Leader of the Niger-Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo is an unrepentant of President Goodluck Jonathan and is an open campaigner for the incumbent.
In a recent interview with Levinus Nwabughiogu of Vanguard, Dokubo lays bare his thoughts on the forthcoming election, stating that President Jonathan is facing uncommon opposition because “some people” believe it is their divine right to rule Nigeria.
He also speaks on the war against insurgency, insisting that the Nigerian military had been compromised by renegade Northern Muslim soldiers.
Read excerpts of the interview below:
How do you react to the postponement of the elections?
I am not in support of the postponement if all the preparations had been done. In fact, I have sapped myself. I worked to the point that I nearly passed out. I was addressing Muslims in Lagos on the 31st of January and I collapsed because I had not been having enough sleep and time for myself. I had thought that the elections would come for me to go the Saudi Arabia and thank Allah for the victory he has granted us.
But a situation where over 20 million are deliberately going to be disenfranchised by INEC, that’s not fair. It is very hypocritical of the United States; I think the president has been giving a lot of people unnecessary opportunities to meddle in the internal affairs of Nigeria. Nigeria is a sovereign state. It is not a satellite of the United States of America. Will anybody in the US say that 100 people should be disenfranchised not to talk of 20 million people? Is it Goodluck Jonathan or the PDP that stopped INEC since 2011 to make preparations for 100 percent distribution of the PVCs? How come 36 percent of the PVCs has been collected in Lagos and over 75 percent PVCs has been collected in Borno State where, according to their quotes, about 20 LGAs are in the hands of insurgents? This lends credence to the suspicion that the APC is working with the insurgents. I listened to Senator Mamora on television and he said that local government elections were conducted in Borno and Yobe States. What was the magic? What agreement did they have? God is revealing these people. Who are collecting the PVCs in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe States? How come Borno and Yobe have collected more PVCs than Lagos, Rivers, Imo States? Who is deliberately hoarding the PVCs? Is it Goodluck Jonathan? Have they compromised INEC? I was a member of ACN, so I know how they operate during elections. I know that before elections, when PDP is dealing with the top cadre of the security agencies, APC relates with the DPOs, DCOs, the rank and file.
Is that not a wild allegation?
It is not a wild allegation. I can give evidence. As somebody who was very active in ACN at the highest echelon, i dealt with the national leadership of the party directly and I know how they operate during elections. We keep quiet because we have friends there. But friends are no longer behaving like friends. So, we too should behave the way we behave.
But that was ACN.
ACN? It is ACN that has transmuted into APC because ACN is APC. All the others are just affiliates. They are associates. The driving force of the party is ACN. They are using the so-called idle followership of Buhari in the North. The machine, the intelligentsia, the think tank, everything is ACN. That is the way they rig election. In the judiciary, in INEC, they have people they work directly with. So, the elections should not be held with the PVC. No. The temporary voter cards, since INEC is unable to distribute all the PVCs, we should use the temporary one. PVC is not in our law. PVC testing machine is not known to our law. The electoral law does not recognise it. There is no e-voting. So, we should go back to the temporary voter card. INEC is deliberately disenfranchising some Nigerians. The constitutional right of a person is sacred to vote and be voted for. My wife contested House of
Representatives election in 2011, a candidate, but up till now, she cannot find her PVC. And it is the responsibility of INEC to provide the PVC. It is none of my business if somebody wants to come and pay me money and he says he went to the bank and armed robbers stole the money from him. So, if hoodlums stole PVCs, what’s my business? Bring my PVC. It is my right to vote and be voted for. You cannot deny me that right.
You advocate for 100 percent collection of the PVC but do you think it is possible for everyone to collect his PVC? Besides, no law has said so.
That is an assumption. You cannot deliberately circumvent the law. You can’t trample upon the law.
Even when there is no law to compel the people to collect the PVC?
But all the people who registered have their temporary voter cards. So, if we are not ready with the PVC, we can take their PVC to them. Their address is there. The bio-data are there. So, we can take it to them.
Is it not surprising to you that the security agencies united to say they couldn’t provide security for the elections which primarily necessitated the postponement?
That does not concern me. I don’t speak for the military.
But most people see it as conspiracy against democracy.
What is conspiracy when INEC has not been able to provide PVCs? When it has made sure that in Rivers State, only 56 percent of the population have their PVCs? What of the remaining Rivers people that they want to disenfranchise? My wife has not collected her PVC.
Should that have made the military to recommend the postponement of the elections?
I am not concerned about the military. It is not my business what Nigerian military does. You know where I am coming from. So whatever the Nigerian military says, it is their business.
You are an ardent supporter of President Jonathan. Can you share what you have done so far to ensure his victory at the polls?
I have campaigned. There is nothing I can tell you more than that. I have reached out. We have networked and we are still doing it. We are not sleeping. We are not losing a second.
