Unfazed by the lethal and fiendish pose of gun-totting operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), she braced herself for a showdown at the National Assembly Complex on Tuesday. It was the height of daredevilry and bravado for Boma Goodhead, lawmaker representing Asalga/Akulga federal constituency of Rivers state. She dared the masked men to shoot her after they invaded the parliament and prevented lawmakers from gaining access.
Pointing menacingly at one of the operatives, Goodhead roared, “Shoot this gun, how many people can you shoot down here? Let those bullets start coming out. We are not going anywhere.
“Use these bullets and Nigerians shall face you. I dare you to shoot these bullets. Go back to your station, go back to your station. You come here with masked face, bullets in your guns, to intimidate. Enough is enough in Nigeria.”
At the world press conference he addressed following the invasion, Senate President Bukola Saraki heaped praises on Goodhead for her “gallant” display against the hooded operatives.
He said, “Among the many that come up for special mention, I believe that Boma Goodhead, a member of the house of representatives, stands out. She looked at a masked security operative in the eye and dared him to shoot. She let it be known that Nigerians would not stand for the barricade at the national assembly, that we would not be cowed. It was another pointer to what is possible in this country when women take their place in leadership.”
Asari Dokubo’s Sister
Asari-Dokubo and his supporters celebrating the victory of Goodhead in 2016
For the feeble ones, the display at the national assembly was an act of grabbing the devil by the testicles. But little do they know that the 47-year-old lawmaker has an enviable resume of gallantry and resilience – the type that some associate with her Niger Delta kinsmen.
And one more thing, she’s Mujahid Asari-Dokubo’s sister. Asari-Dokubo, ex-militant and leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), was formerly Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jr. The siblings were born to Melford Dokubo, a former high court judge.
Her brother was actively involved in the rerun election that brought her into the 8th assembly. When she was declared winner of the keenly contested exercise, Asari-Dokubo and his supporters trooped to the streets.
Goodhead surrounded by security operatives in 2005.
Struggle for her brother
She is not new to protests or brawls with security operatives. In 2005 when the government of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly harassed her brother, Goodhead staged a protest to demand fair treatment for him. Back then, she displayed her courageous act just as she did last week. Goodhead confronted the policemen.
She is a former aide of James Ibori, ex-governor of Delta state, having served as a junior assistant.
During a committee meeting in the chamber last year, she had allegedly threatened to “break the head” of her colleague, Abdulrazak Atunwa who had written a letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan, asking him to appear before an ad hoc panel probing the Malabu bribery scandal.
Last month when 37 APC lawmakers joined PDP, she had a shouting match with Munir Agundi, her colleague from Kano state. Agundi had attempted to convince his colleagues not to leave the ruling party and this drew the ire of Goodhead who engaged him in an argument.
Met with Ese Oruru
Goodhead’s life is not all about activism. She also identifies with the downtrodden. After Ese Oruru, the 13-year-old reportedly girl abducted and taken to Kano from Bayelsa state, where she was allegedly forcibly converted to Islam and married off without her parents’ consent, Goodhead visited her and her parents and promised to sponsor the girl’s education to tertiary institution.
It’s not clear if that promise was fulfilled.
Goodhead being led away by mobile policemen she challenged
The graduate of the University of Port Harcourt had vied to represent her constituency in the state house of assembly on three occasions but lost until 2015 when she won the house of reps seat. The election was annulled but she also won the rerun.
Asked women to fight for their rights
In an interview with PUNCH, the legislator advised women to fight for their rights.
“Nothing will be handed over to them (women) on a platter of gold. Even in Sierra Leone, where they say ‘oh, we are in Free Town’, nothing is free in Free Town. So, fight for whatever you are looking for as a woman. If you go into the Bible, many of the women who were front liners, like Deborah, Esther, and Naomi; they were all women who stood for what they wanted. They worked hard to get what they wanted,” she had said.