This study seeks to investigate the highly sensitive utterances of threat by Asari Dokubo in his struggle for the political and economic emancipation of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria; utterances that clearly portray his ideological leaning. Our analysis is linked to Norman Fairclough(1995) as quoted in Horvath Juraj(2010) that texts portray ideology which in turns are ‘open to diverse interpretations’(Horvath Juraj:2010). Selected utterances of Dokubo are analyzed and the findings reveal his political and regional sentiments.
Discourse analysis is generally an umbrella term for the many traditions by which discourse may be analysed. It is a critique of cognitivism that developed from the 1970s onwards, although it has its roots in the ‘turn to language’ in the 1950s (Woolgar, 1988). Whereas cognitivism speaks of objective, observable, knowable reality, on the other hand discourse analysis speaks of multiple versions of reality, multiple ‘truths’, which are constructed through texts, therefore there are correspondingly multiple versions of analyses. Here, language is viewed as a social performance or a social action – it is productive and constitutive (language both creates social phenomena and is representative of social phenomena). The method explores power relations from a critical standpoint in an attempt to make sense of the social world by providing new critical insights – a positive contribution to both theory and research.
According to Van Dijk (1998a) Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is a field that is concerned with studying and analyzing written and spoken texts to reveal the discursive sources of power, dominance, inequality and bias. It examines how these discursive sources are maintained and reproduced within specific social, political and historical contexts. In a similar vein, Fairclough (1993) defines CDA as discourse analysis which aims to systematically explore often opaque relationships of causality and determination between (a) discursive practices, events and texts, and (b) wider social and cultural structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices, events and texts arise out of and are ideologically shaped by relations of power and struggles over power; and to explore how the opacity of these relationships between discourse and society is itself a factor securing power and hegemony. (p. 135) To put it simply, CDA aims at making transparent the connections between discourse practices, social practices, and social structures; connections that might be opaque to the layperson. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context. With such dissident research, critical discourse analysts take explicit position, and thus want to understand, expose, and ultimately resist social inequality.
1.2 Critical Discourse Analysis
Critical Discourse analysis is a branch of Critical Linguistics which analyzes a text in connection with the social context of that text. Norman Fairclough(1989:24) sees it as ‘the whole process of social interaction in which a text is just a part’. It is the consideration given to a text in relation to the social context that surrounds it. The critical discourse analyst considers a text as an entity of the social and cultural relations that informed such a text. Van Dijk (2001) considers it to be ‘a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context’.
When analyzing a discourse, the speech act of an utterance is usually put into consideration. This goes to expose the intention of the speaker (illocutionary force) and the effects the utterance has on the hearer (perlocutionary act).
1.3 Theoretical Background
1.3.1The Speech Act Theory
In this study, we shall adopt the speech act theory to analyze Dokubo’s utterances. The speech act theory introduced by a British language philosopher, J. L. Austin in 1962 in his ‘How to do things with words’ and further developed by American philosopher, J.R Searle concerns itself with the fact that the speaker’s utterances produce so much effects and consequences on the hearer. Keith Allen (2012) believes that the speech act as a pragmatic exercise is created ‘when Speaker makes an utterance U to Hearer in context C and must be interpreted as an aspect of social interaction.’ When an utterance is made, there is a meaning that is naturally attached to it which experts in pragmatics called the locutionary act. Again, it is a fact that when someone speaks, there is a force in him that makes him to produce such an utterance. This is considered to be the illocutionary act or illocutionary force. The utterance is made to achieve a certain effect or result on the hearer. This is the perlocutionary act. Searle claims that there are five major types of actions that human beings can performed by the use of language. They are: representative, declarative, directive, expressive and commissive. For the sake of this study, we shall particularly base our analysis on the commissive aspect of the speech act theory. This is a speech act theory which commits the speaker to some future course of action. This could be a threat, a promise, a vow, a bet, a guarantee, an offer, warning, etc. Dokubo’s utterances majorly fit into the category of threat. In social context, his utterances could be termed an incitement. Already, Dokubo understands very well, the schemata of his audience, in this case, Nigerians. He knows that each time he issues a threat, the chances are that, the unarmed Nigerians are either thrown into fear and confusion or his group (the Niger Delta militants) are reinforced and encouraged to take up arms against the state. John Gary Stobbs(2012) succinctly puts the idea of schemata theory thus: ‘there is a shared cultural, historical and social schema that is used by the speaker to create a common understanding of an ideology. The speaker will utilise the schemata of the hearer. By using shorter utterances, the speaker allows the hearer to form a coherent understanding. The short utterances are complete in themselves but also build towards an overall conclusion.’
