Omoyele Sowore has finally etched his name into the annals of the struggle in this country. With the unfolding drama, he is beginning to gain the respect he has fought tooth and nail to earn. His credentials as a bonafide activist and social crusader is being legitimised with the seeming behaviour of the authorities on this his matter.
Well, his has been a long history of struggle, one that has seen him fight within the fringes of social activism. His was not the giant leaps of the Gani Fawehinmis of this world. A far cry to the monumental strides of Fela and maybe Tunji Braithwaite. He never really took off as a mainstream activist culminating in his disgraceful outing at the last elections with less than 50,000 votes. He was irrelevant and disregarded.
Then he started his talk of a revolution which did not resonate. Nobody listened and he gave out a date when he would immediately take ‘over’ and install true government. To mark his unseriousness, he partnered with failed musician, Idris Abdulkarim, whose only claim to fame was the disgraceful and humiliating ‘bust up’ with American rapper 50Cents. He also had a minute of fame when former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made allusions to one of his songs. Knowing fully well that he may never get the opportunity again, he milked it as much as he could.
Anyways, the duo set out on the day of their ‘revolution’ with Nigerians generally ignoring them and going about their businesses. Out of frustration, Sowore was sighted at the busy Maryland junction painting the bridge and at that point pity started setting in. I made a mental note to reach him and advise him to concentrate his efforts on his failing Sahara Reporters that was losing legitimacy by the day.
And then it happened. He was picked up and rushed into detention. This heavy-handed approach rankled me and made me begin to worry for this country. Why arrest a joker. Why arrest someone with no base but with just hot air. Why waste so much resources and risk the image of the country by this amateurish behaviour.
It gets worse. He is arraigned and the charges make me start to scratch my head. What is going on? Oh my God, are we for real? Is this a serious country. Did you just see those charges even the regimes most strident supporters would find it very difficult to begin to decipher this move.
Then the bail is announced and the conditions are so strident that we all scream. They go back to Court seeking a variation which they got. And then the drama deepens, the service says nobody to hand him over to. His band of jobless pseudo activist, led by the tall Adeyanju move in and demand his release to them. They are scattered by force. Adeyanju comes out to say he has been offered N1m to negotiate off Sowore’s freedom and he calls a press Conference to reject the offer.
Finally, the climax happens. The High Court Judge gives the service 24 hours to release Sowore and this happens and then the next day Nigerians and indeed the whole world is confronted with images that will remain indelible in the annals of freedom.
The struggle inside the court room is appalling, fearful and distracting. Sowore appeared to be rough-handled by a motley crowd of supporters and alleged abductors. Screams and fight within the hallowed walls of the High Court leaving the Judge to beat a hasty retreat into her Chambers.
The whole world has cried out against this. He has been re-arrested and all sorts of talk have been going on from both sides of the divide. His wife has galvanised her Senator who has asked why the husband of a US Citzen is being treated like that. The service have come out to say their side, claiming ignorance of the struggle within the Court but stating that they had a job to do and the job was done outside the Hall.
For me, the question that needs to be answered is – what exactly is this Sowore worth to this government because from what we are seeing from the outside, the man is not really worth all these stress. He is puny and at best an irritant. So, why risking all these, including international opprobrium, is something that really beats my imagination.
Please, I await answers. What is Sowore’s true worth?
By Joseph Edgar…
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