Biography of Omoyele Sowore – Just In Case You Don’t Know Him
He is an Alumni of the Great Citadel of Learning (University of Lagos), and here is a brief biography of him.
Full Name: Omoyele Sowore.
Date of Birth: February 16, 1971, Niger Delta.
Origin: Ondo State.
Occupation(s): Blogger, Writer, Lecturer, a Human rights activist.
Years of active activism: 1989 – present.
Omoyele Sowore is a human rights and pro-democracy campaigner. He is founder and publisher of the SaharaReporters.com, a website of citizen journalism, supplying videos, photos, news stories and commentaries that expose official corruption and abuse in Nigeria’s government.
Mr. Sowore came from Ondo State in South West Nigeria. He was born on February 16, 1971, in the Niger Delta region of the country where he was also raised. He studied geography and planning at the University of Lagos and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Colombia University. He teaches Modern African History at the City University of New York and Post Colonial African History at the School of Art, New York.
While at the University of Lagos, he was actively involved in anti-military demonstrations and student unionism which ultimately culminated in his election as the President of the Student Union Government where he served between 1992-1994. His activism began in 1989 when he took part in student demonstrations protesting the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan of $120 million to be used for a Nigerian oil pipeline — the IMF loan conditions were to reduce the number of universities in the country from 28 to just 5.
In 1992 at University of Lagos, Sowore led 2,000 students in protest against Nigeria’s notorious kleptocracy. Police opened fire, killing seven. Sowore was arrested, interrogated and beaten, and later found out his family too had been put under pressure. But he refused to back down in the struggle for decent education in his country. He was an active participant in the June 12 pro-democracy struggle.
For his strident anti-government campaigns, he was harassed, arrested and detained for about eight times in various detention centers. He almost lost his life in Abacha ‘ s gulag. Since that tragic baptism of fire, Sowore has remained steady in his struggle to emancipate his country from the clutches of the racketeers and plunderers. He fled the country to the United States in 1999 from where he has continued to launch his anti-corruption missiles against the corrupt Nigerian ruling class using his website – SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters, the scorn (Editor: and, yes, Chief Tormentor) of the Nigerian establishment and nemesis of the corrupt, was birthed in 2005 but became operative from 2006. It is supported by grants donated by the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation. As part of its policy, the medium does not accept adverts and financial support from the Nigerian government.
Omoyele Sowore symbolizes different things to different people depending on ones social, economic and political leaning. To the corrupt politicians, the ruling class and their paid and unpaid apologists, Sowore is a tool in the hands of the opposition – a wild, unsubstantiated and indefensible charge that is yet to be proven with cogent and verifiable evidence. However, to the incorruptible and liberated victims of misrule, corruption, and dictatorship, he represents the audacious candle that brightens the scars inflicted on the soul of our nation.
Like other conscientious activists, Sowore has suffered myriads of mundane lacerations and mischievous recriminations. He has lived in vain, unabated and hate inspired labeling, principal of which are that he is; a rabble-rouser, attention seeking activist, blackmailer, opposition propagandist, etcetera. Despite this seeming desperation by his adversaries, he remains unperturbed. At the risk of being accused of engaging in sanctimonious glorification of Mr. Sowore, I dare say that he is a respectable part of the microscopic cast of mind that constitutes the ‘Conscience of the Nigerian Nation.’
How can we expect a man whose medium endangers the enormous elements ravaging our collective heritage and aspirations to be live without enemies and attacks? How can we expect those whose murderous, scandalous and criminal activities have been exposed by SaharaReporters to wish Omoyele Sowore well? Crass naivety can only induce such expectation. Certainly, if it were possible, our successive government would have silenced him for taking them to the cleaners.
It was SaharaReporters that forced an associate of convicted ex-Delta State governor Mr. James Ibori, Emmanuel Enaboifo, out of his exalted position as finance director of a bi-national commission that oversees the oil-rich zone owned by Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe. No sooner had the Nigerian President appointed Mr. Enaboifo to the post than Sowore unmasked him as a fugitive who fled the United States after a U.S. District Court convicted him of bank fraud. Two weeks after the publication, Mr. Enaboifo stepped down.
Earlier in January 2008, the site exposed Mrs. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, a former senator, and daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, as a hunted fugitive wanted in the U.S. over a child custody case. Even former head of Nigeria’s anti-corruption organization, EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, did not escape Mr. Sowore’s searchlight. In series of articles, mostly backed by documentary evidence, he accused her of pilfering her agency’s funds and receiving bribes from governors and ministers, in exchange for ignoring their looting of public funds. In the end, she was fired with corruption offered as one of the reasons. Sahara reporters have revealed lots more.
“Where has our ‘Turn-by-Turn’ politics gotten us? I’m a firm believer that when it comes to the life of a nation – all sentiments must be set aside and only the most capable hands should be employed to manage the affairs of Nigerians
– Omoyele Sowore
“If I believed in Buhari’s ability to lead Nigeria, I would have supported him. When Jonathan – a Southerner like me was in office, I had a principled opposition to the way he was running Nigeria. It was Albert Einstein that said, “it is madness to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.
Our patriots from across Nigeria won’t bother about zoning when they realize the person running the country is wholly detribalized and doesn’t treat anyone different because of their tribe, religion, creed, and class. We have had it all. Mediocrity is hiding behind zoning and a wicked, selfish sense of entitlement.
I am confident that we will be able to build a broad coalition of Nigerians committed to taking their country back and setting it firmly on a path to prosperity and unprecedented progress.”
– Omoyele Sowore
Nigeria has a unique opportunity in 2019 to elevate competence over tribalism, elevate character over dishonesty, principle over indecisiveness. I’m sure when the dust clears there will be candidates from across Nigeria expressing an interest in the presidency. Let Nigerians decide who should lead them – Omoyele Sowore.
#Buharimustgo #IstandwithSowore #Sowore2019 #Sowore2019 #Takeitback