2.1 EVOLUTION OF CDA
In the late 1970s, Critical Linguistics (CL) was developed by a group of linguists and literary theorists at the University of East Anglia (Fowler et. al., 1979; Kress & Hodge, 1979). Their approach was based on Halliday's Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). CL practitioners such as Trew (1979a) aimed at "isolating ideology in discourse" and showing "how ideology and ideological processes are manifested as systems of linguistic characteristics and processes" (155). This aim was pursued by developing CL's analytical tools based on SFL (Fowler et al., 1979; Fowler, 1991). Following Halliday, these CL practitioners view language in use as simultaneously performing three functions: ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions. According to Fowler (1991, p. 71), and Fairclough (1995b, p. 25), whereas the ideational function refers to the experience of the speakers of the world and its phenomena, the interpersonal function embodies the insertion of speakers' own attitudes and evaluations about the phenomena in question, and establishing a relationship between speakers and listeners. Instrumental to these two functions is the textual function. It is through the textual function of language that speakers are able to produce texts that are understood by listeners. It is an enabling function connecting discourse to the co-text and con-text in which it occurs. Halliday's view of language as a "social act" is central to many of CDA's practitioners (Hodge & Kress, 1979). According to Fowler et al. (1979), CL, like sociolinguistics, asserts that, "there are strong and pervasive connections between linguistic structure and social structure" (185). However, whereas in sociolinguistics "the concepts 'language' and 'society' are divided…so that one is forced to talk of 'links between the two'", for CL "language is an integral part of social process" (Fowler et al., 189).
Another central assumption of CDA and SFL is that speakers make choices regarding vocabulary and grammar, and that these choices are consciously or unconsciously "principled and systematic"(Fowler et al., 188). Thus choices are ideologically based. According to Fowler et al., the "relation between form and content is not arbitrary or conventional, but….. form signifies content" (188). In sum, language is a social act and it is ideologically driven.
On further development of CDA, over the years CL and what recently is more frequently referred to as CDA has been further developed and broadened. Recent work has raised some concerns with the earlier work in CL. Among the concerns was, first, taking into consideration the role of audiences and their interpretations of discourse possibly different from that of the discourse analyst. The second concern has called for broadening the scope of analysis beyond the textual, extending it to the intertextual analysis.
Fairclough (1995b) has raised both issues. He claims that the earliest work in CL did not adequately focus on the "interpretive practices of audiences." In other words, he claims that CL has, for the most part, assumed that the audiences interpret texts the same way the analysts do. In a similar vein, commenting on Fowler (1991), Boyd-Barrett (1994) asserts that there is "a tendency towards the classic fallacy of attributing particular 'readings' to readers, or media 'effects,' solely on the basis of textual analysis" ( 31).The other issue put forward by Fairclough (1995b) is that while earlier contributions in CL were very thorough in their grammatical and lexical analysis they were less attentive to the intertextual analysis of texts: "the linguistic analysis is very much focused upon clauses, with little attention to higher-level organization properties of whole texts" (28). Despite raising these issues with regards to earlier works in CL, Fairclough (1995b) inserts that "mention of these limitations is not meant to minimize the achievement of critical linguistics--they largely reflect shifts of focus and developments of theory in the past twenty years or so" (28). The "shifts of focus and developments of theory" which Fairclough talks about, however, have not resulted in the creation of a single theoretical framework. What is known today as CDA, according to Bell & Garret (1998), "is best viewed as a shared perspective encompassing a range of approaches rather than as just one school" (7). Also, Van Dijk tells us that CDA "is not a specific direction of research" hence "it does not have a unitary theoretical framework." But, van Dijk also asserts that given the common perspective and the general aims of CDA, we may also find overall conceptual and theoretical frameworks that are closely related.
