By Odoh Duru
I don’t envy the lifestyle of some people. People clad themselves as superhuman, empty pride and feel they are the authors of knowledge or wisdom. In their narrowmindedness, the innate foibles of humanity are captured and defeated by their smartness.
It’s impossible to even align such people with any mortal sin. Therefore, they boldly proclaim their inculpability for the sins of our first parents on earth, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They don’t accept the Biblical truism of inheriting the sins of another man. They are not tethered to the imperfections of other beings and must not share in the general guilt of the universe.
The publisher of SaharaReporters (SR) and the 2019 presidential candidate of the African Action Congress ( AAC) is in self-delusion of grandeur, in words and actions, which in nuances devalues the self-worth of the rest of us. He thinks himself a sinless, stainless and faultless being, who descended straight from the procreation oven of the Creator Himself.
Sowore’s associates and admirers fete him with multiple identities. His fans garb him in very enticing and scintillating populist identities as former University of Lagos student union activist, politician, fearless journalist and publisher. Others adore him as the doyen of righteousness’, the voice of the masses, a pro-democracy campaigner and finest breed of an activist.
And I still recollect that at the peak of his 2019 campaign stunts for Nigeria’s presidency, Sowore boastfully said in an interview that, anything he touches becomes gold. And that he makes breakthroughs on any project he lays his blessed hands upon, citing the example of the success of his personal online news portal- the Sahara reporters.
Its good because God Almighty has blessed human beings differently. People are endowed in diverse ways and patterns. But the claim to know-all on every aspect of existence is akin to the cliché of “jack of all trades, but master of none.” It’s even worse, when some of us feel, others are less human and less endowed to add even an ounce of wisdom or knowledge to what we know.
Overtime, I have analyzed Sowore’s persona silently and realized that his greatest weakness is the haughty feeling of superiority above others. He constantly seeks to re-deconstruct and reorder the entire world to his peculiarly defined taste in a very arrogant and pompous manner.
And that’s why he goes to the palace of Ooni and traduces the basic Yoruba time-honoured culture and tradition, by refusing to prostrate to greet an Oba. Even when he is reminded, Sowore casually shrug his shoulders in dismissal of it as nonsensical.
But an average human being is prone to sin, if considered from the religious perspective and an offence, when we place the secular world into consideration. Astoundingly, Sowore’s consistently postures as flawless in outsmarting everyone in his interactions with a communal world.
The Holy Scriptures reminds us in Romans 3: 23 that “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” It is a sound reminder of our vulnerabilities and inadequacies as homo sapiens. But I am afraid, this is not the in the thinking or vocabulary of Sowore.
And because he thinks himself a righteous man, he has the erroneous perception that everyone in his home country, Nigeria is unrighteous. And so, he aligns with external forces to destabilize and pull down the walls of Nigeria to erect a “Sowore fiefdom;” perhaps, peopled by saints cloned from the udder of Omoleye Sowore alone.
Therefore, it will not escape the mind of a keen observer that Sowore uses his online publication for only the twine reasons of imposing the agenda of his external paymasters and settling personal scores with his perceived enemies in Nigeria.
There was a time, I researched into the background of the New York-based SaharaRreporters, Sowore established in 2006. I discovered very interesting links and connections. SR started with the grant of $175,000 donated by the Ford Foundation and the Global Information Network and later on, the Omidyar Foundation donated a sumptuous $450,000 to it.
These foreign organizations’ have continued to financially support SR, which has made it an in-house policy never to accept adverts from the Nigerian Government. All over the world, media organizations eagerly seek for advertisement revenues, a veritable means of funding operations.
Its simplistic for anyone of us to presume the SR’s advert policy on Nigerian Government is in pursuit of a sacred quest for editorial independence. Or dust-off influence of any kind. I hold such perspective in serious revulsion.
We all know the politics surrounding ownership and sponsorship of media organizations’ globally. No matter the depth of public pretensions to fairness and balance, the owners still pander or tilt to service their interests.