Most people are still quick to say that amid other challenges, the economy is down under the president’s watch. Many believe such may work against his re-election. How do you react?
There was a global recession that swept across the West: Britain, US, Japan and so on. Today it is the turn of the oil and gas producing countries. Is it only Nigeria? Ghana economy is in tatters even though oil contributes very little to Ghana. Ghana’s currency is falling everyday. Dubai is in trouble. They have devalued their currency by 37 percent as at the last count. Russia is in trouble. Angola is almost going bankrupt. So, it is a global economic trend. It is not only Nigeria. But does the opposition have the recipe to manage the economy? On a television interview posted online, one of the campaign managers of General Buhari was seen with loads of dollars in his breast pockets. But he struggled to cover it. How can leaders be spending dollars and not Naira, thereby depleting the foreign exchange capacity of the country? And we know that most of them don’t spend Naira. They spend dollars, pounds and euros. That is what is causing the crisis in the economy. It is more demands for foreign currency than we earn from our resources and so the economy will be going down. It is all Nigerians that must work. Whatever policy on the ground, money laundering policy, etcetera, if the people are not ready to abide by the rules, hard and stringent economy rules, then we will have a problem.
If you were to highlight the achievements of Mr. President, what will they be?
We have been recounting them over and over. We are doing well even at war. We are pretending we are not at war. Today, a military man called me. He was supposed to be in Gombe to fight and dislodge Boko Haram. The captain who led them was killed. Some people were captured. They had to retreat. We are in constant touch with the people. Do you know what he told me? He said the president should remove all the northern Muslims soldiers from the battle front. That until he does that, this war cannot be won. That how did they know they were coming? Because there were no telephone networks there in the area where they were fighting. People had leaked their movement to Boko Haram. They went into an ambush. How did they know? No vehicle passed them. So, people are there who have a means of communication before they move. That the president should bring jet fighters to bomb and make sure it is northern Christians and southerners that fly these aircraft.
But that may be seen as genocide
What is genocide? People are fighting. They are killing you. So, you should fold your hands, you should be tied to a stake. You can’t box. These people are betraying. It is happening everywhere. These northerners are fifth columnists. And Mamora said they held elections and there was no banger sound. I posted it on my Facebook and people ignored it. How did they achieve that? Let them tell Nigerians. Now coming back to what Jonathan has done, Nigeria is becoming another food basket in Africa. Nigeria is coming back in all areas of agriculture: commercial agriculture and subsistent agriculture. A lot of people are going into agriculture. It is becoming more attractive. They are going into fish farming, livestock farming and so on. Commercial farming is contributing so much to the GDP of Nigeria. Go to the transportation sector and you will find out that the railway is working. The roads are being rehabilitated. New roads are being constructed. Now look at the airports. Today, a government is constructing four modern airports, not the remodeling: Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja and Kano, all brand new being constructed by the Chinese. It has never happened before. 12 universities were opened in one year. Has it happened before? There is the implementation of the Local Content Act, the Cabotage Act which is now bringing Nigerians into the oil and gas and marine business. People are making money, those who are ready to work. Even his opponents are benefitting from YouWin. The only thing that makes them to oppose Goodluck is that one group of people say they are divinely ordained by God to rule others.
Some people see Mr. President as an ethnic president, saying he favors his tribe more than any other. Do you share that belief?
How is he an ethnic president? A man that has his security adviser from the North. When Yar’Adua was there, who was the Chief of Army Staff? Who was the Chief of Defence Staff? Who were the people around Yar’Adua? When Obasanjo was there, who were those people around him? Who was the DG of DSS? Now in Jonathan’s government, the Defense Minister is from North. The national security adviser, North, IG of police, North, Controller-General of Customs, North. These are all Gambari. When they were in government, let them show us if that was how they ran the government. So, how is he an ethnic president? His Principal Secretary is a Gambari man. Chief of Staff is a Yoruba man. The Minister of Finance is Igbo. The Minister of Works is Ishan. The Minister of Police Affairs, Yoruba So, how is he an ethnic president?
Do you see him winning the elections in six weeks time?
I have always told you that we had already won. We will win. They will complain and we are ready for them. This election is between me and the Gambari North.
You were reported to have been arrested by the DSS recently over some inflammatory comments? How did that go?
No, no, no, I don’t know what they mean by “arrest”. It is a routine thing. I have always been invited by the DSS. I was invited by the DSS. I went to their office in Port Harcourt and they said ‘you did this and that’. And I said yes. They said I should go, that they will invite me again. So, it is a routine thing. In fact, it is less now. Under the late General Sani Abacha, it was a weekly thing. Under former President Obasanjo, the same. Now, it is less but I am used to it. Invitation? I have been detained 73 times in Nigeria. So, I am not perturbed.