2.2 THE MEDIA AND APPROACHES TO CDA
Among the scholars whose works have profoundly contributed to the development of CDA are Van Dijk (1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998b, 1998a), Wodak (1995, 1996, 1999), and Fairclough (1989, 1992, 1993, 1995a, 1995b, 1999). Van Dijk proposed the Socio-Cognitive Model. Among CDA practitioners, Van Dijk is one of the most often referenced and quoted in critical studies of media discourse, even in studies that do not necessarily fit within the CDA perspective (e.g. Karim, 2000; Ezewudo, 1998). In the 1980s, he started to apply his discourse analysis theory to media texts mainly focusing on the representation of ethnic groups and minorities in Europe. In his News Analysis (1988), he integrates his general theory of discourse to the discourse of news in the press, and applies his theory to authentic cases of news reports at both the national and international level. What distinguishes Van Dijk's (1988) framework for the analyses of news discourse is his call for a thorough analysis not only of the textual and structural level of media discourse but also for analysis and explanations at the production and "reception" or comprehension level (Boyd-Barrett, 1994).
By structural analysis, Van Dijk posited analysis of "structures at various levels of description" which meant not only the grammatical, phonological, morphological and semantic level but also "higher level properties" such as coherence, overall themes and topics of news stories and the whole schematic forms and rhetorical dimensions of texts. This structural analysis, however, he claimed, will not suffice, for discourse is not simply an isolated textual or dialogic structure. Rather it is a complex communicative event that also embodies a social context, featuring participants (and their properties) as well as production and reception processes (Van Dijk, 2). By "production processes" Van Dijk means journalistic and institutional practices of news-making and the economic and social practices which not only play important roles in the creation of media discourse but which can be explicitly related to the structures of media discourse.
Van Dijk's other dimension of analysis, "reception processes", involves taking into consideration the comprehension, "memorization and reproduction" of news information. What Van Dijk's analysis of media (1988, 1991, 1993) attempts to demonstrate is the relationships between the three levels of news text production (structure, production and comprehension processes) and their relationship with the wider social context they are embedded within. In order to identify such relationships, Van Dijk's analysis takes place at two levels: microstructure and macrostructure.
At the microstructure level, analysis is focused on the semantic relations between propositions, syntactic, lexical and other rhetorical elements that provide coherence in the text, and other rhetorical elements such as quotations, direct or indirect reporting that give factuality to the news reports. Central to van Dijk's analysis of news reports, however, is the analysis of macrostructure since it pertains to the thematic/topic structure of the news stories and their overall schemata. Themes and topics are realized in the headlines and lead paragraphs. According to Van Dijk, the headlines "define the overall coherence or semantic unity of discourse, and also what information readers memorize best from a news report" (248). He claims that the headline and the lead paragraph express the most important information of the cognitive model of journalists, that is, how they see and define the news event. Unless readers have different knowledge and beliefs, they will generally adopt these subjective media definitions of what is important information about an event. (Van Dijk, 248)
For Van Dijk (14-16), the news schemata ("superstructure schema") are structured according to a specific narrative pattern that consists of the following: summary (headline and the lead paragraph), story (situation consisting of episode and backgrounds), and consequences (final comments and conclusions). These sections of a news story are sequenced in terms of "relevance," so the general information is contained in the summary, the headline and the lead paragraph. To Van Dijk, this is what the readers can best memorize and recall. Van Dijk essentially perceives discourse analysis as ideology analysis, because according to him, "ideologies are typically, though not exclusively, expressed and reproduced in discourse and communication, including non-verbal semiotic messages, such as pictures, photographs and movies" (17). His approach for analyzing ideologies has three parts: social analysis, cognitive analysis, and discourse analysis (30). Whereas the social analysis pertains to examining the "overall societal structures," (the context), the discourse analysis is primarily text based (syntax, lexicon, local semantics, topics, schematic structures, etc.). In this sense, van Dijk's approach incorporates the two traditional approaches in media education: interpretive (text based) and social tradition (context based), into one analytical framework for analyzing media discourse. However, what noticeably distinguishes van Dijk's approach from other approaches in CDA is another feature of his approach: cognitive analysis.
