Updated: The Sowore Revolution __Written By Dele Farotimi
A couple of weeks ago, I started seeing the ubiquitous photographs of Sowore in what appeared to be Malema-styled garbs, complete with orange-colored beret, and these were coupled with very sleek banners advertising a revolution for the 5th of August. I saw the banners on the walls of my younger friends, and a few not-so-young ones. But I wasn’t even sure that I bothered to reach out to comrades from seasons past. So inconsequential did I believe it, that I did not even discuss it with my ideological brothers. I believe Sowore a joke, albeit a painful joke.
Early last week, perhaps because the advertised date of the Sowore revolution was drawing near, I became burdened with questions from my friends, mostly the younger ones: what was my opinion they demanded to know. Where did I stand? I privately offered my opinion and I was unequivocal, Sowore is a distraction, and a joke. I expected that he’d get the anticipated traffic to his platforms, use the entire thing as clickbait for Sahara Reporters, raise his profile, burnish his civil rights credentials, and launder the image that has been stained by the allegations of mismanagement of campaign finances.
When the noise online became difficult to ignore, and not wanting to leave anyone in doubt as to where I stand, I posted a couple of blurbs, one of which said “When I hear ‘gbegbegbe’I want to know what you are gbeing, before I will gbe anything with you”. I then proceeded to demand of a highly cerebral younger friend of mine, an ardent believer and promoter of Sowore, exactly what they were “gbeing”?
The collective idiocy of the Nigerian state, and its security system, which has led them to arrest the idiot that presumed to advertise a revolution, is what has now made it imperative that one must become involved in the Sowore revolution, but we shall not be doing so on the idiotic terms of the Nigerian state, or the myopic and self-serving basis of Sowore’s call. We shall not die in their wars, but we shall fight in the war of our own choice.
Nigeria is at a crossroads. It is a crucial time in the history of Nigeria, and its future direction and trajectories are being determined. There exists reasonable basis for all who identify as Nigerians to be very concerned and anxious about the path forward for Nigeria, and it will be suicidal to leave the business of doing these in the hands of our rulers. Regardless of their protestations and posturing, there are no material differences between our rulers, and if you disagree, I ask only one question of you: who is on saint Buhari’s ministerial list, that could not possibly have been on Atiku’s list, if Atiku had won?
The problem with the Sowore revolution is the absence of a carefully articulated purpose, one into which every segment of the Nigerian society might invest their hope and their passion, one that resonates with the Izon nation, even as it excites the Fulani, a vision into which the Igbo may invest their love, and for which the Yoruba will gladly die.
I love the idea of Nigeria. It is a beautiful and lofty idea. But Nigeria remains an idea. It has never been allowed to become, and the idea has been repeatedly aborted each time it is about to be birthed. In the place of the Nigerian nation that we could be, a most unjust, evil, and wicked state has reigned, and the evil of the system has divided Nigerians along several lines in order to preserve and perpetuate itself in power. This has assured that Nigerians have been left devoid of common purpose, and unable to confront their common enemies.
What manner of revolution is Sowore then seeking, without any work being done to identify the common mobilizing interests of the people that are critical to the success of any revolution? When were the people mobilized? By who? What is the game plan? What is the leadership structure of this revolutionary movement? What are the objectives? When the known leadership of the revolution is arrested or killed, what’s next? Where are the literatures of this revolution? What is the content of the revolution?
When Sowore entered the 2019 presidential race, he doomed the candidacies of Fela Durotoye, and he was particularly damaging to the campaign of Moghalu. He literally sucked the oxygen from their campaigns, and he did so in the knowledge that he was not going to make any dents in the established political order. Moghalu was particularly damaged by Sowore because set against Moghalu’s considered and well-reasoned arguments, Sowore’s rabble-rousing, students-union activist-style, caught the imagination of the very people that should have energized and carried Moghalu’s campaign, and he was left unable to connect with the anger that Sowore stoked.
I am a very deliberate person. I interpret the actions and inactions of other actors in my orbit through this prism as well, and I make my judgment calls assuming that the other person has acted or decided not to act, consciously and deliberately. This is the standpoint from where I have evaluated Mr. Sowore and his revolution.
Sowore is not stupid. He knows that he is not going to start any Nigerian revolution on the internet, and he must have been aware that the Nigerian state, with which he is well acquainted, would arrest him for the deliberate steps he took to provoke the system. Sowore baited the system, and the idiots have responded in the only way they know how and they have now arrested the idiot that they should have ignored. Sowore is too intelligent not to know that the protest for his release will be muted and, where pronounced, will be violently suppressed by the state. Why do it when he knows or ought to have known?
Sowore is a businessman, and in the new world we live in, Sowore is a brand. The traffic on Sahara Reporters have hit the roof since the news of Sowore’s arrest, and if in doubt, follow the herds that have flocked there in recent days and compare the numbers following the news of Sowore’s arrest, to any other news item on the platform. The higher the number of clicks to a news platform or blog, the higher the advert revenue earned by the platform. Sahara Reporters was equally a beneficiary of Sowore’s presidential run.
The man counted on being arrested by a reactionary system, and he has also taken it for granted that between the western and Nigerian press, the army of idealistic young people that he has energized, and old warhorses such as this writer, will leave the government no choice but to release him. He is right, if the likes of my humble self were ever factored into his quixotic and utterly selfish plan.
I was diametrically opposed to the gentleman that succeeded me in office as the president of LASUSU, and I co-founded the LSRM in my time in LASU to specifically counter what I believed to be the excesses of the SUG under him. The battles were brutal, personal, and for me, quite draining. It ended the day he was arrested by the Nigerian state, and I was totally committed to his emancipation and restoration. Sowore’s case will not be any different.
Sowore was arrested for crimes that are yet unknown. The Nigerian state is expected to arraign him before the court as prescribed by our laws, and it is within its rights to do so, and Sowore is entitled to a legal defense, as allowed in law. If and when the state presumes to abrogate these rights, I shall be roused to join the Sowore revolution, and comrade Sowore might yet get his wish, and become the catalyst for the inevitable revolution. He will however require the Nigerian state to be as idiotic as ever, and to then become the recruiting agents for his unarticulated, and badly planned revolution.
So, for the friends who have asked where I stand, I hope that I have cleared myself enough, and that I have answered your questions. To the gentleman on Oluyinka’s wall, who I promised a reasoned response, I hope that I have made myself clear? I am not unaware of the limitations of my own humanity, and I am not conceited enough to imagine myself incapable of being wrong, and my entire deductions and conclusions being rendered invalid by my own biases. But these are my sincere and honest opinions, and I am happy to be proven wrong by the orange revolutionary.