By JOE IGBOKWE
‘I set my goals and objectives in accordance with my vision. I study them and strategically execute them. My detractors discuss my successes and failure because they have nothing to execute. I am in the news more because I’m working, Nigerians discuss active men in the field. Mentioning any negative news about me will double the wealth of any news media that published it. My name today is a financial market for journalists. Not even elected politicians get the publicity I am enjoying. My comrades, go and work till mentioning your name becomes a source of increased wealth for someone. Even my weakness creates wealth for vendors’. —I REMAIN, ASIWAJU BOLA TINUBU–
I ran into a big problem on how to start this small piece on the stormy petrel, Omoyele Sowore at 45. To put words on paper became a big problem. How do I start to celebrate this one-man riot squad in the chequered history of our country? How do I begin to celebrate a young man who has done what his age mates could not even do even as a students Union Leader at the University of Lagos? How can I begin to tell a story of a young man who has the courage of King David, courage of Esther, wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Samson?
How can I tell a story of a young man who cannot accept a tip from anybody no matter the amount even at a time when young people like him can kill for N10,000? How can I describe this young man who has shown, through actions and deeds, that something good can come out of Nigeria? How can I celebrate this great man who has proved beyond reasonable doubts that hard work, honesty, integrity, diligence, character, truth pay? How can I celebrate this young man from Ilaje in Ondo State who has revolutionized the online media in Nigeria and created a niche for himself? All these were going through my mind until I stumbled on Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s quote above about himself a few weeks ago. It may not have fitted perfectly into Omoyele Sowore’s status but the guy is getting nearer to it. When a child washes his hands very well, he dines with the kings and queens.
Frankly speaking, I do not know where Nigeria would have been now if the social media outfits led by Sowore’s Sahara Reporters were not there to kick start the silent revolution that sent the thieving PDP and their huge followers out of Abuja. I do not know what our unrepentant politicians would have been doing now if the pack led by Omoyele Sowore were not there to redesign, retool, regig, reshape, and reposition the course of Nigeria’s history. Hours on end and when it mattered most, this active young man, full of energy, power and strength shew bullets, drilled the deepest well and did the unthinkable to chart the way forward. Like a Five Star General, he was in the front line giving orders, taking the heat, and paying the price of leadership. He was not deterred, he was not perturbed and was not shaken. The struggle to free Nigeria of corruption and inept leadership was a task that must be done. For this struggle, he put his feet, hands, heart, mind, soul, resources etc. on it and today Nigeria is telling a better story.
When I see failed old men, with nothing worthwhile for their long stay on earth, struggle to criticize and put down this guy simply because he is a pain in the neck to their patrons, negative role models and leaders, I ask myself again and again, where would Nigeria have been without this guy’s determination. When I see morally challenged midgets struggle to abuse Saharareporters, Sowore and what they stand for, even without resisting the temptation of going to the news medium every hour, in search of credible news stories, I have cause to thank God for the strength of character he gave this young man. Fact is that Sowore and Saharareporters are eternal spikes to many a corrupt politicians, their enablers and hirelings and is an eternal threat to bad governments. The outgone PDP government will eternally live in dread of such credible platforms because Saharareporters foretold their doom. Most importantly, they have watched in frustration as all their wild actions to discredit and stop Saharareporters have rather made the medium so popular in Nigeria today.
Through actions and deeds Sowore has proved that no power can stop a popular idea whose time has come. I understand he ran for the Presidency of the University of Lagos in the early nineties on the slogan; “No one stops an idea whose time has come”. Sowore has proved beyond reasonable doubt that one man can make the difference. Omoyele Sowore has proved that honesty pays. Those who started this great journey with him have fallen by the way side and moved deeper into the junkyard of history, licking their wounds and blaming others for the woes they brought upon themselves. Some have ended up in pay-me-i-write-for-you journalism, and consequently boxed themselves into a corner, leaving the big space for the big boy called Omoyele Sowore and his team. In Sowore’s life I have come to believe that everything is possible, that as a man thinks, so is he.
At 45, I can only tell Sowore that his best is yet to be. I am aware of the blackmail and intimidation he has suffered in the past. I am aware of internet fraudsters and hackers who tried to clone Saharareporters. I am aware of his numerous enemies who wish that he goes down. They will fail. Because they are not Sowore, because they do not possess the candor, the charisma, the courage, the diligence and character of Omoyele Sowore, they will always fail. Because they do not possess the extra-ordinary wisdom of Sowore, because they do not possess Sowore’s capacity and capability, they cannot go far.
Corruption is fighting back in the most dangerous manner. It is fighting from all corners in the Presidency, Judiciary and the National Assembly. The war against corruption must be sustained and Sowore must continue to lead the way. We must kill corruption before it kills Nigeria. It is not over until it is over. I salute the courage of this young man. I salute his pedigree. I salute his resounding and unbelievable courage. I salute his guts. I celebrate his education. Now, of what meat is Sowore fed?
—Igbokwe wrote from Lagos