For van Dijk it is the socio-cognition— social cognition and personal cognition—that mediates between society and discourse. He defines social cognition as "the system of mental representations and processes of group members" (18). In this sense, for van Dijk, "ideologies … are the overall, abstract mental systems that organize … socially shared attitudes" (18). Ideologies, thus, "indirectly influence the personal cognition of group members" in their act of comprehension of discourse among other actions and interactions (19). He calls the mental representations of individuals during such social actions and interactions "models". For him, "models control how people act, speak or write, or how they understand the social practices of others" (2). Of crucial importance here is that, according to van Dijk, mental representations "are often articulated along the Us versus Them dimensions, in which speakers of one group will generally tend to present themselves or their own group in positive terms, and other groups in negative terms" (22). Analysing and making explicit this contrastive dimension of Us versus Them has been central to most of van Dijk's research and writings. He believes that one who desires to make transparent such an ideological dichotomy in discourse needs to analyze discourse in the following way (61-63):
a. Examining the context of the discourse: historical, political or social background of a conflict and its main participants
b. Analyzing groups, power relations and conflicts involved
c. Identifying positive and negative opinions about Us versus Them
d. Making explicit the presupposed and the implied
e. Examining all formal structure: lexical choice and syntactic structure, in a way that helps to (de)emphasize polarized group opinions.
Discourse Sociolinguistics is one of the approaches in CDA associated with Wodak and her colleagues in Vienna (The Vienna School of Discourse Analysis). Wodak bases her model "on sociolinguistics in the Bernsteinian tradition, and on the ideas of the Frankfurt school, especially those of Jürgen Habermas" (Wodak, 209). According to Wodak;
Discourse Sociolinguistics…is a sociolinguistics which not only is explicitly dedicated to the study of the text in context, but also accords both factors equal importance. It is an approach capable of identifying and describing the underlying mechanisms that contribute to those disorders in discourse which are embedded in a particular context— whether they be in the structure and function of the media, or in institutions such as a hospital or a school— and inevitably affect communication. (3)
Wodak has carried out research in various institutional settings such as courts, schools, and hospitals, and on a variety of social issues such as sexism, racism and anti-Semitism. Wodak's work on the discourse of anti-Semitism in 1990 led to the development of an approach she termed the discourse historical method. The term historical occupies a unique place in this approach. It denotes an attempt on the part of this approach "to integrate systematically all available background information in the analysis and interpretation of the many layers of a written or spoken text" (209). The results of Wodak and her colleagues' study showed that the context of the discourse had a significant impact on the structure, function, and context of the anti- Semitic utterances" (209). Focusing on the historical contexts of discourse in the process of explanation and interpretation is a feature that distinguishes this approach from other approaches of CDA especially that of van Dijk. In the discourse historical method approach (similar to Fairclough's) it is believed that language "manifests social processes and interaction" and "constitutes" those processes as well (12). According to Wodak & Ludwig, viewing language this way entails three things at least. First, discourse "always involves power and ideologies. No interaction exists where power relations do not prevail and where values and norms do not have a relevant role" (12). Second, "discourse … is always historical, that is, it is connected synchronically and diachronically with other communicative events which are happening at the same time or which have happened before" (12). This is similar to Fairclough's notion of intertextuality. The third feature of Wodak's approach is that of interpretation. According to Wodak & Ludwig, readers and listeners, depending on their background knowledge and information and their position, might have different interpretations of the same communicative event (13). Therefore, they assert that "THE RIGHT interpretation does not exist; a hermeneutic approach is necessary. Interpretations can be more or less plausible or adequate, but they cannot be true" (emphasis in original) (13).
This point has been raised by Fairclough (15-16), as well. The third main approach in CDA is that of Fairclough whose theory has been central to CDA over more than the past ten years. Fairclough, in his earlier work, called his approach to language and discourse Critical Language Study (1989, 5). He described the objective of this approach as "a contribution to the general raising of consciousness of exploitative social relations, through focusing upon language" (4). This aim in particular remains in his later work that further develops his
approach so that it is now one of the most comprehensive frameworks of CDA.
