EXCLUSIVE: Henry Orkar writes from South Africa Prison, Defends Asari Dolubo, Niger Delta campaign

By Henry Orkar

I was since 2014 detained in solitary confinement; and it was only following my 5 July 2023 transfer to a normal prison that I was able to freely contact friends and relatives in Nigeria – one of who promptly brought to my attention your article which he found to be thoroughly informative and enthralling.

Unfortunately though, I do not have access to the internet and therefore trusted my younger brother who was in Nigeria to read some and apprise me of the gist of what he confirmed to be a well-researched expose on Asari Dokubo.

Assuming that your article is in its entirety factually correct – which I doubt, what purpose if I may ask, can a vituperative attack on the person and lineage of a nonentity such as Asari serve other than to provide him with much craved for publicity? That man thrives on publicity – be it positive or negative, and even pays to be interviewed.

By the way, I am for a number of reasons not in support of the Biafran agenda as put forward by its advocates but nonetheless have interacted with many Nigerians – especially Ibos who believe the partitioning of Nigeria to be the only viable option to remaining within our near-failed state; Nigeria. 

In 2010 I was introduced to a Mr Tony Nnadi – an ardent proponent for a state of Biafra – who despite his best efforts was unable to change my mind. I however learnt from interacting with Mr Nnadi and some of my Ibo friends that the biggest obstacle to the attainment of any meaningful form of self-determination in Eastern Nigeria, lies in the presumptuous nature of the Ibos.

In vain I tried to explain to Mr Nnadi that the people of the Niger Delta would never subscribe to the Biafra project as is. Firstly, there has been zero consultation with relevant people – the preference seeming to be for professional sycophants, thugs and criminals such as  Chief E.K. Clark, Asari, Tompolo – an act which of itself supposes the people of the Niger Delta to be idiots; bereft of quality leadership.

My advice to Mr Nnadi was that the entire project required to be re-designed so as to factor in realities on the ground – advice which apparently did not go down well with Mr Nnadi and his associates; who immediately upon my 2010 arrest re-directed their attention to others known by the Ijaws to for more than two decades have survived by being government informers and servants of multinational oil companies – the subject of your article being one of such people.

For your information Asari began as a leader of a gang of thugs, which armed with machetes attacked communities in Rivers State which opposed the oil companies. Tompolo on the other hand was an illiterate armed robber who prior to the Ijaw-Itsekeri conflict specialised in robbing banks. How can any reasonable person consider such to be the appropriate representatives of the Niger Delta peoples?

Sometime around 2013/2014, my brother Charles who was detained in Kuje Prison Abuja along with Mr Nnamdi Kanu attempted to warn him (Kanu) in regard to the IPOB’s romance with Asari but was disdainfully snubbed by Mr Kanu.

A few years into my imprisonment, I contacted Mr Nnadi asking for the support of his organisation towards my fight to regain my freedom. The blunt response to my request was that they would not assist in any manner as they were in consultation with “key stakeholders” in the Niger Delta and were closer than ever to the realization of their “Biafra Dream“. 

The IPOB and other Pro-Biafra groups had, despite warnings from several quarters, determinedly pitched their tents with that degenerate (Asari) in the expectation that their un-edited script would somehow be imposed on the Peoples of the Niger Delta. In light of all of the above-said, you may agree that your attack on one acknowledged by all to be bereft of integrity is unwarranted, and somewhat amusing.

More importantly, bear in mind that there are probably millions of “slave descent” who may be called upon someday to lay down their lives for a free Nigeria, and we Ijaws do not discriminate on the basis of class, caste or lineage.

It is said that a young man who washes his hands may eat with his elders – in which vein I believe that people should be judged by their accomplishments and/or failings, rather than the misfortunes of their progenitors.

History tells us that the ancestors of virtually everyone on earth have at one time or the other been slaves – the nation of Israel being a prime example. The Ancestors of highly respected Black Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr, Oprah Winfrey etc suffered an even worse fate because they were not given out in marriage but mated as animals.

Asari is by far subordinate to me, for which reason I have for now ignored his government sponsored insults. You clearly know relatively little about that man otherwise you would not waste your time and effort commenting about such garbage. Your article may for now have caused a few giggles but you can be certain  that it will not be well received in communities such as the Niger Delta where all men are accepted as being equal and are judged solely on the basis of their achievements.

Inasmuch as I personally never could stand Asari, I respectfully ask that for the sake of a possible future Ibo – Niger Delta cooperation you measure your words so as not to accidentally shoot your arrows at others whose assistance you may someday need. 

The Pro-Biafra groups on whose behalf you appear to be waging war against Asari, largely contributed towards enhancing (Asari’s) status and my continued unlawful detention in South Africa – which by my 2010 arrest, acted in disregard of Article 3(2) of the Second Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention of 1949 (additional Protocol II).

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