Femi Oke

Most times, it not all that glitters is gold. The 2019 general elections have come and gone. The winners have been declared, and the losers have known their fate. Four years for the next ballot is quite a long time, but quite short. Sometimes, some truths are hard to assimilate.

Saharareporters publisher, Mr. Omoleye Sowore and 2019 presidential flagbearer of the African Action Congress (AAC) has found himself in this quagmire. He is tormented by reality and illusion. He imagines himself sitting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja and reeling out orders. So, he has not really reconciled himself to believe that the aura of power has eluded him incredibly. Therefore, in his narrowed senses, no Nigerian should have peace.

But illusion is different from reality. Sometimes, dreams could haunt very strongly; but it does not necessarily mean what troubles the subconscious is the exact reality. Sowore, the former presidential candidate of the AAC is a thoroughly troubled soul; troubled by this self-inflicted malady.

After much globalized noisemaking and campaign trips to foreign lands, Sowore finished the presidential race in 2019 with a wretched 33, 000 votes. He cannot come to terms with the hatred Nigerians expressed on him with such paltry votes. Some young adults need lessons in existentialism. Life isn’t fair in all instances. Sometimes, ambitions could be truncated by mere overzealousness as demonstrated by Sowore.

But Sowore has found it difficult to swallow the hard fact that Nigerians rejected him as their leader. Perhaps, majority of the voters might have sighted in Sowore a malignant cancer, yet unknown to the handful 33,000 Nigerians who decided to identify with the god of the shrine.

Temptation comes easily. Sowore parades himself with very alluring titles. He is a politician, activist, publisher, editor and reporter, all put together. Artificial elegance welcomes him everywhere in Nigeria, a country where fake titles are worshipped.

One can appreciate his struggling spirit as an upcoming “youth”. But patience is a cherished virtue. No one frowns at Sowore for offering himself to lead Nigeria. However, this request was rejected overwhelmingly by the masses he seeks to govern.

A properly tutored “youth” would have simply accepted the verdict of the people now and waited for another time. But Sowore would take no such sermons or gibberish from anyone. Since he was frustratingly defeated at the ballot, the publisher has become crazily inured by the fragrance of power. He thinks power is necessarily acquired by brute force or other undemocratic means.

Sowore has failed to realize that politicking is quite different from student unionism. When he was an undergraduate in the University of Lagos (UniLag) shouting “aluta continua, victoria acerta,” in the public square, it could attract a multitude of hooligans, hoodlums and miscreants like him, ready to destroy, kill and create havoc.

Some of them were tagged “permanent” students, who savoured the frills and thrills of campus life and would spend 10 years reading a course of four years. But a university is quite a small community or congregation of people. Outside or larger politics is different; the tactics and strategies also vary. It is driven by ideology and responsibleness. Unfortunately, Sowore is devoid of such decent traits.

Leading a complex country like Nigeria is not for up-starters and wasted souls like the Saharareporters publisher. Patriotism, loyalty, honesty and integrity are essential ingredients. The barely literate voters look unto to these qualities on voting day from candidates who offer themselves for public service. President Muhammadu Buhari possessed them in abundance and Nigerians endorsed him again.

Contrastively, Sowore guillotined his ambition from the outset. First, his decision to contest the Presidency of Nigeria was an afterthought in all nuances. Former American President, Mr. Barrack Obama nursed the dream of ruling his country right from his High School days and prepared himself over the years until the appropriate time.

Obama exuded and marketed characters of someone in the personality of being entrusted with the destiny of Americans. Obama was not a covert agent of anti-American forces. He demonstrated loyalty and patriotism. He was an honest man with impeccable credentials. Obama was not indoctrinated into the garage mentality as popularized in Prof. Wole Soyinka’s play, “The Beatification of Area Boy.”

But to assert that Sowore is a huge mess when one puts these qualities into perspective is an understatement. Quite early, he dragged himself into disrepute by emerging as presidential candidate of his political party dubiously. He reportedly founded the AAC probably with funds from foreign allies; so, intimidated and blackmailed everyone to have it registered by INEC-the electoral body.

And no one needed a soothsayer to understand that Sowore was plainly appetizing for the statutory sumptuous grants INEC releases to political parties for campaigns. It came and it was the waited opportunity. Sowore allegedly embezzled his own party’s campaign funds. As his party’s presidential candidate, Sowore was also his campaign manager. When party members demanded account of the over N150 million in the party’s coffers, Sowore screamed and barked at everyone.

Thereafter, he fled abroad to hide and consume his loot after losing the elections. This is the character who wished to be Nigeria’s President. That’s the saint who dictates to public officers every day on what they should do and shouldn’t do in his junk publication.

A street activist by all ramifications, Sowore went a notch higher by usurping the positions of his party’s chairman, secretary, treasurer and publicity secretary. For the post of AAC’s national publicist, no one needed to drag it with Sowore, as he boasted of his international clout and prowess as the leading online publisher in Nigeria. Open the website for any edition of this publication any day, one would discover to his amazement that it stomachs every garbage in the name of Citizen journalism.

Oh, Nigeria, how unlucky are thee! But Nigerians were wiser than Sowore. Nigerians never allowed Sowore to trick them. They sighted his ambience of fraud, deceit and dishonesty. Sowore was rejected resounding at the polls.

Sowore has lived through a bad presidential dream. The anger has refused to dwindle in him. Therefore, he has become unbearably agitated. While he vaults his wife and children safely in foreign lands, he comes back to Nigeria to ignite troubles, violence and killings. He does this because of knowledge of loquacious lawyers like Mr. Femi Falana who would come to his defence in the guise of human rights.

From #RevolutionNow to #EndSARS protests, Sowore has futilely attempted to implant himself in Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power through barbaric force. But at every attempt, he fumbles terribly. Sowore must be a lover of fiery fables and living in a different world entirely to think that his less than 40,000 votes out of over 30 million votes that were up for grabs in 2019, he would be allowed to unseat the winner through crude violence.

How would a normal human being contemplate that about 40, 000 votes would translate into power or the overthrow the Nigerian Government is what is hardly discernible. Its not possible even in Botswana, Africa’s smallest country, much more, Nigeria, the most populous black nation. And it must to sounded to Sowore or his assemblage miscreants or brigands that democratic power is acquired through the ballot and not by violence as they are canvassing today.

An African idiom says, there is always another day. Whilst good politicians are strategizing on how to takeover power come 2023, Sowore is on the streets, assembling vulnerable youngsters and indoctrinating them into gangsterism. Sowore can choose to be a street area boy, but he should desist from conscripting other innocent Nigerian youths into his devious acts.

Oke is a foundation member of the All Progresive Congress ( APC) and wrote from Lagos.


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