Omoyele Sowore has chosen an odd way to change a government, writes Owen Donbruce
There is a lot in common between the spate of banditry that various gangs of outlaws have been unleashing against the lives and property of many law-abiding citizens and the latest political violence by the ranks of misguided urban youth recruited by Omoyele Sowore in pursuit of a “revolution”.
Both groups seek to reap where they have not sown. They both share the desire to short-cut their way to satisfy inordinate urge to acquire wealth and power at the expense of innocent lives, property and ultimately, stability of the nation. The two groups resorted to banditry as a result of failure to “make it” from lawful endeavours.
Sowore’s agenda for using the 2019 presidential elections to leap-frog from a political neophyte and a New York-based, self-exiled online journalist and publisher, generously supported by the American Ford Foundation and the Global Information Network to publish his Sahara Reporters, to a presidential candidate was never hidden.
On arrival in 2018, he boasted: “I am coming from New York and I have just arrived Nigeria to lead a movement to change power in the country. I have been doing activism for over 30 years, I have never done anything less than national politics. So, there is no less position. The position that is most important to Nigerians today is the position of the president. I am more than qualified. There is no need going to become a local government chairman, councillor or a senator when I can run the country as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Disguised as “political activism,” the ultimate objective of Sowore was “regime change” by creating confusion in Lagos, Abuja and other major urban centers across the country. His African Action Congress (AAC) special purpose vehicle easily fulfilled conditions for registration but the reality of political inconsequence was stark. Sowore came 10th in the presidential elections with 33,953 votes, far less than what an average local government contestant can record. President Muhammadu Buhari’s won the election with 15 million votes.
Sowore’s next assignment was in fulfillment of his oft-expressed mission reflected in his choice of identity for his online platform, Sahara Reporters, “named less for geography than to symbolize his desire to kick up a storm across Nigeria.” He was no less truthful about his new mission by tagging it “#RevolutionNow”, knowing that Cambridge online dictionary defines revolution as “a change in the way a country is governed, usually to a different political system and often using violence or war”.
The bottom line of the Sowore strategy is that he is now emerging in his true colours. He has now dropped all pretences of pro-democracy activism and dared to don the cap and cloak of an agent provocateur to undermine the stability of his fatherland because he has another country, US, to call his own.
If he were genuinely “pro-democracy” he would have staked his resources in raising his political profile and winning more hearts and minds across Nigeria preparatory to the 2023 elections. Instead he has been spear-heading the hostile agenda of a foreign country to “kick up a storm across Nigeria” by instigating a revolution through which his foreign masters can infiltrate our country, to exacerbate unavoidable conflicts that will erupt.
Sowore is certainly unsuitable and ill-equipped for office of a local government chairman and lacks the followership of less than half the 33,000 votes he allegedly scored, considering that virtually all those who voted for him were misled.
A bold indication of his pedigree and partners was again flaunted when he visited the one steeped in dismembering Nigeria – Nnamdi Kanu, a man who jumped bail, betrayed his sureties and abandoned his “Biafra army” for the London haven provided by his foreign masters.
Nigerians must always remember that we have been successfully operating a full-fledged democracy since 1999. When unpatriotic elements, devoted to the agenda of enemies of the sovereignty of our father land provoke them into so-called pro-democracy activism, confrontational street protests and “revolution”, they should ask them to form a political party and be a constructive contribution to building our democratic dispensation.
All over the world, there is no civilized and accountable alternative system of government than democracy. It is because there can be no perfection in governance that democracy provides periodic opportunities for peaceful, transparent and systematic general elections into its institutions for the people to choose their representatives.
Sowore’s oft-repeated credential is that he is an “activist”, but it only diminished his leadership qualifications beyond street protests. Sowore as president of the Students Union Government (SUG) at University of Lagos got expelled twice. Today he stands expelled by the Africa Action Congress, the party he formed for his failed presidential bid. His successor as National Chairman, Leonard Nzenwa said he would not be the kind of chairman Sowore was and remarked: “We acknowledge the constitutional rights of citizens to peaceful protest against the government, but we are aware that this constitutional right does not include the right to resort to unconstitutional takeover of the government of the country or any part thereof.” Swooning from revolutionary stupor, Sowore insists: “I can run this country in my sleep.” He must be very busy now!
Donbruce wrote from Asaba, Delta State