When Melford Goodhead Met Asari Dokubo

Posted on January 8, 2013 by

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Melford Goodhead Jr

Melford Goodhead Jr

Aggressive mimicry is a form of mimicry where predators or parasites share similar signals with a harmless model, allowing them to avoid being correctly identified by their prey or host. It is a form of exploitation that involves the predator (or parasite) employing signals which draw its potential prey towards it. The model (the organism being ‘imitated’) may not be affected at all by the relationship however the signal receiver (or parasitic host) almost always inevitably suffers from being tricked. As long as the parasite’s true identity is concealed, it may be able to approach prey more easily than would otherwise be the case. Melford Goodhead Jr, delinquent son of a jurist, born with a silver spoon and raised in relative affluence may have struggled to convince anyone of his bonafides as an irredentist Ijaw nationalist and freedom fighter but as his invented persona ‘Asari Dokubo’, he has managed to deceive the people of the Niger Delta, to their detriment and his considerable financial benefit.

Asari Dokubo is a dangerous parasite. And not every parasite is dangerous. Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jr however, is the most dangerous kind. That is his government name, by the way, the name his father and mother placed on his birth certificate when he was born into a good, christian, middle class family in 1961. His father was a high court judge and his mom stayed home with Melford and his four siblings. Goodhead Jr was educated in Port-Harcourt and then sent off by his parents to the University of Calabar where he dropped out in 1990 after 3 years and at the cusp of obtaining a degree in Law. Goodhead Jnr then went on to flunk his way out of yet another degree at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. His wikipedia entry cites problems with university authorities and activism as factors in Melford’s apparent inability to see-through obtaining an education. If one were to speak more plainly one would say that it appears that Melford Dokubo Goodhead was somewhat of a rascal. Were one to speak even more plainly one might also say that the son of a high court judge, born into relative affluence, educated not in the creeks but in Port-Harcourt and Calabar (schooled in Port-Harcourt and promptly unschooled in Calabar) is an extremely unlikely candidate for fire-breathing, bomb-throwing (literal and otherwise), Ijaw people-freeing, ethnic nationalist and murderous militant. Melford is not a man driven by the haunting memories of a deprived childhood in the oil creeks of the Niger Delta. And yet, here he is playing this role with bombast and aplomb. I applaud him.

After flunking out of University twice Melford Goodhead Jr. next decided that the best way to make up for any disappointment or embarrassment he may have caused his family was by converting to Islam and changing his name to Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. There’s nothing wrong with converting to Islam (I have also considered it but more as a youthful ‘fuck you’ to my born again christian mother) but you will appreciate that his family probably weren’t thrilled in much the same way as many a Muslim family in a similar position. Plus, who goes and drops this shit on their family after flunking out of university not once but twice? Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jnr, its safe to say, was the black sheep of the family. Possibly at this same point in his life he decided that he was not only going to grow a beard, he was going to grow a great big, outlandish one. A bigger beard does not make one a better muslim but I guess it is sometimes important to try  to look the part and Melford or, if you like, Asari Dokubo, with his great big beard certainly looks the part. Only a cold, joyless cynic would question the devoutness of a man with such a prosperous beard.

He went on to fail at a few more things, unsuccessfully contesting for public office in 1992 and 1998 before being thrust into relative prominence as Vice President of the Ijaw Youth Congress in 1998. This was about the same time politicians like Peter Odili were allegedly funding and arming young men like Melford Goodhead Jnr. to facilitate the rigging of elections. Indeed, during the 2003 general elections Mr. Goodhead was allegedly contracted by the PDP to ‘deliver’ Akuku Toru, Degema and Asari Toru Local Government Areas. Melford was a community organiser of an entirely different sort from Barack Obama. After the elections however, like many of these newly armed, funded young men, Melford Goodhead Jr quickly turned his attention to “the transnational illegal oil bunkering networks, collecting tolls on the trade, providing security to bunkering crews, selling oil or operating illegal oil refineries, whose products were sold below market prices”. When he was finally arrested by the Federal Government in 2005, Melford had added a nationalist side story to his criminal operation, “from the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta he built up his now infamous Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force in 2004 and launched a damaging military and propaganda war against the state and federal governments and those he described as their agents, prompting the government to initiate full-scale military operations against him”.

Since his release from detention in June 2007 (the treason charges against him do not appear to have been formally withdrawn), Melford has done very well for himself indeed. In August 2012 the Wall Street Journal reported that the Federal Government pays him $9 million dollars a year to protect the very same pipelines he used to vandalise prior to his arrest. By his own admission Goodhead Jr. is getting a big fat slice of the ‘national cake’:

“Obasanjo gave me. Yar’Adua even did more. He gave me right to lift oil, 10,000 barrels. Almost every month I was getting 5,000 DPK until I disagreed with him. Five thousand tonnes of DPK at that time translated to N36 million. Obasanjo offered to make me the first Director of Youth Sport and Women Affairs at the Directorate of NDDC, I rejected it because Obasanjo awarded a contract worth N4.5 billion in my village, Soku, when I told him that my people were suffering and he, a man from Abeokuta, was enjoying. I am a king in my village. NDDC has also awarded another dredging contract in Soku. When this terrible flood came, Soku was never flooded. Under Yar’Adua, he awarded road construction in my community. Even with all that, I spoke against Obasanjo government. When SSS wanted to recruit new hands during Obasanjo’s administration, I went to him, spoke to him and he said ‘bring a list of your people’ and I took the list, the people went for interview. Luckily out of the 15 people, only two did not pass.

During Obasanjo’s government, they were recruiting people in the Immigration Service. Some Obasanjo’s aides told me to meet with the immigration officials. Some of my people were recruited. These things were done under Obasanjo’s administration. Even when I was in prison, Obasanjo took filling stations to my village, (Funsho) Kupolokun gave me the management of that mega filling station.”

As the people of the Niger Delta continue to suffer genuine deprivation and economic and environmental devastation, parasites like Melford Goodhead Jr feed fat and profit from their misery whilst masquerading as a champion of their interests. It is important that Nigerians see him for what he really is; a delinquent, charlatan and criminal opportunist. Fortunately, not everyone is buying into the intricately woven fiction that is Asari Dokubo the freedom fighter. Last week the Okrika Youth Movement described him as “misguided” “self serving and mischievous” and in a signed press release went on to allege that:

“Asari owns a pipeline security outfit to stem the rising wave of piracy on the Niger Delta waters but failed to work for the objectives for which the contract was given after millions of dollars had been paid to him….In spite of the shameful failure above, he and those in his category have mounted series of pressures on the presidency, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs as well as the petroleum minister for the renewal of such contracts. This is most unfortunate and goes to show that unlike High Government Ekpomupolo (Tompolo) whose Oil Facility Surveillance Company is working in the Delta axis to rid the state of oil thieves, Asari’s supposed struggle is about self and self alone.

…Asari attempted to arm-twist the Federal Ministry of Transport to award him another multi-million naira project. Upon failure in this regards, he turned to some presidency officials for assistance, which he never got on the basis that he had an outstanding job (PIPELINE SECURITY) which he never executed.”

The next time you hear or read about Asari Dokubo ranting about ‘the struggle’ and the ‘plight of the Nigeria Delta’, you will do well to remember that the only struggle Melford Goodhead Jr is or has ever been engaged in is the battle for the health of his bank balance. Hopefully the people of the Niger Delta will someday free themselves of Melford Goodhead Jr and other parasites like him. Until they do, they will always have to endure the insufferable nuisance that is Asari Dokubo.

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Posted in: Politics