“We Want to Disrupt the Political Space”, says Sowore, Presidential Aspirant
Mr. Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and Presidential aspirant in Nigeria, has stated that his movement, “#Takeitback”, intends to disrupt the political space by reclaiming Nigeria from those who have “held the country down for 58 years”.
He stated this yesterday in Calabar, Cross River State, when he featured as Guest of “The Hit Breakfast Show”, a program of Hit 95.9 FM radio station, Calabar.
Mr. Sowore said that as Publisher of Sahara Reporters, he has tried to democratize the sharing of information, within the limits of his rights. He explained:
“It is the reason I never pursued a license when I was starting. I just relied on Article 19 of the Universal declaration of the UN which guarantees me the right to receive and impart information to others and use it to empower myself and others. Sahara Reporters came from that conviction.”
“We set out from Day 1 just to use information to empower people so that they can fight for their rights.”
“That is what we set out to do and we knew that there was no way we could do that without offending powerful people. We are in the business of offending the high and mighty and the powerful political and economic operators in this country who have held the country down for 58 years.”
“We have done it so well that we have reached a point where we want to move to the next level which is taking that activism of Sahara Reporters, the media movement, to become a political movement. In short, having disrupted the media space, we want to disrupt the political space.”
Speaking on his experience, Mr. Sowore disclosed that he has been in the game of politics for the past 30 years. He recalled that when he was an undergraduate at the University of Lagos, he joined other young Nigerians to protest against the Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP), when it was introduced in 1989 by the Military government in power at that time.
He said: “We were the young people who took it upon ourselves to drive the military back to the barracks…. I have always been engaged in political activities in Nigeria. You can describe me as a political junkie. Someone who lives and breathes politics. But I have not been on the compensatory part of politics. Mine has been on the sacrificial side of politics.”
“Otherwise I am more experienced, I am more qualified than anybody who is out today talking about politics. Politics today like I say regularly is a sport against people who are in positions of political power today who were hiding under their bed when people like me were fighting for the betterment of this country.”
Mr. Sowore added that his movement aspires to place Nigeria on the path of progress, prosperity and peace. He said:
“Now, we have got to a point where we have said enough is enough. We cannot allow our voices to be amplified through borrowed chords. We cannot allow our aspirations and desires for a better nation to be handled by incompetent people and those who are corrupt, who are mediocre, people who are tired and generally who should have retired.”
“It is time to take our country back and put it on the path of progress, prosperity and peace. Nobody else can do it than those of us who have the experience in fighting for the best…. I am offering myself for the number one position in the country as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria so that Nigerians can be proud to be Nigerians. Again they can be proud to carry the Green Passport and they can be proud not to be ridiculed and derided wherever they go in the world or even within their own country.”
“They can stop being Refugees or Internally Displaced Persons, unemployed people, people who live in darkness, people who are suffering and smiling. We just have to end everything that has been negative about the country and put Nigerians back to where they belong.”
He attributed Nigeria’s woes to lack of credible leadership and said that he aspires to fill that gap because the position of President offers the best opportunity to ensure that things are done properly. He said:
“Every country that has made it in the world has made a conscious decision to elect their best or to choose their best to run their affairs. We have done the direct opposite. We are always in support of the worst characters among us to run, from our local governments to the Presidency”.
“People ask me sometimes, ‘why don’t you run for Senate or Local Government Chairman and all that?’ And I say that you have a whole closet to be in and you decided to be in a drawer. You shut yourself in a drawer. Who takes over the closet? That is the question…. The moment you get a visionary President, every other thing would fall in place. Every time that Nigeria tried to have a breakthrough, it had to do with a President who tried to do it. Not a Senator.”
“As a matter of fact, if you are a Senator and you have progressive views, you would be locked out of the chambers. But with the position of President, you are surely going to guarantee that things get done.”
Mr. Omoyele Sowore gave a hint of the goodwill that he receives from the public when he disclosed on “The Hit Breakfast Show” that Sahara Reporters has over two million followers on Twitter and over three million followers on Facebook. He also said that his first poster went viral, when it was placed on Whatsapp, adding that he “did not buy” these followers.
Also speaking on “The Hit Breakfast Show”, Agba Jalingo, publisher of Cross River Watch and Chairman, Board of Trustees of Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ), described Mr. Sowore as a trailblazer and dogged fighter.
He said: “I have known him as a very consistent fighter. He is one of the major persons that taught me journalism and activism. He is a pioneer. He is somebody that knows how to break new grounds.”
“He looks very gentle. But he is an awesome fighter. Don’t let him go into a fight with you because he is never going to let go until he wins. That is exactly what we want to do now. We want to win. We are tired of being tear gassed every day….”
“Are we going to continue carrying placards and shouting ‘aluta continua’ and monitoring elections and reporting elections that have been won by rogues?”
A major highlight of Mr. Sowore’s visit to Calabar was a Town Hall meeting which took place yesterday, at Transcorp Hotel. It was attended mostly by youths.
At a point in that meeting, the entrance leading to the hall was shut, as the capacity of the hall could not accommodate the crowd that attended the event.
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah
Source of Feature Image: Agba Jalingo