it means he might be doing the bidding of Tinubu whom he is loyal to.

Dokubo is an emblem of the grossly dysfunctional state of Nigeria.  He symbolises the dearth of and stinking rot in our democracy. He is a working machinery designed to effectively subvert the will of the people, using force and other underhand tactics. Can a figure like Dokubo fit into the moderately sane political climate in Britain, United States of America and other top tier western countries?

This is a real life outplay of the controversial ‘Gangs of Lagos’ movie in which politicians recruited thugs in the slums of Lagos State to secure election victories through aggression, violence and bloodshed. From the look of things, it appears Tinubu needs a South-south version of the popular MC Oluomo of Lagos State in the Niger Delta region. Forces like Dokubo are popularly regarded as a part of the ‘political structure’ in Nigeria. They help win elections by strong-arming political opponents, and their followers to give way. You don’t have to be a genius to understand why Tinubu is grooming Dokubo. Dokubo is a part of Tinubu’s future power consolidation plan. He did it in Lagos and it has worked for 16 years. It is time to replicate it at the federal level.

Since elections in Africa are hardly free and fair, agents of violence come in handy and are judiciously deployed by desperate political actors. Like mercenaries, they align with any power bloc as long as the price is right. Tinubu has the mastery of phoney politics in Nigeria.  He graciously blesses everybody that does political business with him. They amass humongous wealth, job opportunities, government contracts and vast properties in choice locations across the country. Through this, your loyalty is secured through the politics of patronage and prebendalism.

With all due respect, Dokubo stands for nothing and falls for everything. He has no ideology but pretends to have one. He doesn’t care about the people like he parades himself. He is strictly focused on the pursuit of his egocentric interests.

Let me take you down memory lane. Dokubo used to be a supporter of the main opposition party – People’s Democratic Party, PDP. Then the PDP was the ruling party. Asari boldly castigated the All Progressives Congress, APC. He bluntly expressed his disdain for the then APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. In specific terms, Dokubo in the build-up of the 2015 presidential elections threatened that there would be bloodshed on the streets if Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP lost the election. There were rumours that Dokubo and other militants were on standby waiting for a call for a contingency plan when Jonathan lost the election. But the former president was quick to concede defeat which was against the run of play. Revelations by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, a breakaway faction of the Niger Delta Avengers, corroborated the rumour of a sinister plan to sabotage oil production in Nigeria.

The same Dokubo would later claim to have been employed by Buhari in his second term to tackle some security challenges in Nigeria. Today, Dokubo is in bed with Tinubu. He probably would have been with Peter Obi of the Labour Party if the latter had emerged victorious in the presidential elections.

I make bold to say that Dokubo only supports Tinubu for blatant personal aggrandizement. He made the confirmation with his own mouth. He claimed Tinubu supported his family financially when he was in jail. According to his personal account, Tinubu paid the school fees of his children, provided them a house, a vehicle and gifted him a sizable amount of money during his trying times. For this reason, he has pledged his allegiance to Tinubu. He has been emboldened to go as far as breaking the law to crush the enemies of the president.

Dokubo needs some political education and I hope he would be humble enough to lend his ears. Political participation teaches us that the electorate should vote for a leader who can cater for the general interests of citizens and not private interests. It is about a leader who can guarantee good governance and the provision of essential public goods, for the betterment of the majority. This is in accordance with the social contract theories, on the basis of which the government was formed. So if Dokubo and the Nollywood actress, Eniola Badmus, voted for Tinubu on the basis of personal favours, it isn’t ideal.

The bar of leadership in Nigeria is at an all-time low. Nigeria went from a PhD holder to a man who almost presented his ‘NEPA Bill’ as his school certificate. Tinubu took over with his entire true identity and life history in doubt. Tinubu’s ascension to power has inspired Dokubo to develop a presidential ambition.

In one of his latest rants that went viral on social media, he claimed he would one day become the number one citizen of Nigeria. He explained that if Tinubu could do it after his ‘Emi Lo kan’ (it’s my turn) statement, he could also become president. Imagine a former Niger Delta militant being the president of Nigeria.

Well, if Tinubu who has been linked with drug trafficking in the US could do it, Dokubo might also stand a good chance. That is the reality of life in Nigeria.

Dokubo has become so brazen that he traveled to Abuja with his team to stage a counter-protest during the 2nd of August Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, protest on the removal of fuel subsidy. It was a show of shame to say the least.  

Dokubo’s presidential ambition is a potent threat to the Nigerian state. As Nigerians shockingly miss Buhari despite his monumental failures, may that day not come when Dokubo will be in power, and we will miss Tinubu. Nigeria needs a viable serum for this cycle of Stockholm Syndrome.

Osahon George Osayimwen writes from the United Kingdom.



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