Niger Delta militants may be preparing for a new round of violent agitations, going by the posturing of one of their outspoken leaders, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakar Dokubo-Asari, at the weekend.
Dokubo-Asari, leader of the Niger Delta People Salvation Front (NDPSF), gave indication that the scheduled exit of President Goodluck Jonathan from federal power on May 29 would lift what he called “restraining order” for the next phase of struggle in the oil-bearing region.
He spoke at the annual Major Isaac Adaka Boro Memorial Public Event convened by his spokesman, Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro.
Dokubo-Asari said that outgoing President Jonathan had been the one mitigating the moves for the struggle for self-determination in the Niger Delta region, adding that with a new government emerging in Nigeria, the next phase of the struggle would also begin.
President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta, lost his reelection bid to Major General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Katsina State, in the March 28 general election. He is billed to hand over for a new government on May 29.
Dokubo-Asari said that Jonathan’s exit from the saddle would “revoke” the “restraining order” on Niger Delta militants who had suspended their struggle for self-determination and resource control since one of their sons was in power.
Henceforth, they will restart the struggle in the region, he said, adding however, that the people of the region were awaiting the Buhari administration to draw the “first blood”.
He said: ”Yes, a new government begins in Nigeria and a next phase of our struggle shall begin. Also Jonathan Goodluck Presidency was like a restraining order. Now, that the restraint is lifted. However, we will watch and wait. Let them draw the first blood and we shall determine our best way forward.”
He added: “Truly Nigeria will never be the same again. The future is pregnant.”
Dokubo-Asari stated that it remained clear that the APC, as currently constituted and by the posturing of its key members, is “an enemy party determined to murder the remnants of the Niger Delta struggle.”
He continued: ”Should Buhari, who like Pharaoh has determined in his heart to turn desolate the Niger Delta region, draw the first blood by undermining certain interest of the region, begin the systemic arrest, maiming and murder of our comrades, continue the confiscation of our rights to self-determination and treat the region as a conquered region, then it may be honourable for some of us to die in prison or in the field of war as nobody is afraid of him.”
He also berated some self-styled ‘Generals’ of the Niger Delta struggle whom he said had proven more than ever that they were “petty penny merchants” as according to him, they had fled the battlefield even before the first fire of the gun, desperately negotiating to be accommodated in Buhari’s government as “field slaves”.
Dokubo-Asari called on Niger Delta youths to wake up and be ready for the days ahead, noting that the existence and survival of the Niger Delta People rest with them.
“Let it be known that we were not defeated, it was Jonathan and his party that lost an election. We, as a people, indeed the Niger Delta region alongside the Igbos, were never defeated. We collectively rejected the born-to-rule and supremacist agenda which some of our brothers as field slaves and taskmasters supported yet their number shows that they are of little consequence. We must however not take them for granted.“
Continuing, he said that many good and intelligent Niger Delta people did not even know or understand what the region’s struggle was all about, expressing doubt that even the Nigerian President truly understands it.
His words: “He (Jonathan Goodluck) was never in the struggle, he was not a product of the struggle but an establishment beneficiary of our struggle. Our struggle is not and never about becoming the President, it was not about being awarded oil licenses and mouth-watering contracts, it was not about massive infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region, it was not about high scale appointments, employment and empowerment, it was never about interventionist programmes and projects.
“Our struggle indeed is about our collective freedom from a false and forced colonial union that has remained divided and unintegrated. It is about our being conferred a slave status and seen as a conquered people who must exist at the mercy of the overloads and supremacist class using our own brothers as taskmasters against us in a Nigerian Union.
“Our status in the Nigerian enterprise remains that of a conquered people living a slave and prisoner status. This is the collective identity we have as a people, whether you are rich, poor, high, low, big, mighty or small. No matter how well dressed, well fed a slave or a prisoner is, he remains a slave and a prisoner who constantly lives at the mercy and dictates of others with his contributions and consent of no consequence. This is why we must now than ever stand up like the Scottish to determine our going forward for our platforms and reject our oppressors. This will not come easy.”
In the same vein, the Ijaw Youth Council’ spokesman, Omare, pointed out that the Niger Delta People were still not equal stakeholders of the Nigerian project, adding that the calls for the scrapping of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) among others, indicates what is ahead of the region with General Buhari.