The Wagnerization of Asari Dokubo by Tinubu? by Frank Tietie

There is a trending video of Asari Dokubo on social media at this time of writing that is hard to ignore by any well-meaning Nigerian.


Asari is seen in the video from the portico of a storey building, addressing an organized, uniformed group of men who are standing in the rain. Claiming that he had just returned from Hajj, in the apparent hope of patronizing the Muslims among us, he began taunting his imagined opponents of President Tinubu and thereafter burst into a defiant, twisted post-Emilokan refrain in praise of President Tinubu.



With many strange visits to Nigeria’s seat of power recently, many Nigerians are still reeling from the bewilderment when President Tinubu hosted Asari Dokubo in the Presidential Villa a few weeks ago. I didn’t have any problem with that.



Permit me to say still that I do not also have any problem with the visit of James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, who is said to have stolen money belonging to the Delta people, yet he built roads and bridges in the state that no other successors, medical doctor governors in the persons of Emmanuel Uduaghan and Ifeanyi Okowa ever came close to replication.


But I also don’t know how Ibori got all that money that the UK authorities shouldn’t seize as they have announced but repatriate it to the Delta people if they genuinely believe it was stolen from them.



We leave it to the imagination what Uduanghan and Okowa helped the state to save since they didn’t build the Ibori kind of bridges and couldn’t complete the Asaba-Ughelli Road 14 years after its construction began. They say there is a new Sheriff in town, but he has started by borrowing 40 Billion Naira to pay local government workers’ salary arrears.


Thus, the visit by Asari Dokubo to President Tinubu marks the apogee of his wagnerization and Nigerian-styled Yevgeny Prigozhin was announced to the Nigerian people. Don’t be fooled by his adulation of President Tinubu. That fellow is very dangerous. Tinubu and the Nigerian State are playing with fire.


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu / former Niger Delta warlord, Asari Dokubo

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu / former Niger Delta warlord, Asari Dokubo

He single-handedly once brought the Nigerian state to its knees by thwarting crude oil production. Despite his arrest, the Federal Government under Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Yar Adua knew they couldn’t win that war against the militants with gunboats and bombs hence the amnesty was agreed to.


During the earlier sittings of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, certain protests at the tribunal venue in Abuja were said to have the blessings of Asari Dokubo. That’s part of what the message of the visit to the Presidential Villa was sending.



The present trending video of Asari Dokubo is a subtle threat about what will happen if the Tribunal rules otherwise. Tinubu’s lawyers at the Tribunal have already warned that it will be treading the path of anarchy and confusion with their decision on the compulsoriness of 25℅ votes of the FCT.


This is sure mastery of subliminal intimidation of the polity to bow to the Tinubu presidency and stop all imaginations of mischief from any ambitious persons that Tinubu will be removed by the courts.



And when Tinubu is finally confirmed by the courts to be Nigeria’s president for a full 4-year term, Asari Dokubu would think of himself as a shareholder in the government, giving him a sense of entitlement to make strange demands of the government.


Then he would be reminded that he is just a bloody non-state actor. And mark this! A second militant revolt by a disgruntled Asari Dokubo against the Nigerian state will not be funny. That would lead to the denouement of the wagnerization.


The man will now claim ownership and control of the territory. So you’re right. A new Boko Haram has been created. Do you wonder why Tinubu hasn’t learnt anything from Putin’s mistake in creating a WAGNER by Russia?


Yet President Tinubu has been recently junketing across Africa, warning against coup d’etat while he condones a potential threat to the sovereignty of the country he now leads.


Where are the Patriots?

Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. — J.F. Kennedy


Peterside Ottong should have titled his 1989 hit track “Where are the Patriots?” and not “Where are the Prophets?”.


I can understand him because, in a country where many people think it is prophets that provide political and economic solutions and directions, they should be more highly sought after than patriots who make sacrifices to do great things and they remain poor and unappreciated.


Ask about Nigerian heroes of the past in the arts, sports and honest public service and see whether Nigerians of today don’t consider them to be stupid?


Today, in Nigeria, it will amount to anathema for anyone to ask any of us the above-quoted question by JFK lest one risks being beaten by an angry mob that is currently burdened by economic hardship and a bleak future hovering around by sweeping policies of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu presidency.


I once served on a Federal Government Committee, where I was required to embark on foreign trips in the hope of reimbursements.


Five years after I made two such trips, the government officials superintending the committee are acting as if it never happened, whereas they collected all they can get from the coffers of the government for themselves in the name of that committee while they expect me to sacrifice the thousands of dollars of my savings that I used to serve Nigeria.


It is funny because there was a budget for the work of the Committee, and the result was done and submitted to the United Nations, but to pay or reimburse me and other persons who are not staff of either the Federal Ministry of Justice or Foreign Affairs Ministry, the matter is in abeyance and 5 years gone as we are left to figure out our fate.


It is as if we are being punished for daring to work for the country and promote its good name to the world. What do they now want me to do? Go to court against my country to force its officials to pay me for what the work I did to make it great? Which court? Really funny!


In the first place, who among us can ask what we can do for our country when they, themselves, are not prepared to do anything for the country? Is it the politician or the preacher who claims to work for Jesus?


What about the Imam? Is it the almighty public servant who hides behind the politician to do the real damage? They are all about self-service and nothing for building the country. They probably don’t want to build the people at all.


