Asari Dokubo was born in the year 1964 as Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jr. but is most commonly called Asari. He is a renowned political activist of the Ijaw ethnic group in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
He has been the president of the Ijaw Youth Council and later founded the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force which later became one of the most prominent armed groups that operated in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Early Life/Education of Asari Dokubo
Asari had his early education (both primary and secondary) in Port Harcourt, River State of Nigeria. He later gained admission into the University of Calabar, where he began studying law, but could not complete his studies.
He left the University environment in the 90s as a result of issues with the school authorities. He later attended the Rivers State University of Science and Technology but couldn’t also complete on account of activism.
Asari originally was born into a middle-class Christian family of a judge and his housewife in Warri, Delta State but later converted to Islam and became Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. This was after he dropped out of school.
In 1992 and 1998, Asari contested for two different political positions but could not scale through.
In the year 1998, himself and some Ijaw persons formed the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC). Being one of the founding members, Asari became the vice-president of the organization.
The newly formed organization issued what they called the Kaiama Declaration in November. In the declaration, they expressed their long-held Ijaw concerns about the loss of control of their homeland and lives to the Nigerian state and oil companies operating in their region.
They then called on oil companies to suspend operations and withdraw from Ijaw territory. They pledged “to struggle peacefully for freedom, self-determination and ecological justice,” of the Ijaw land.
They also prepared a campaign of celebration, prayer, and direct action which they termed ‘Operation Climate Change’ which took-off on December 28 of that year, which the federal government responded by cracking down on them.
In the year 2001, Asari Dokubo became the Ijaw Youth Council’s president. He led the group to pursue an agenda of Resource Control and Self Determination By Every Means Necessary.
By the year 2004, he created the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF), a militant group, funded by local and regional politicians with interest. The NDPVF who were initially following due process threw decorum to the wind when a rival group, known as the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), also seeking control of oil sources emerged. This had led to events of oil bunkering and other malfeasances, causing sponsors of the NDPVF to withdraw. The NDV was further empowered with greater sponsorship, causing Asari’s group to declare an”all-out war” against the Nigerian state.
They massively threatened to attack oil wells and pipelines, and this caused companies operating in the area to withdraw most of their personnel from the Delta. This consequently caused a massive drop in oil production of 30,000 barrels per day and pushed up the price of petroleum worldwide.
In a bid to resolve the matter, the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo called Asari and the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Ateke Tom to Abuja for peace talks. The peace talks, however, failed as Asari refused to endorse the legitimacy of the Olusegun Obasanjo government, and publicly supported the moves for self-determination of his native Ijaw people and independence for the Niger Delta People.
As a result of the above, Asari was arrested and charged with treason. On June 14, 2007, as part of the pledge by the new president Yar’adua to bring peace to the Niger Delta Region, Asari was released on bail.
Following this and the later Amnesty arrangement to eliminate terrorist activities in the Niger Delta, the federal government awarded massive cash rewards to Asari and other activists leaders of Niger Delta.
In the year 2013, the former Niger Delta militant leader denounced his Nigerian citizenship and became a citizen of Benin Republic. In his newly adopted homeland, he built several schools, colleges and a university for the school children and students in Cotonou. Asari revealed one of his grudges against the Nigerian government to be their inability to grant the ‘Ijaw Republic.’ He, however, built no schools or colleges for the Niger Deltans.