Why I’ll never forgive Okah – Asari-Dokubo
Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo has opened up on why he and leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah currently undergoing trial for treason, are sworn enemies.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Asari-Dokubo said Henry Okah is a direct product of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s intention to discredit the struggle of the Niger Delta, divert the resources of the region and justify the building of an oil and gas free zone at Okohohnara. He alleged that Okah plotted to kill him several times and even murdered his (Dokubo’s) relations and followers.
Hear him: "He will remain my enemy unless he changes. He plotted to kill me several times. He murdered my relations and followers. He introduced crime into the Niger Delta struggle. He is a counter-revolutionary element sponsored by the government."
Dokubo-Asari also spoke on kidnappings in the region and the brains behind such activities, the threat by the MEND to foment more crisis in the region unless Henry Okah was released to participate in the peace process and the secret trial of the MEND leader by the Federal Government.
What is your stance on kidnappings that have taken place in the region?
I’ve always said that our struggle is moral and just. Kidnapping and any other act that impairs the freedom of any other person; that is used to collect money is evil and criminal and it is not part of our struggle and we know those who are doing it and we know those who are funding them and we know their godfathers. Their godfathers are people in the Nigerian state, to direct our struggle away from its true and original path. Our struggle is moral and just. We cannot do injustice to others, while we are demanding for justice. We will not do it. No matter the blackmail or persecution we go through, we will not condescend to the level of the Nigerian state to use the same weapon that they are using against us.
You say you know those behind the kidnappings and their godfathers, can you name them?
We know very well that Olusegun Obasanjo was meeting with people like Henry Okah and all the people who are parading themselves when he was president of the Nigerian state at Ota farm and even at Abuja. The state security and heads of military formations were meeting with them. Up till now, they are relating with them on phone and they are holding clandestine meetings in order to discredit our struggle. We know very well. It is a historic fact that in every revolution, counter revolutionary elements will arise. This is not new. It is everywhere in the world. Ours will not be different.
So are you saying indirectly or directly that Henry Okah is sponsored by Obasanjo?
Henry Okah is a direct product of Obasanjo’s intention to discredit the struggle of the Niger Delta, to divert the resources of the Niger Delta and to give a reason why he was building Olokohnara oil and gas free zone. Henry Okah was a product of the government of General Olusegun Obasanjo.
A statement accredited to the spokesman of MEND, Jomo Gbomo says that the Federal Government should release its leader, Henry Okah to participate in the peace process if it wants genuine peace, do you agree with MEND?
Henry Okah is not a person that will determine the peace of Niger Delta. The Niger Delta is too big for Dokubo-Asari or a Saro-Wiwa or Isaac Boro. To attribute peace in the Niger Delta to one individual shows how naïve and bankrupt such minds are.
Okay, logically put, does that mean Obasanjo is behind kidnappings in the region?
Yes, Obasanjo is behind it. They will kidnap, Obasanjo government will pay money to the kidnappers and get them released, show them on television and perform all sorts of rituals I was in prison when those rituals were going on.
What do you have to say about Okah’s secret trial?
They cannot try Henry Okah secretly. If they have any facts against him, let them try him in the open. It is an infringement on his fundamental rights to try him in secret. I might not like Henry Okah but the law is very clear. Henry Okah should be given an open trial. It is the government of the Nigerian state versus Henry Okah. So if there is a decision to try him in secret, then already Henry Okah has been adjudged guilty. So if they decide to try him secretly, well, the party to the case is the Federal Government versus Henry Okah. So how can the same government who is a party to the case be a judge in their own case and decide to try the man secretly. Even if the man committed the offence for which they are trying him, how would we know? Who was there? Who are the witnesses? He should be brought to the open. Why are they afraid of trying him openly? You must try him openly. It is his right and it is his inalienable right to be tried openly.
Are you at war with Henry Okah?
Henry Okah is my enemy. He plotted to kill me several times and he is still my enemy and he will remain my enemy unless he changes. He murdered my cousins and my relations and my followers. He introduced crime into the struggle of the Niger Delta which is not part of our struggle. Our struggle is a spiritual struggle and everybody knows it is a very moral struggle. It is not done anywhere in the world. Henry Okah is a counter revolutionary element. He is an agent of the Nigerian state.