For Chuliaraki and Fairclough, CDA "brings social science and linguistics … together within a single theoretical and analytical framework, setting up a dialogue between them"(6). The linguistic theory referred to here is Systematic Functional Linguistics (SFL), which has been the foundation for Fairclough's analytical framework as it has been for other practitioners in CDA.. Fairclough's approach also draws upon a number of critical social theorists, such as Foucault (i.e. concept of orders of discourse), Gramsci (concept of hegemony), Habermas (i.e. concept of colonization of discourses), among others. Chuliaraki and Fairclough posit that CDA has a particular contribution to make. They argue that, "the past two decades or so have been a period of profound economic social transformation on a global scale" (30). They believe that although these changes are due to particular actions by people the changes have been perceived as "part of nature" (4), that is, changes and transformations have been perceived as natural and not due to people's causal actions. The recent economic and social changes, according to Chuliaraki and Fairclough, "are to a significant degree . . . transformations in the language, and discourse" ( 4), thus, CDA can help by theorizing transformations and creating an awareness "of what is, how it has come to be, and what it might become, on the basis of which people may be able to make and remake their lives" (4). With such an objective in mind, Chuliaraki and Fairclough claim that CDA of a communicative interaction sets out to show that the semiotic and linguistic features of the interaction are systematically connected with what is going on socially, and what is going on socially is indeed going on partly or wholly semiotically or linguistically. Put differently, CDA systematically charts relations of transformation between the symbolic and non-symbolic, between discourse and the non-discursive (113). In this approach of CDA, there are three analytical focuses in analysing any communicative event (interaction). They are text (e.g. a news report), discourse practice (e.g. the process of production and consumption), and socio-cultural practice (e.g. social and cultural structures which give rise to the communicative event) (Fairclough, 57; Chuliaraki & Fairclough, 113). These closely resemble van Dijk's three dimensions of ideology analysis: discourse, socio-cognition, and social analysis [analysis of social structures] respectively. What seems to be the main difference between Fairclough's and van Dijk's approach is the second dimension, which mediates between the other two. Whereas van Dijk perceives social cognition and mental models as mediating between discourse and the social, Fairclough believes that this task is assumed by discourse practices— text production and consumption— (Fairclough, 59). In this case, these two approaches of CDA, are "similar in conception" (Fairclough, 59).
2.3 SPEECH ACTS AND ASARI DOKUBO
The critical discourse analyst considers a text as an entity of the social and cultural relations that informed such a text. Van Dijk (2001) considers it to be ‘a type of discourse analytical research that primarily studies the way social power abuse, dominance, and inequality are enacted, reproduced, and resisted by text and talk in the social and political context’. When analyzing a discourse, the speech act of an utterance is usually put into consideration. This goes to expose the intention of the speaker (illocutionary force) and the effects the utterance has on the hearer (perlocutionary act).
The data for this research were collected from the interviews granted to Asari Dokubo by the Nigerian media. The utterances were downloaded from online news media like Premium Times (www.premiumtimesng.com), PM News Nigeria (www.pmnewsnigeria.com) and youtube (www.youtube.com).The utterances were carefully studied and presented to expose the hidden force that informed such utterances.
From the way Dokubo issues threat utterances, one can easily decipher the covert ideology and political affiliation that underlie such utterances. Dokubo was a staunch supporter of former president Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), contesting for a re-election in 2015. Having come from the same region, the Niger Delta (a minority region) and speaking the same language (Ijaw) with Jonathan, Asari could not hide his feelings as evident in his utterances thus:
‘There would be bloodshed if Jonathan looses in 2015’
(Premium Times of September 9, 2013. Posted by Bassey Udo)
1. ‘The way things are going, there is no sitting on the fence in the battle before us. When some people say they have the right to rule and others don’t have, there is no sitting on the fence. All of us will have to be in the ring and fight. We cannot leave Goodluck alone.’
It is obvious that this threat was meant to compel Nigerians to vote for Jonathan. An average Nigerian is afraid of war and crisis, having had some measurable share of internal conflicts and insurgency.
2. ‘My support for Jonathan will be biased, because charity begins at home. Monkey no fine, but im mama like am. Goodluck, na my person. 2015 is already a settled matter. Goodluck Jonathan would be president in 2015.’
3. ‘Whether they contest or they don’t. If they say the blood of the dogs and the baboons will be soaked in the streets, or salt water in the streets, we will help them in blood in the streets.’
