Posted On: Thu 08 Aug 2019 By Olatunji ololade | OPINION/THE NATION
Omoyele Sowore likens himself to a revolutionary. His followers call him truth-sayer, the voice of the youth. He is the situational hero sculpted of spunk and spittle. Certain youths idolise him.
In their fantasy, Sowore transfigures by patriotic ecstasy, defeats all odds hauled at him by the predatory ruling class. He causes Nigeria to implode and through the implosion, he emerges to rescue all from the stranglehold of the predatory ruling class.
He causes Nigeria to implode and through the implosion, he emerges to rescue all from the stranglehold of bad leadership.
Nonetheless, the ageing leadership holds tenaciously to power, never letting go. When they do let go, they reinsert themselves via stooges, their children and sworn associates.
Amid the malady, the youth romanticised the emergence of a ‘young’ presidential candidate like Sowore, among others. The fable persisted through the 48-year-old’s establishment of the African Action Congress (AAC), through which he vied for the presidency in 2019 and lost, coming a distant tenth and polling 33, 953 votes to Buhari/APC’s 15,191,847 winning votes even as PDP’s Atiku scored 11,264,977 votes to come second.
Sowore’s supporters feigned stupefaction over his defeat, mocking and ‘shaming’ fellow youths on social media for deserting their ‘own,’ but the founder of Sahara Reporters took it in good stride, as if he envisaged the shellacking.
This writer, and perhaps others, quietly hoped that Sowore, despite his defeat, would join brilliant minds and builders from the ill-fated Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT) collective, and commit to a take-it-back styled movement, with greater purpose, maturity and unflagging spirit – under the rule of law.
Instead, he embraced militancy. Sowore made the news recently over his calls for nationwide protests against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government. He accused the government of inefficiency and manipulation of the citizenry, claiming that they were the real enemies of the people.
Consequently, he called for a revolution and fixed a date. On the eve of his #RevolutionNow protest, the DSS invaded his home and picked him up.
Fisayo Soyombo, former Editor of Sowore’s Sahara Reporters writes: “On intent and method, I am on his side. However, on expediency and his utterances, I see gaping holes. If Sowore attempted to lead a political revolution pre-2019 election, the altruism of his intention wouldn’t be up for debate. But having offered himself as the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and lost by a distance, this move would definitely be interpreted in some quarters as an attempt to seize power through a revolt having lost it through the ballot. That’s the expediency.
“On utterances, he was caught on tape saying the “DSS would no longer exist” after the revolution. That was probably a slip and still fails to justify the Gestapo-style invasion of Sowore’s home; otherwise, the northerners who issued a threat to southerners over RUGA should have been languishing in jail by now. There is no justification for arresting Sowore,” argued Soyombo.
The DSS accused Sowore of threatening the harmony of the nation by plotting to overthrow a democratically-elected government. While that, truly, is an ‘overkill,’ Sowore needs to re-examine his modus operandi and evolve more peaceful, mature, and decisive method of leading his ‘teeming’ supporters to take Nigeria back from perceived predators.
In truth, he hadn’t such support while he vied for the presidency. A great deal of his supporters, on the streets and social media, never truly believed in him or the candidacy of his peers in the PACT assembly.
Besides talking tough on social media, what do the youth seek in their preferred leader? What do they see now in Sowore that they didn’t see in him during the last elections?
The youth regret their inability to take over power from the same ruling class that recruited them as thugs to disrupt the elections, maim, kill and scuttle the ambition of promising young aspirants. Yet they make a living as social media hooligans (e-rats), whose job is to hoodwink, bully, spread falsehood and thwart the ambition of promising change-makers.
They will retire to rant, on their digital devices, and as paid protesters, about the their urgent desire and right to take over power. Their only argument is that, they are Nigerians, in their youth.
There is need to evolve a credible opposition platform particularly as the PDP fades out and resurges in the APC. This requires the active participation of the nation’s youth; it’s about time, however, that they grasped certain bitter truths about their incapacities.
Save a few stunning breed, contemporary performances of most youth in social and political theatres emphasise Nigeria’s descent from a moral cloud into a dissolute fenland. Freedom of persona is magical but often destabilising. If married to an excessive lust for money, it becomes very frightening and overwhelming. Ultimately it destroys.
Revolutions throw up hierarchies thus new castes are dramatized in the noisy climax of Sowore’s #RevolutionNow. The castes are scary. Rather than sound off on a fallacy, Sowore and cohorts will do well to sensitise the youth to a visionary, peaceful revolution, founded on altruistic ideals. This brings us to the quality of youth mooting #RevolutionNow.
Let us seek import in a social media post by one Shakeerah S. It goes thus: Topic 1: Big Brother: Tasha caught on camera having sex with Ebuka attracted 60, 700 comments; 100, 300 likes and it was shared 70, 800 times on the spur of the incident. Topic 2: Nigerian government signs power generation contract with Siemens to boost electricity, elicited 4 comments, 2 likes and the news was shared 6 times.
I would add that Soyombo’s defence of Sowore equally got paltry page views. At the last count, the post attracted five comments and zero shares.
In 2018, the total number of votes on the BBN show was 170 million. In sharp contrast, the total number of votes cast at the 2019 general election was 27 million. A practical reality of who we are as a people and where our priority lies as citizens. The funny side in all of these; we still go to bed, have a good sleep and wake up with the hope to meet Nigeria we didn’t create, lamented Shakeerah.
A show like Big Brother Naija (BBN) posits reality and entertainment by dignifying decadence and seduction. In the house, inmates lie and seduce in order to get laid. Poisonous words lead to poisonous sex. It’s a win-win situation. But in Sowore’s arena of revolt, the porn assumes a darker shade as passion runs where dissent rebounds.
To the youth, Sowore’s passion for power translated to gibberish en route the 2019 presidential elections; his words hovered in an interpretative cloud. Today, the same youth that scorned the AAC candidate tout him as Nigeria’s messiah.
Trust Sowore to exploit their energy until the fascination wears out. But let all be guided by the curious example of Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, who led hordes of Igbo youth to a deathly bed, in his ritual couvade mimicking Biafra’s rebirth.