“No struggle can take place alone.” ——Naomi Fry
The defining qualities of Omoyele Sowore are the same philosophies which have glued him to masses of people across ethnic and regional divides, and at the same time, have alienated him from Nigeria’s uneasy ruling houses and their hordes of hangers-on who have no basic clue that our commonwealth is in dire danger of performing a vanishing act soonest, unless heroic variants like Sowore are on boarded to political platforms to overrun African continental space with well-meaning mass policies and infrastructures.
This is more pressing if one realizes that this battle to bequeath prosperity to Nigeria and Nigerians can’t be fought alone, neither can it be borne by a tiny fraction of society. The American journalist cited above has since told us the chilling and biting truth: no struggle or liberation should be shouldered by one man or woman, and the quest for political liberation must coexist with the struggle for political freedom and other forms of liberation as well, just as the growth of one human organ takes place with others. That seems to be the subtext in her epigrammatic citation.
The Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema have since realized that socio-economic and political struggles should have taken place together in South Africa and activists are the ones to remind politicians, who by the way, have a penchant for forgetting acts; of this sacred fact of humanity. While Wole Soyinka has insisted that “Justice is the first condition of humanity,” one must hasten to add that unconditional love is a co-essential requirement of our existence, because those who are capable of genuine love for humanity cannot elect to destroy her, through policies which estrange, deepen socio-economic gaps, and depletes sanity and the humanity of a vast majority of the population. Omoyele Sowore has since realized that Nigeria’s ruling houses do not love those beneath them. This is the realization that fires his activism.
For the striking peculiarities he brings to the table of national discourse, Omoyele Sowore should be noted as Nigeria’s most misunderstood activist, in the sense that; those he is trying to convert with his populist doctrines and whose unborn generations his is agitating for, are the ones holding the swords over his innocent neck, figuratively speaking, thereby endangering themselves and their unborn progenies. Sowore has the uncanny vision of men like the late Martin-Luther King who can dream present disturbing impossibilities into distant pleasant realities in their minds. It is this consoling reckoning with the future that illuminates Sowore’s activism and permits us to behold his boldness, consistency and disarming threat which he poses to current power holders and future gerrymanders in the political firmament.
Arrestingly different from his ilk, Omoyele Sowore is a daunting task for simple deconstruction by political ruling houses and their puppets. He has defied rudimentary and advanced sociological explanations for the manner he is able to carry out his brand of citizen journalism to the sour point of being forcefully isolated in Abuja, in a clear and desperate bid to silence him. Yet, this man is constantly among us, because he had laid the sustaining ground work for his brand of journalism long before someone or some persons thought of sending him to an infinite black hole where his cry for help may never be heard. But this brave intellectual of the poor deserves to be sampled out. He shines with a landscape of convincing ideas. He bristles with raw and untamed courage. He engenders hope in the redemption of this beloved country of ours and the entire continent. Why should we markdown this rare man of titanic grit?
To be sure, our fiery activist has no individual grievances with occupants of Nigeria’s ruling houses. The quarrel seems to be with policies, the prognosis being offered for our collective malaise as a nation and the shocking reluctance of the domineering class to listen to the other side. While ruling houses from north to south are deeply rooted, Sowore has been able to send unsettling vibrations through their quack foundations. One may hazard a guess that if the ruling cliques where to renege in their plan to bleed the land to anemic levels, then perhaps; the specie known as Sowore may cease to torment their comfort zones for eternity. But power exits in a binary language with wealth. And having learnt the dialects and refinements of this beguiling language, the ruling houses are unwilling to lose the power of their strange speech. This is at the heart of Sowore’s battle to entrench a new order for this generation and the ones to come after it.
Omoyele Sowore, a lecturer at New York university and citizen journalist, perhaps its greatest exponent to date; has wrestled Nigeria’s power houses with a brand of activism and journalism which sings, dances and enchants all at once. It is thornily difficult to listen to him and not be swayed by the logic of his discourses or the facts of his submissions. Having lived in trenches fighting the military in the 90s, Sowore possesses a fanatical understanding of how to do battle with the man who is unwilling to relinquish power and privileges in a smooth manner. Along with other firebrand activists, he was able to do away with the army’s ruling houses and has since made civilian cliques understand that we all have a robust stake in the future of this country. But why do they find him increasingly uncomfortable and irritating?
One may surmise that Sowore is intent on remodeling political prototypes which current power brokers may find too transparent to bear. Were he to be despised by the masses, the ruling houses may not have bothered too much about him. But his political merit lies with the downtrodden whose experiences he can relate with. The ruling houses may be in power, but they lack a democratic majority of influence which lies on the streets with the likes of Sowore and brethren activists who are constantly ventilating the sufferings of commoners. The angst of ruling houses towards Sowore can only evaporate the day they understand that he is a kind comrade in democratic causes, a necessary participant at the table of national dialogues, a man with the majority of influence, who is not in the struggle alone as exemplified by seismic waves he causes, anytime he speaks in that revolutionary, yet benign dialect of his.
P.S: Steve Ogah is a Creative Writer and author of The African New Yorker.