Sunday, August 4, 2019 6:12 pm
The arrest and detention of Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress in the just concluded elections raises important questions regarding the health and relevance of our on going democratic experiment.
Sowore, having lost in the election declared the process a fraud and began to mobilise his followers for a massive nationwide protest billed for August 5th, under the rubric REVOLUTION NOW!
The Government detained Sowore arguing that he wanted to use force to overthrow the democratically elected government of Muhammadu Buhari.
It is clear to all discerning Nigerians that the government of President Buhari has failed to deliver prosperity, security and general contentment to the populace.
Even more to the point, ordinary Nigerians are increasingly questioning the value of a democracy that has not delivered development since 1999 when the soldiers returned to their barracks. It must be pointed out that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians who fought for the enthronement of democracy in the 1980s and 1990s were the poor and marginalised – whom Frantz Fanon memorably called ‘The Wretched of the Earth.’ They fought for democracy- to be concretely manifested in good governance and economic benefits for them and their families.
This has not happened. Instead, Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world, with over 80 percent of the population living on less than a dollar a day.
This is the parlous condition that Omoyele Sowore is protesting. He has a right to protest. All well-meaning Nigerians should join in this protest. Democracy without prosperity and Development is a negation of the very idea of democracy. Indeed, I argue that democracy is directly threatened in Nigeria because the poor and dispossessed are increasingly turning away from Nigeria’s brand of democracy that has given them only poverty.
Set Sowore free. You don’t imprison ideas. You combat ideas with superior alternative ideas.