My heart winced and redirected my attention to it when I read SR’s mission statement and Sowore’s public outbursts, particularly when he contested the 2019 presidential elections, finishing poorly with just 33, 000 votes. Sowore has portrayed SR as a combative enemy army against the FGN, as against a mere medium of mass communication.
I was nauseated when I noticed the discrepancy in SR’s mission statement and the utterances of Sowore, its publisher. It betrayed the real concealed motive of the coming into being of his online news portal.
SR’s mission statement says aptly that “ SaharaReporters.com is an outstanding, groundbreaking news website that encourages citizen journalists to report ongoing corruption and government malfeasance in Africa. Using photos, text, and video dynamically, the site informs and prompts concerned Africa citizens and activists globally to act, denouncing officially-sanctioned corruption, the material impoverishment of its citizenry, defilement of the environment, and the callous disregard of the democratic principles enshrined in the constitution.”
It sounds captivating and lofty to me or anyone else. But in practice and the glaring manipulative mindset of the publisher in tandem with his foreign sponsors, SR functions outside even its own set guiding principles. We may even suspend interrogation into its conformity with general journalistic ethos.
But let’s look at certain developments concerning the operations of SR. It shocked me that in 2018, when Sowore launched his presidential campaigns’, he told the Amsterdam News in an interview that; “I am such a Fela disciple. He was one single activist who took on the system all by himself using music,” he said. “I didn’t have a good voice, so I couldn’t sing, but I am using media, I am using my body, my skills, and I am using the internet to fight the government.”
The verb “fight” articulates and connotes combativeness. It is not the simple journalistic undertaking of dissemination of information, reporting or exposing the ills of public governance. Here is a man who colonized a profession and has devoted its power illegally to “fight” government. This is yawningly at variance with the enunciated ethics of journalism; much as its conflicts with SR’s publicized mission statement.
What struck my senses instantly when I saw excerpts from that interview was that, it dawned on me why Sowore went all out to plot a #RevolutionNow protests in Nigeria against a democratic government. It also signified clearly that Sowore was a proxy or front, as there were other shadowy figures pushing and sponsoring this agenda of “fighting” the government with a revolution plot.
But had Sowore sought wise counsel from others, he would have been intimated that the job of journalists is not to fight governments; but inform, educate and entertain the people as well as expose the ills in society. Perhaps, his obtuse arrogance and pomposity of I know-all compelled him to shoot himself in the foot. No wonder, SR has a basketful of lawsuits on charges of defamation filed against it in American courts.
And juxtapose Sowore’s saintly posture and the I know-all syndrome, the discovery that he was not smart enough to avoid the pitfalls and traps set for him by the national executive of his political party left me gasping for breath. His AAC party members pointed accusing fingers at Sowore for refusal to account for N150 million campaign funds handed over to him for the 2019 presidential campaigns. Could he really be unaccountable?
It was bad enough, that someone seeking to lead us would have such scars on his body early enough. Sowore allowed his name to be dragged into the mud and that’s the innate failings of humanity. And that’s why our good Lords reminds that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the salvation of God, except we show remorse, humble ourselves and genuinely atone for our wrongdoings.
It likely Sowore may not hear me. He may even brand me with offensive names; just because Sowore believes everyone is wrong, except himself and his partners in the US. But do I care? I have passed a message to him and his followers. Recently, I watched Sowore on YouTube lamenting that he has no house and was suffering.
But it should not have been enough reason for him to pull the strings against President Muhammadu Buhari by attempting to unlawfully destabilize his government. I hear public stunts that Sowore deployed his SR to assist President Buhari win the election in 2015, on the promise of making him Nigeria’s Ambassador to US, but the President has violated the promise.
So, Sowore has been under this deceptive illusion and hell must be let lose against the Nigerian Government. Let me remind Sowore lastly that he is not the only wise man and reasonable person in Nigeria and should not conspire with foreign allies to take us for granted.
Duru is a member, OurMumuDoneDo and wrote from Abuja.