Although the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. -Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, has said that the Nigerian Army has resolved to deal with all secessionists who are threatening the peace of the country, it is important to note the words of Mehmet Murat who opined that a lost soul often looks for another congruent soul. This is the case of Asari Dokubo and Banji Akintoye. Both are aligned in their quest to see Nigeria split.
Their recent campaign for secession is far from what they claim. They maintain that theirs is political activism to achieve justice in the interests and protection of groups they did not consult.
But if one were to search their souls and read their minds especially that of Asari Dokubo, one would discover a cesspool of sheer deceit and lies with everything revolving around themselves.
Asari Dokubo is a man whose penchant for violence knows no bound. Asari who is known for his villain role in the Niger Delta struggle against the Nigerian State, recently made a secessionist declaration. Reacting to the development, Minister of Culture, Lai Mohammed described him as an attention seeker and the overall declaration as a theater-of-the absurd.
This is the same person who proclaimed on national TV in 2015 that he is “no more a Nigerian citizen as the country has not provided me the atmosphere to flourish and bring my dreams to life”. One of his wildest dreams perhaps would be to see Nigeria split even if it means getting soaked in violence to achieve this. This is coupled with the fact that he has never quite fared well in Nigerian politics.
He failed on two occasions in 1992 and 1998 when he ran for regional positions in Rivers States. He was only part of the founding fathers of the Ijaw Youth Council that has come to be associated with him. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is seeking a nation where he can actualize his surreal dreams as president.
Besides, Dokubo became the IYC’s president in 2001 and led the group to pursue an agenda of “Resource Control and Self Determination by Every Means Necessary”. Having lost relevance by 2004, he decided to create the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), which was a militant group that was largely funded by local and regional politicians, who were all out for the immense wealth of the region’s oil revenue. Dokubo was equally vouchsafed an annual cash payment of USD$10 million a year from Abuja following Yar’Adua’s amnesty initiative. Since then, his penchant for cash has become almost limitless.
Banji Akintoye is another Nigerian who has mastered the art of inciting violence without saying it. He is the leader of the Ilana Omo Odua, the umbrella body of Yoruba Self-Determination Groups within and beyond the shores of Nigeria. He recently challenged Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State over his statement that Yoruba people that want self-determination should steer clear of Ondo State.
Although Banji Akintoye stated that “the agitation for autonomous Yoruba Nation is legally grounded, intellectually rooted and shall be executed without the shedding of blood”, his stern statement is replete with war resonation. This is as a result of the strong allegations he made while berating Akeredolu:
“We wish to say very clearly that Akeredolu is entitled to his opinion. He has only spoken for himself. If he is sure he speaks for the classical masses of Ondo State, he should ensure that his armies of state-induced terrorists allow us to stage our one million march peacefully in Akure, Ondo State capital to prove whether he spoke for Ondo state people or for himself.
“Akeredolu feeds 100% on the commonwealth of Ondo State people. He is a member of the tiny neo-liberal and neo-classical elites who will never support the wishes and aspirations of the masses.
“We saw how he grandstands on the terrorists and murderous herdsmen illegally occupying the forest reserves in his state and we saw how he chickened out to the chagrin of all of us who staked our reputation to defend him.
“Akeredolu has now surrendered the farmlands in Ondo State to the government of Fulani herdsmen while masquerading to be participating in National Livestock Programme.”
Banji Akintoye described Akerodolu as the “definition of a coward who starts a battle he cannot finish”, while also declaring that “we are aware he traded Ondo people off to avoid being sacked from office through the Fulani-dominated Nigerian courts”.
These statements by Banji Akintoye nurse grave implications and could give way to looming violence as he has laid the dynamites for the people of Ondo State and their Yoruba counterparts which can explode at any possible march or protest if tensions become high.
History has shown and as we have seen in recent times that such protests or solidarity marches do not occur without violence, especially when the peoples have been incited or doubts has been sold in their minds against a particular government.
His article in 2019 titled, “Yoruba Nation, Fulani Invasion, and the Task Ahead”, is in fact the precursor to Sunday Igboho’s display two years after. According to the article, “We Yoruba must embark immediately on getting ready to defend our families, our communities, our farmlands, our villages, and our churches, mosques, and shrines.
When a country is not aware of a coming invasion and not ready to defend itself, it is easy for the invaders to succeed. But when the people of a country are widely aware and are ready to defend their land, it is difficult for an invasion to succeed.” He had originally said that there was “a serious agenda in progress – an agenda of the Fulani people for the forcible remaking of Nigeria”. These are comments that are responsible for the sour relationship between the two ethnic groups of Fulani and Yoruba till today.