This below excerpt is from Wikipedia (freely available online):
‘’In 2013, Dokubo Asari became a citizen of Benin and moved his wealth and assets out of the Niger Delta, Nigeria and relocated to Cotonou, Benin Republic where he built several schools, colleges and a university for the school children and students in Cotonou. Dokubo Asari however did not build any school, college or university in Rivers State, Delta State, Enugu, Bayelsa or any other states of the Niger Delta.’’
I’m writing about a man known as Asari Dokubo. A man who has invented nothing, who has created nothing , who has added value to nothing , but yet this Asari Dokubo is probably one of the richest men from the Niger Delta.
This man Asari didn’t start a career in a Blue Chip company where over the decades he rose through the ranks to become its Chief Executive. Asari didn’t become rich by inventing the medicine that can cure deadly diseases like Ebola, AIDS, or Sickle Cell. Asari wasn’t a renowned businessman or trader who found wealth by selling and distributed products and commodities that are household names. Can you find any value Asari has added to our society through which he created his great wealth and astounding fortune?. So how did Asari become so wealthy?
The answer to that question draws a direct line to the criminal betrayal of the people Niger Delta and the attendant arrested development in the region.
Asari didn’t trade in products and commodities , instead Asari traded on his Niger Delta identity. A confidence trickster and conman who bluffed his way to prominence as the champion of his peoples cause. He positioned himself as a standard bearer for the Niger Delta agenda, a man who was defending his people against parasites and exploitation. But at the end, the people got poorer and Asari became a billionaire. A con game.
Lets together trace Asari’s background and review his bio-data to see if maybe we are wrong in our assessment of this man. Maybe there are signs in Asari’s early life that show he has lived a productive life which set him on the path to earning his great wealth and maybe this wealth was well deserved and gotten through the sweat of his brow and the toil of his hands.
Asari was born to a humble Christian family in 1964 . Nothing in his background shows he inherited any wealth or that his parents passed the seed money he’s used to build his current empire. Asari attended schools in Rivers and Cross Rivers States. Asari didn’t conclude his education both at University of Calabar nor at Rivers State University. He claimed he was (even from those early days) a freedom fighter and was persecuted by the university authorities for his activism which resulted in failure to graduate with any qualification. In other words; Asari have no professional qualification or skill for which he could be employed.
An older and matured man, In 1992 and 1998, Asari turned to politics. He became active in politics and created a network of friends and contacts that gave him the confidence to run for office. In this again; Asari falied. He lost the elections both times to get into elected office.
In 1998, Asari became a co-founder of the leading youth platform, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) . This platform was the tool for the expression of Asari’s involvement in Niger Delta affairs. IYC was agitating for improved standards of living for its people and for a better deal in the Nigeria equation. IYC was an embodiment of the aspirations of the Ijaw/Niger Delta indigenes.
Given his energy and leadership qualities, Asari soon became the IYC leader and a central authority in his community. He defined his people’s quest for resource control and self-determination. He confronted the Nigerian State, challenging them to free his people from State oppression and take their destiny into their own hands. The Niger Delta communities were destroyed environmentally; there was no water clean enough for drinking throughout the region. The waterways where polluted. Aquatic life was decimated. A riverine community without fish in the water? It was scandalous and terrible the treatment they suffered from the day the fuirst barrel of oil was pumped in Oloibiri In 1956 till this very day in 2017.
The long suffering people of the Niger Delta could no longer tolerate the continued suffering and exploitation and Asari found a willing group of young and angry men to follow him into armed struggle. With unrelenting focus and energy, Asari directed his agitation to free the oppressed people of the Niger Delta into the realm of violence , bullets and bombs. He and his band of armed men lived in the near impenetrable creeks where the Nigeria soldiers couldn’t locate them. From there they engaged in sabotage and destruction of State oil assets/installations, kidnapping and extortion and of course; illegal oil bunker. Upon failure to convince Asari and his boys to stop the violent agitation, Asari was arrested by the administration of ex President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It took the arrival of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua onto the scene for Asari to gain his freedom through the Amnesty Program. Not only did Asari gain his freedom, but he and all other militant leaders where absorbed onto a program that saw them providing security services to the oil industry and protecting oil sector assets. They became part and parcel of the exploitative system they had fought on ‘behalf of the Niger Delta People’.
That’s the story of ‘brave’ Asari Dokubo. The Niger Delta son who went from a young man in his family ‘polo’ in Kalabari Kingdom of Rivers State, to a vicious and determined militant and then to a billionaire.
From the above background story, I ask you again; how did Asari make his wealth? How did he manage to own businesses, build mansions and become a ‘shot caller’?
The answer is this; through the Niger Delta struggle. He leveraged on the struggle and misery of his people to gain influence, power and wealth for himself, his children and extended family members. How can you come out of a struggle a billionaire and your people still have no water, schools, hospitals, electricity or HOPE!
Those Asari represented in the struggle against the Nigerian state are still the same ( if not worse) . The greatest tragedy of this story is not just that Asari exploited the struggle to become who he is today, its that Asari took the wealth that he made from the Niger Delta, he took that wealth away from the Niger Delta and took it as far away from his people as possible.
That’s the story of a con men and a betrayed Niger Delta People