Alhaji Mujadid Asari – Dokubo, an Ijaw nation freedom fighter, is a staunch supporter of former President Goodluck Jonathan. But in this interview with Femi Folaranmi at his country home in Harry’s Town, Asari- Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, he advised the former president not cave to pressure to contest the 2023 Presidential. Rather he said Jonathan should back any South- Easterner for the topmost job in the country.
Asari- Dokubo who insisted that the South- East is the most qualified region to produce the Presidency in 2023, said the South- West has no right to contest after former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who he described as a mischief maker, had done eight years.
Recently there was a face-off between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Edwin Clark on who owns the oil resources in Niger Delta. What is your take on this?
General Olusegun Obasanjo is a mischief maker. He makes mischief at all times. If Nigeria is a federation, the resources found in a place belong to the federating unit. In Zamfara, they are extracting their gold and selling, but Obasanjo is too afraid to talk. And I blame our leaders for what is happening. A situation when they brought amnesty, I told them this is wrong, that we are being criminalised but people jumped at the money. It is we that did not jump at the money; we that we did not expect it were regarded as betrayers. Those who accepted the money were celebrated. Our father, Chief Clark also celebrated these people, giving them accolades and so on. Now the chicken has come home to roost. Obasanjo is a mischief maker, the oil belongs to the people under whose land it is found and there is nothing you can do about that.
You are known to have been against a Buhari Presidency. Do you have any regrets?
I did not support Muhammadu Buhari but people were supporting him. Even those who pretended not to support him supported. People were cutting deals. I was tagged being antagonistic, bearing in mind that I have more affinity with him than any of them. I am a Muslim for crying out loud. So for now I have decided that I don’t want to be in that sort of situation where I would be on one side and other people would be enjoying and I would abuse him, and others would be cutting deals. I won’t be in that sort of condition again. For me, since everybody is enjoying him, we are all going to enjoy it together.
What is your take on rotational presidency?
In every heterogeneous society, leadership positions ought to be assigned in a way that every part of the society would feel a deep sense of patriotism and hold the state dear. But a situation where one party takes at the expense of others fraudulently, then there would be dissent and people would not recognize the authority. Like what is happening in Nigeria, if one section takes upon itself to rule at the expense of others, it would create resentment.
In your honest view, which of the Southern regions – South-East, South-South and South-West should go for the Presidency in 2023?
It should be South- East. They are the most qualified. It is the same thing we are saying. If we are accusing the North of grabbing power, why would the South-West go? Obasanjo has done this for eight years. Why would South-South go? Goodluck Jonathan has done six years. So it should be South- East.
Because if we want national integration, if we want everybody to be on the same page, then why would we leave out the South-East? Since after the Biafra Civil war, no South-Easterner has become President or Head of State or Head of Government of any kind. So why should they be excluded if they are part of Nigeria.
But there are arguments in some quarters that the South- South did not complete its mandatory eight year tenure?
It is not the fault of anybody that Jonathan did not complete his two-term tenure. Jonathan sat down there with all the AK 47 and allowed himself to be chased away with sticks. It is not the fault of the South- East. Jonathan served, but he did not protect the Presidency. It is the truth. I am a Goodluck supporter but that is the truth.