According to Fela Anikulapo Kuti (a good man in history), in his “Suffering and Smiling” classic, he refrains:


Archbishop na miliki,

Pope na enjoyment,

Imam na gbalado (bliss).


Yet the people following the above-listed prelates are “suffering and smiling”, with 49 sufferers sitting and 99 others standing all in one commuter bus. And to think that it is the same thing that happens every day to them, but they are consoled to keep on because of their faith and religion.



How much of an opiate can it be? So neither religious leaders nor public servants, especially civil servants and politicians, can dare ask Nigerians to make any “damn” sacrifice or do great things to make Nigeria better.


According to Fred KC Price, an American preacher, some people’s prayers to God always go like this:


Gimme gimme gimme!!!

My name is Jimmie

So I’ll take all you gimme.

So gimmie, gimmie, gimmie


If all a Country does, all the time, is to ask to be given aid- just give us! It simply means that the country is a taker. But life is supposed to be give and take, as they say. Do we think that other countries don’t have needs that’s why they are always giving aid to us?


In Nigeria, the predominant culture and mentality, especially among public servants, is to take. Just take! Even when such public servants are in a position with a responsibility to give service, they turn it around to a position for taking and the taking for their own pockets.


So in Nigeria, taking is the culture of service. I shudder each time Nigerian officials clamour and beg development partners for money as if they love the Nigerian people so much and really want to alleviate their suffering, yet much of what those officials are only interested in is just to cash in and get their own share of the aid money.


Dead aid! The same applies to many civil society actors and players. Where are the Patriots?


There is no doubt that for our country to be better, everyone must be prepared to give more than they take. In fact, what a person has should be seen as a measure or reflection of how much that person has given. Therefore it should be presumed that a Nigerian who has become a billionaire has earned his money by giving so much to others in terms of goods and services. Shouldn’t that be true?


Yet there are pretty several billionaires or even millionaires in Nigeria today whose only basis for the money they have is by taking it from the public coffers or swindling others, or gaming the system.


They make money without producing anything. They take the money that is meant for the public good and convert it to personal use. They literally steal resources. Therefore they are rich only by taking and not having given anything at all, whether commensurate to the money they have or not.


A country whose unwritten ethos is to take and take alone will soon implode from the fierce competition by its citizens to take and not to give to it and, in so doing, take the country out of existence.


That is why politicians make politics a career and a full-time job of what ought to be part-time public service (sacrifice) to the extent that Nigeria now takes external loans to pay their salaries, buy them new cars, give them houses and furnish the same. Shame!


Can we then ever contemplate making careers in public service, apart from the military, to be non-profit and non-salaried? So that only those who have something to offer as public service are actually required to spend their time to build up the country without expectation of any reward?


Do we now agree that being in politics or government is just to see what we can get for ourselves? So it is just for chop chop


Doctors whose thrust of knowledge should drive them to save human life often go on strike to increase their salaries. The same applies to nurses, teachers, lecturers etc. It is simply about the money! “What’s in it for me?” The so-called service is just a means to an end. More money! Who cares about building a country? And we think we would have a country? Jokers!


It was a matter of time, maybe just in a space of six years, that a country which today would have been more affluent, better and had a standard of living higher even higher than China commenced its decline by its people who chose to milk it dry, never giving its people but always taking and now it is poor, begging for loans from the likes of that same China.


Corrupt and money-grabbing public servants did not build the countries many Nigerians are migrating to in droves today as we have in Nigeria. Their public servants made sacrifices. They gave more than their country gave them, and today, their children are living off the enormous sacrifices they made yesterday and today, Africans are dying to get a chance to step on their shores. Are we really cursed? If not, Where are the Patriots?


Shortly after JFK asked his fellow citizens what they could do for America, NASA beat the Soviets by landing a man on the moon, winning the space race to become the global military power that it is today.


In Nigeria, people take up responsibilities not with a sense of how to use them to serve others but to subvert such and make money therefrom. And those who sacrifice are considered to be fools by the majority who play the game. It is a tragic trend of anomie presently in Nigerian public service.


Unless we redefine patriotism and focus on it as a critical factor in national development, Nigeria as a country and people will soon lose the willingness to become anything significant among the comity of nations of this world.


Meanwhile, I am not starting another doomsday reflection with this writing. I advise that you go ahead and enjoy whatever you have and be thankful. For me, I just listened to the memorable music of Abba, Boney M and Fabomo, the Bini musical maestro.


You can try a combination of amala and ewedu or a new sex style with your partner. Sex turns out to be the most secretive yet so widely engaged exercise by Many Nigerians since it is good for the body. And who knows? A new pregnancy or a renewed love in the relationship will ensue.


But you don’t have to use any of those aphrodisiacs they lie to you about every day on social media. That’s unpatriotic of them to do. The bottom line is that don’t get too serious with this life. You didn’t bring yourself here, yet somehow you think it is your suffering or smartness that is sustaining you and keeping you alive.


Let’s stop philosophising sometimes but suffice it to say that you just be your best self, be responsible for the things life brings your way and remember that you indeed have a command to enjoy this life with an attitude of gratitude no matter the present troubles of fuel hike, the rising cost of living and high rate of unemployment.







Frank Tietie, lawyer and soci

al commentator, writes from Abuja as part of contributions from his coming book, Random Thoughts- Frank Expressions on Life @ 50.

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