ORONTO DOUGLASS, THE STRATEGIC CRUSADER
Crusaders all over the world share same attributes – they are dogged fighters and are usually non conformists. In the United States of America, the greatest crusader of all time was the indefatigable Martin Luther King Jr who dedicated all his energy, resources and time to the emancipation of Black race and Civil Rights crusade.
Following the arrest of Rosa Parks, a black seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger in a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, King came to town and came up with his Montgomery Bus Boycott. As the Supreme Court ruled that Montgomery's segregation laws were unconstitutional and ordered the integration of the city's buses, King established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC], a body of black Christians meant for civil rights reforms through non-violent disobedience.
It was not surprising that King recorded tremendous feats that led to the total freedom of Blacks in the US though he never witnessed it. His 'I have a dream speech' regarded by most commentators as the single most earth-shaking and moving in history encapsulated his ideas and visions. As it was with King in character and mission so also was his mentor and godfather, Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian nationalist and statesman who King admired and borrowed his approach. Elsewhere in Britain, Winston Churchill would always be remembered as an astute leader who refused to budge in the face of intimidation by Adolf Hitler' Germany. It was Churchill that saved the world from Hitler's annexation plans. Even in Africa, the never say die attitudes of Nelson Mandela brought apartheid rule to a halt.
In contemporary Nigerian politics, one man who could be described as a strategic crusader should be no other person than Oronto Douglass, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Documentation and Strategy. Ever since he entered the scene, first, as one of the defence lawyers for Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995, Douglass has not looked back. His co-founded the Environmental Rights Action\Friends of the Earth Nigeria, a body that fought for the preservation of the eco-system and moved to protect those suffering from environmental pollution and degradation.
One of his greatest works was the book he co-authored with Ike Okonta entitled: Where Vulture Feast- Shell, human rights and oil in the Niger Delta. In fact, he is a leading human rights activist and author.
In his capacity as the Senior Special Assistant on Research Documentation and Strategy to the President since 2007, Douglass has proved that he is a born crusader. He has been working assiduously and has continued to add value to the government of President Jonathan Goodluck.
Both in print and electronic media, Douglas have been very consistent in his crusade to galvanise support for the present administration through strategic initiatives. His dogged disposition, charismatic and unassuming personality has continued to endear him to the people. These sterling qualities and many others paved the way for his inclusion among the world most influential thinkers and activists in a book titled, Political Awakenings: Conversations with History, by Harry Kreiser, the Executive Director of the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, United States .
Douglas is one of the few advisers that justified their inclusion in GEJ team. A concerned Nigerian sent to him a message on Facebook during the campaign. You can imagine his response. 'I got this from an FB friend: 'Tell your boss GEJ that his character of civility! humility and honesty alone cannot get him to the Presidency in 2011. Tell him to be more aggressive and assertive in the campaigns. His opponents who are veterans and masters in the game will take no prisoners!' Oronto Douglas 2011: WHERE I STAND: It is important to have a view, a position. It is important that I make that view or position clear so that it is not mistaken. As we inch towards 2011 elections, I would like to make my position known to my friends on FB.
I stand for and with Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for President! ' Look what he answered to questions concerning President Jonathan on how a minority from Southern Nigeria is now in charge for the first time since independence: '?? ' It goes to show that there is a spirit of never die in Nigeria, a spirit of endurance and bravery, a spirit of excellence.
The point is that President Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Oloibiri where oil was found, and schooled there; who governed Bayelsa and worked before that as an environmental director at OMPADEC, now NDDC, did not desire to be President. Fate and the goodwill of Nigerians, and above all the almighty God, took him from that swamp land to make him President of Nigeria. Clearly, God is sending a message to us. That message is for the good of the Nigerian people.
The true and final story of the Goodluck presidency is yet to be told. Once it is told, Nigerians will say thank God.???He has articulated what he wants to achieve, and I totally agree with him. He is focusing on three key issues. One, delivering on credible elections so as to guarantee qualitative leadership. Two, ensuring peace and stability in the Niger Delta. And three, ensuring constant electricity supply in our country.