Comrade Omoyele Sowore, the indefatigable Publisher of SaharaReporters and popular human rights advocate, is one great Nigerian who needs no introduction. Right from his eventful years at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), decades ago, as a firebrand radical student union leader Comrade Sowore had made up his mind on what the future represented and his crucial role in the emergence of that bright future. Instead of choosing the easy convenient way he chose the hard way — imprisonment, torture, inconvenience and confrontation with the aging corrupt elite making our collective lives a living hell!
Comrade Sowore is the official candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the February next year’s presidential poll. Four years ago the braggadocious Comrade had participated in the then presidential election featuring the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, (then seeking undeserved re-election) and the formidable opposition PDP’s Atiku Abubakar.
Way back then in 2019 the amiable Comrade was ‘allocated’ a paltry thirty thousand votes! Today, the beloved Comrade is gearing up for yet another electoral confrontation with the established parties (the APC, PDP) and the raving Labour Party’s Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso’s NNPP. Like Bobi Wine in dictator Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda Sowore is up against history!
Last week Comrade Sowore featured on Channels Television in Lagos as a guest. The exclusive interview was fraught with brilliance and thought-provoking analysis of our past and present national condition. A human encyclopedia of history Sowore never disappointed his audience as he bandied facts and figures mesmerizing those interviewing him. Indeed, it was quintessential Sowore displaying his intrepidity and preparedness for whatever comes along as the general elections draw closer.
In the said interview the Comrade, gifted with the power of the tongue and intellect, was all business, firing from all cylinders. For one, he made it clear that the 2019 presidential poll was rigged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in favour of the incumbent mediocre President. For another, he declared that the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, belonged to the establishment, the old order he (Sowore) was up against!
According to him, Obi had been in APGA, the PDP, and now Labour Party proving his assertion that he was of the same generation that ruined our hopes and dreams. He alleged that the former Anambra State Governor never built schools nor constructed roads and hospitals during his years as Governor! That particular wild claim is, of course, laughable!
On Obi’s performance as Governor (despite the illegal impeachment and litigation challenges) the Comrade goofed! He was either misinformed or just being economical with the truth. Or worse still, being mischievous! Obi’s gubernatorial stewardship in Anambra State speaks for itself. The performance was simply stellar! Before and after him no one could lay any claim to a better performance. Not Chris Ngige, not Willy Obiano. The incumbent Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, is poised to surpass Obi’s performance in office given the fact that he had hit the ground running from day one.
And for yet another, he dismissed the APC’s Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar as part of the forces that brought Nigeria to her knees. (The rot in the system, of course, never started with Buhari though the Katsina man has accentuated it deeper. The retired General and ex-dictator has made things much worse!) He said the two old foxes had nothing good to offer Nigerians in terms of democracy dividends or good governance.
Condemning the minimum wage in Nigeria Sowore argued that upon his emergence as President he would dutifully jerk up the shameful wage to become a living one. Great idea from a great mind! On the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ongoing national strike Sowore pilloried the Buhari administration for playing vicious politics with the understandable demands of the lecturers. He reasoned that since the children of the misruling elite were schooling outside our shores ASUU was being neglected and mistreated.
We strongly believe Comrade Sowore possesses what it takes to preside over our national chaotic affairs. But there is a certain snag here! He is not sufficiently armed with enough experience needed to weather the storm. And the Nigerian inhibitive factor may well constitute a stumbling block on his way to clinching victory at the polls.
He can be President all things being equal but the forces at play are at his disadvantage. He means well for Nigerians no doubt and desperately desirous to take the bulls by the horns by pulling her out of the woods but contending political forces could thwart his ambition to become the Commander-in-Chief. While the incumbency factor may not play any significant role in the outcome of the poll Sowore’s radical anti-establishment profile may turn out to be his Achilles hill.
Besides, his ‘revolutionary’ rhetorics, methods and tactics cannot work in a Nigeria where the rapacious corrupt elite are hell-bent on conserving power at the centre to continue the ‘old-school’ looting and plundering of our national resources. Again, his attitude of attacking opponents (including the ‘Obidient’ movement charismatic leader) at every opportunity may hurt his chances at the polls.
It is conceivable that if one wants to destroy a rotten corrupt entrenched system you must work within their ranks! You can pretend to be with them even promising to protect their interests only to turn around to do them in when success smiles your way.
Nigeria is not yet ripe for the ‘revolution’ of the mind and spirit (as found in developed Western democracies) Sowore is preaching with passion. We must be realistic here. While Comrade Sowore is an excellent candidate, in our reckoning, one with enough integrity and probity in his character, the country he seeks to lead may not yet be ready to embrace electoral revolution as seen even in some African countries.
His policies and programmes may be sound, his rhetorics convincing, yet the listening audience, Nigerians, may have been compromised by the ‘stomach infrastructure’ to be able to appreciate the message of hope and better future. There is hunger in the land, hopelessness is evident as much as helplessness in the face of terrorism and generalised insecurity but are our people ready to deal electorally with the Buharian APC mob that foisted these bloodletting elements on us?
Honestly speaking, we have heard critics lampooning Sowore for seeking the highest ‘price’ when he has not tasted the ‘local’ version. That is, that he ought to have started his political career as a Local Government Chairman in his Ondo State and from there graduating to become the Governor. And from there executively he could then possess enough experience, structures and ‘connections’ to bring down the broken system.
In the end, when 2023 comes and goes with winners and losers emerging, Comrade Sowore may well score above the 33,0000 votes he claimed he was ‘allotted’ by INEC. Then, it shall dawn on him that his ambition to be President, albeit passionate, patriotic and edifying, would amount to a tall dream!
May longevity, sound health and service to humanity be Comrade Omoyele Sowore’s portion! A-luta continua!!