Oronto Douglas, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research, Documentation and Strategy, is dead.
Mr. Douglas, 49, a presidency source said, passed on at the State House clinic at 4:58 a.m. Thursday.
The real cause of his death is unknown at this time, but the presidential adviser is said to have managed a terminal illness for sometime, and had, from time to time, sought treatment abroad for prolonged periods.
Born 1966, Mr. Douglas is regularly described as one of Mr. Jonathan’s most brilliant and influential aides, documenting the President’s achievements and legacies, and helping coordinate parallel media and campaign strategies for the presidency.
“He was one of those who had the most far-reaching influence on President Jonathan,” a presidential aide said.
A lawyer and committed environmentalist, Mr. Douglas was a commissioner for information in Bayelsa and was a delegate from the state for the 2005 National Political Reform Conference organised by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
He emerged one of the shinning stars of that conference as the Niger Delta region pushed for improved revenue allocation to the area to mitigate the effect of oil exploitation.
Mr. Douglas’ last Facebook post was on March 8 when he shared the video of Mr. Jonathan’s interview with foreign news channel, Al-Jazeera, in the runup to the March 28 presidential election.
“The Conviction with which President Jonathan says “I Will Not Lose the Election’ is compelling almost to the point of prophesy. This is a President well connected to his people,” he wrote in what appears his analysis of Mr. Jonathan’s performance in the interview.
Oronto Douglas; was a leading human rights attorney in Nigeria, and served as one of the lawyers on the defense team for the Ogoni leader Ken Saro Wiwa, who was executed by Nigeria’s military rulers in 1995. Douglas co- founded Africa’s foremost environmental movement, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and has served in the board of several non profit organizations within and outside Nigeria. Though he has been arrested and tortured by successive military regimes, he continues to work for and speak out on issues of social justice in a corporate- military state.
He was the first Niger Delta activist to be hosted by a serving American President – he presented the Niger-Delta struggle at the White House to President Bill Clinton.
Douglas who advises the Nigerian Vice President on strategic issues of community and the environment, is a fellow of both the George Bell Institute (England) and the International Forum on Globalization (USA). Widely traveled, Douglas has presented papers in over 200 international conferences and has visited over 50 countries to speak and present on human rights and the environment. He is the author of several works including the ground breaking WHERE VULTURES FEAST, Shell and human rights in the Niger Delta which he co-authored with his friend Ike Okonta.
Environmentalist and Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Oronto Douglas has been named among the 20 most influential writers, thinkers, and activists in the world. Mr Douglas was listed in a recent book “Political Awakenings: Conversations with History” by Harry Kreiser the Executive Director of the Institute of International Studies, University of California. Mr Douglas was selected with 19 others, from 485 interviews of people which the book described as “distinguished men and women who by the power of their intellect and strength of character shape the world.” Mr Douglas made the Science, Food and The Environment: Movement for Justice category which comprised select individuals that have challenged corporate power which seeks to disproportionately reap the benefits of science and technology to the detriment of the society.