‘I became radicalised after converting to Islam’ – Dokubo-Asari

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Asari-Dokubo

In 1988 when I was rusticated from the University of Calabar, I decided to go to Libya. So, I left home. I converted to Islam. I took the bath and became a Muslim at the Calabar Central Mosque which was managed by some Yoruba people. I became radicalised after I became a Muslim. One goal I set for myself was the liberation of my people and I wanted a military.

As the President, National Union of Rivers State Students, I had read so much about revolution and my greatest attraction was Libya; that is why I decided to go to Libya. So, I took a night bus from Calabar and dropped at Jos. From Jos, I proceeded to Kafanchan, then to Saminaka, down to Leri, Zaria, until I got to Kano. From Kano, I passed through Dutse. Then Damaturu was a small town. I got to Maiduguri. From Maiduguri to Marite. I was just going until I got to Gamboringala. From there I got to Gambori France. From there to Kusiri to Jamina to Eir, Eir to Agadese in Niger Republic. It was easy for me as a Muslim because I joined them to pray. I saw many deaths on the road. People wanted to go to Europe and so on. When I couldn’t enter Libya at that time, I had to come back.

My father had secured a new admission for me at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. So I had to go back to the university to continue my law programme. From that radicalization, I started to join different groups. I set up one called CCC – Committee of Collective Conscience – a Marxist movement for change in our society and I started talking to people. When I went back to school, I discovered I had lost interest in formal education. From then, I started confronting state authority. I aligned with progressive forces. But you know, I really don’t see any progressive force in Nigeria. I was in PSP. From there, I went to Peoples Front formed by by Yar’Adua. From there, I joined the NCP. I became a little bit prominent in the party because of my ideological stand. After the wrongful annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and the role I played during the election, I began to think more and more about confronting the Nigerian state militarily. And I believed that was the only way freedom could come to our people. And that was the period the Ijaw started gathering because of the movement that was going on in Ogoni land. It influenced Ijaw people. I joined the Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta. I aligned with them and put in my contribution into what T.K. Ogoriba was doing. It, it metamorphosed into the Ijaw Youth Council (IYM), the Kaiama Declaration. But before then, we had formed another group named Kirimani which was more military than civil. But a lot of our people do not understand the ideological thrust of our struggle and we formed other organizations. We found there was a lot of injustice in the Nigerian state and some of us could not stomach it. So, I became a regular guest of the State Security Service (SSS) and the police and sometimes the military because when we went out to carry out a march, the police will come. We also had confrontations with the army. So, I became a regular face with the State Security Service. During NADECO, the role I played is well known to the people who were in the group.  I always like to be on the side of the people. The struggle has become my life.”

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