Omoyele Sowore is a Nigerian human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, writer, blogger, lecturer, as well as the founder of Sahara Reporters – an online news agency. Sowore was also a Presidential candidate in the just concluded 2019 Nigeria Presidential election, under the African Action Congress (AAC).
Omoyele Sowore Background
Omoyele Sowore was born on the 16th of February 1971, in Niger Delta, Nigeria into a polygamous home. Although, he is originally from Ese Odo, Ondo State, Nigeria.
He graduated from the University of Lagos, with a BSc in Geography and Planning in 1995, spending two extra years in school as he was expelled twice for political reasons and student activism. While in school, Sowore was the President of the Student Union Government, from 1992 to 1994. As the president, he was actively involved in anti-cultism and anti-corruption advocacy.
Sowore left Nigeria for medical treatment in New York in 1999, after his treatment, he stayed back for his Masters’ degree. He obtained a masters in Public Administration from Columbia University in 2003. He is married and blessed with children.
Omoyele Sowore Career
His passion to impact lives positively made him take on a job as a lecturer of Modern African History at the City University of New York, as well as Post-Colonial African History at the School of Art, New York.
Omoyele Sowore started Sahara Reporters in 2006, in a small room in Manhattan. Sowore began the news website so he could have a platform where he can fight against corrupt government practices.
Sahara Reporters enjoys the support of the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation through financial grants. The company does not accept advert proposals, and financial support from the Nigerian government – this is one of its standing policies.
Sowore’s Political Aspiration
Sowore announced, on the 25th of February 2018, that he would like to run for the presidential seat in the Nigerian 2019 general election. Following this announcement, he formed a political party – the African Action Congress (AAC), in August 2018.
Consequently, the party held its National Convention on the 6th of October, 2018, and he emerged unchallenged as the party’s Presidential Candidate.
After Sowore emerged as AAC’s presidential candidate, he embarked on a fundraising tour around the world to raise funds for his campaign. He started his tour in Nigeria, where he visited almost all thirty-six states of the country. It was during his tour that he met with the Emir of Kano and Wole Soyinka. The other countries Sowore visited were Australia, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Although Sowore did not emerge the winner in his presidential race, he had the third highest vote of 33, 953.
Sowore however, has not given up on his quest to rule Nigeria as a president. On account of this, Sowore announced a protest that would take place on the 5th of August 2019. The protest is tagged RevolutionNow Days of Rage.
Omoyele Sowore As An Activist
Omoyele Sowore participated in the student protest of 1989 when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave a condition that the Universities in Nigeria should be reduced to just five from twenty-eight before they would grant the country a loan of $120 million. The proposed loan was to be used for an oil pipeline in Nigeria.
Again, Sowore led a protest that involved 5,100 students against the Nigerian government in 1992. Unfortunately for the students, things took a different turn during the protest when the police opened fire on them killing seven students. Sowore was not spared as he was arrested and beaten mercilessly by the Police.
Because of Sowore’s passion for good governance, his arrest and torture didn’t deter him, as he kept on with his fight for good governance. He still participated in the fight for democratic governance taking over the military rule in Nigeria on the 12th of June 1993.
Quotes of Sowore
“…The Nation will finally hear from those who understand that governing is a service and not a birthright.”
“We embrace progress and disrupt criminality.
“The problem in Nigeria is not wealth generation BUT wealth distribution.”
“It takes teamwork to make the dream work.”
“Winning takes integrity. If you have a large enough conviction, you will realize that no amount can buy integrity.”
“No power on earth can proscribe the undying desire of people to attain liberty.
“People who destroyed our past, cannot take us to the future.”
See Also: Biography and life of Atiku Abubakar
Lesson Learnt from Sowore
Being passionate about what you do is an essential ingredient for success. Once you’re passionate about a cause, you can stand strong amid adversity. You can thrive and not give up because of your strong belief.
Image Credit: @yelesho (Instagram)