CLASH OF WARLORDS

By NBF News
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Leader of the Coastal Mandate and Grand Patron of the Ijaw Youth Council, Prince Collins Eselemo, has taken potshots at leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, over what the former termed his unguarded comments on the Niger Delta struggle.

Dokubo-Asari had in an exclusive interview published in Sunday Sun of May 9, 2010 revealed his role and that of others in the armed agitation of Niger Delta youths.

But in his reaction, Eselemo, a quiet but committed supporter of Niger Delta emancipation via armed struggle, lambasted Dokubo-Asari, saying he has arrogated to himself what he does not deserve. Fuming as he spoke, he said instead of the NDPVF leader, the Ijaw nation recognized the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro as a true nationalist and the messiah of the Niger Delta. Excerpts…

Dokubo-Asari not a nationalist
First and foremost, Dokubo-Asari can never be regarded as the messiah of the Ijaw people because he is not a nationalist as far as we are concerned. For me as grand patron of the Ijaw Youth Council, Asari has derailed from the activities of the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro. He has been fine-tuned by the government in power. So, I don't see him as a nationalist as far as the entire Ijaw nation is concerned because we are sensitive to issues that will determine our future.

Tissue of lies
Asari was not born when this struggle started. I tell you that the struggle was pioneered by our great hero, Isaac Boro. Even the Kaiama Declaration can also be included in Boro's declaration. Boro started armed struggle for a particular reason, which is that the power equation in this country was determined by the barrel of the gun and Boro had no gun. At that time, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, who he considered as his mentor, was no more and he was trying to integrate the whole of the Niger Delta region into politics and at the verge of seeing himself as a stakeholder in the whole political scenario.

Afterwards, Boro declared the Niger Delta Republic and the price he paid was that he was declared wanted and condemned to death. He was later granted amnesty by the same government, fought for the unity of this country and died in action. That commitment was most fundamental and that has been the calling of our time. So, Asari is too inconsequential to the struggle because he has never taken arms against the Nigerian state.

All I know of Asari is that he had a bone to pick with Ateke Tom, and that was the struggle to be in charge of the creeks. No right thinking Ijaw person will accept Asari's claim that he started the struggle. That is a lie.

Asari also said he is not a Nigerian but an Ijaw man. He added that he is from Kalabari kingdom and he is an Amachree. I see him as somebody who is not really good at history because the Amachree family he is talking about subscribed to the Nigerian government and took part in the administration of this country called Nigeria.

We are not going to compromise our integrity. We are not going to compromise the school of thought that gave birth to the emancipation of the Niger Delta people. All these qualities can never be compromised by anybody.

Dokubo-Asari never imprisoned for June 12
I, talking to you, went to prison because of the June 12, 1993 mandate freely given by Nigerians to the late MKO Abiola. So I took exception to Asari's claim that during the June 12 protests he was interrogated. In fact, I want to know the police station or army barracks he was taken to for interrogation. I went to prison several times with some eminent Nigerians. Even his arrest and detention had nothing to do with our struggle in the Niger Delta.

Boro's achievements
Some of the achievements recorded by the late Ijaw hero, Isaac Boro, through his struggle included the creation of Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross

River, Delta, and parts of Edo and Ondo states. All Ijaw sons and daughters should struggle to sustain that impeccable legacy. Boro's struggle also resulted in the liberation of the Niger Delta region. So Asari is nowhere when we talk about those who really fought for the liberation of the region.

Government agent
Asari has no capacity to discuss the Niger Delta. It is no more a secret that he is fighting for the federal government. Is it not the same person that Kingsley Kuku gave a room at Transcorp Hotel in Abuja and his bills were being written off by the amnesty committee? Now he has turned back to say amnesty is nothing and it has no bearing with the survival of the Niger Delta people. I mean, it shows that Asari does not fly straight.

Allegations against Henry Okah
Asari also claimed that Henry Okah was owing him N43.3 million for failing to supply arms he had paid for. But how is Okah indebted to him and not the Niger Delta if he was truly fighting for the region?

He also said he was not into illegal oil bunkering. I want the world to know that Asari got that money from the illegal sale of oil. Why did he not throw the money into ameliorating Ijaw poverty? Okah is a master strategist and militant General not in the class of Asari and there is no doubt about that. For Asari to say that Okah is indebted to him goes to show his self-aggrandizement.

President Jonathan and Asari's goof
I want to say that Dr (Goodluck) Jonathan is a beneficiary of Isaac Adaka Boro's struggle. So, if today he is the president of this country, he should know that it is because of what Boro believed in. My advice to Dr Jonathan is that he should consider the sacrifice made by Nigerians that eventually brought him to office as president from the era of the June 12 struggle till date.

However, the issue of Asari saying he is going to work for Dr Jonathan if he runs for the presidency in 2011 is a misnomer because he has said he is not a Nigerian and I don't know where to locate him. As far as I'm concerned, he is not an issue and let him know that every Ijaw man is a member of MEND. He should also tell us why he went off the shores of Nigeria to celebrate Isaac Adaka Boro day in the Netherlands and not in Nigeria? In fact, Asari should limit himself to the Kalabari kingdom. I do not see him as someone propagating the ideals of the Niger Delta. He is not a messiah as the messiah has come and gone, and that is Isaac Boro.