Dokubo holds a populist view that the political and economic rights of his people are denied by the Northerners which he called ‘Gambari North.’ This view, coupled with his anti-government stance made him to form and lead the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, a very prominent armed group operating in the Niger Delta region. The group believes that since oil, being a resource that generates much of Nigeria’s income, is tapped from the region, they have the right to control this resource and not the federal government. The following utterances portray that:
‘Resource Control: Asari Dokubo Threatens Northerners’
(P.M News Nigeria of July 17, 2014. Posted by Eromosele Ebhomele)
4. We hereby equivocate that going back to the creeks may be inevitably preferable rather than allow for the wealth of our people be used to develop or rehabilitate a parasitic, barren yet ignorantly arrogant Gambari North.’
5. ‘We are fully ready to mobilize our people from across the Niger Delta and even in the diaspora to stand up for definite showdowns and direct actions.’
6. ‘Let us state very emphatically that irrespective of the final determination of the National Conference, our minimum expectation and demand as a people is and remains 100 control of our resources or nothing.’
7. ‘Yes, the National conference can go on and propose even one hundred states, agree to rehabilitate and develop areas ravaged by insurgency and internal conflict, agree to develop solid minerals resources and whatever, but let it be known that not a dime of the resources of the people of the Niger Delta should be factored into this odious compromise.’
8. ‘The Gambari North must no longer be sustained at our expense, our God given resources belong to us and not Nigeria. The end of Lugard’s Nigeria is now!’
‘We’ll resume our struggle if Buhari “draws the first blood”- Asari Dokubo
(premiummtimes of May 18, 2015. Posted by Nicholas Ibekwe)
9. ‘Yes, a new government begins in Nigeria and a next phase of our struggle shall begin also’…. ‘Jonathan Goodluck presidency was like a restraining order now that restraint is lifted. However, we will watch and wait, let them draw the first blood and we shall determine our best way forward. Truly Nigeria will never be the same again, the future is pregnant.’
10. ‘Should Buhari whom like pharaoh has determined in his heart to turn desolate the Niger Delta region, draw the first blood by undermining certain interest of the region then begin the systemic arrest, maiming and murder of our comrades, continue the confiscation of our rights to self-determination and treat the region as a conquered region, then it may be honourable for some of us to die in prison or in the field of war as nobody is afraid of him.’
Lexis and Phrase Analysis
1. Dokubo uses the phrase ‘…no sitting on the fence’ repeatedly in his utterance accessed from the Premium Times. He uses this idiom to mean he and his group will be decisive this time to war against the federal government and that no force would make them change that decision.
2. ‘…draws the first blood’ is metaphor used here to portend danger. This shows Dokubo’s readiness to strike back if, according to him, President Buhari strikes first by ‘undermining’ their interest in form of arrest and murder of their members or people from his region.
It should be noted that the Niger Delta militants had since surrendered their arms when amnesty was given to them by the late President Yaradua. To draw the ‘first blood’ here also suggests cancellation of amnesty.
3. There is also the repeated use of ‘yes’ in his utterance to show determination in the fight against the government.
Use of Pronominals
1. ‘let us’, ‘all of us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘us’ are all pronominal phrases that run through the selected utterances. This reveals that Dokubo is not alone in the struggle. The pronominals show inclusiveness and togetherness of the group.
1. ‘Should Buhari whom like pharaoh…’ There is a reference to Pharaoh, king of Egypt in the Bible days, who was adamant and refused to release the children of Israel to freedom. The consequence of that was total destruction of pharaoh and his people. Dokubo believes that the Buhari led federal government would face the same fate should he draw ‘the first blood’. This allusion also reveals Dokubo’s religious history. (He converted from Christianity to Islam in1990).
1. ‘Whether they contest or they don’t. If they say the blood of the dogs and the baboons will be soaked in the streets, or salt water in the streets, we will help them in blood in the streets.’
The above statement has a diachronic connotation. There was a statement credited to President Buhari sometime ago in Nigeria that he would make Nigeria ungovernable and that ‘the dogs and the baboons would be soaked in blood’ if the 2015 presidential election was rigged by the then ruling PDP. Dokubo was probably referring to that. Dokubo used ‘they’ here to refer to President Buhari.
2. ‘… Lugard’s Nigeria…’ used to refer to Nigeria dominated by Northerners; a Nigeria named in the days of Lord Lugard.
There is a synchronic reference here when Dokubo said ‘When some people say they have the right to rule and others don’t have…’There is a common notion among the Southern minority in Nigeria that the Northerners are power drunk and are ready to continue in that line. The Southerners believe that the Northerners dominate in Nigeria’s political setting.