By Frank Tietie
There is a trending video of Asari Dokubo on social media at this time of writing that is hard to ignore by any well-meaning Nigerian.
Asari is seen in the video from the portico of a storey building, addressing an organized, uniformed group of men who are standing in the rain. Claiming that he had just returned from Hajj, in the apparent hope of patronizing the Muslims among us, he began taunting his imagined opponents of President Tinubu and thereafter burst into a defiant, twisted post-Emilokan refrain in praise of President Tinubu.
With many strange visits to Nigeria’s seat of power, many Nigerians are still reeling from the bewilderment when President Tinubu hosted Asari Dokubo in the Presidential Villa a few weeks ago. I didn’t have any problem with that. Permit me to say still that I do not have any problem with the visit of James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, who is said to have stolen money belonging to the Delta people, yet he built roads and bridges in the state that no other successors, medical doctor governors in the persons of EmmanuelUduaghan and Ifeanyi Okowa ever came close to replication. But I also don’t know how Ibori got all that money that the UK authorities shouldn’t seize as they have announced but repatriate it to the Delta people if they genuinely believe it was stolen from them. We leave it to the imagination what Uduanghan and Okowa helped the state to save since they didn’t build the Ibori kind of bridges and couldn’t complete the Asaba-Ughelli Road 14 years after its construction began. They say there is a new Sheriff in town, but he has started by borrowing 40 Billion Naira to pay local government workers’ salary arrears.
Thus, the visit by Asari Dokubo to President Tinubu marks the apogee of his wagnerization and Nigerian-styled Yevgeny Prigozhin was announced to the Nigerian people. Don’t be fooled by his adulation of President Tinubu. That fellow is very dangerous. Tinubu and the Nigerian State are playing with fire. He single-handedly once brought the Nigerian state to its knees by thwarting crude oil production. Despite his arrest, the Federal Government under Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Yar Adua knew they couldn’t win that war against the militants with gunboats and bombs hence the amnesty was agreed to.
During the earlier sittings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, certain protests at the tribunal venue in Abuja were said to have the blessings of Asari Dokubo. That’s part of what the message of the visit to the Presidential Villa was sending.
The present trending video of Asari Dokubo is a subtle threat about what will happen if the Tribunal rules otherwise. Tinubu’s lawyers at the Tribunal have already warned that it will be treading the path of anarchy and confusion with their decision on the compulsoriness of 25℅ votes of the FCT. This is sure mastery of subliminal intimidation of the polity to bow to the Tinubu presidency and stop all imaginations of mischief from any ambitious persons that Tinubu will be removed by the courts.
And when Tinubu is finally confirmed by the courts to be Nigeria’s president for a full 4-year term, Asari Dokubu would think of himself as a shareholder in the government, giving him a sense of entitlement to make strange demands of the government. Then he would be reminded that he is just a bloody non-state actor. And mark this! A second militant revolt by a disgruntled Asari Dokubo against the Nigerian state will not be funny. That would lead to the denouement of the wagnerization. The man will now claim ownership and control of the territory. So you’re right. A new Boko Haram has been created. Do you wonder why Tinubu hasn’t learnt anything from Putin’s mistake in creating a WAGNER by Russia?
Yet President Tinubu has been recently junketing across Africa, warning against coup d’etat while he condones a potential threat to the sovereignty of the country he now leads.
* Tietie, a lawyer & social commentator writes from Abuja.