2019 Nigeria Needs A Sowore

Ibadan, Nigeria

(Photo Credit: Supashegs Olusegun Aderinto)

[The presidential election in Nigeria is less than a year away, and like many Nigerians,  I am very unhappy about the state of the country. However, I have identified a model candidate that will be capable to start to solve Nigeria’s myriad problems. As a regular reader of this blog will note, I typically don’t write about politics, but I believe that  I do have a moral imperative to let out the following arguments. Silence is consent, it *could* propagate the unwanted.]

Let me start with a premise we can all work with.

It’s a proverb attributed to Albert Einstein and it goes thus: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” I believe we all know what this means in the context of Nigeria – Today APC. Tomorrow PDP. Same result. Same madness.

There is absolutely no point for exposition. There are more things to be said.

I am not here to say that you should support Mr Omoyele Sowore, just because he is Sowore, and he happens (just happens) to be a brave guy.

No.

This is what I plan on saying, which is not novel by any means.

The political system of Nigeria needs to be changed, and the change is only possible when people like Sowore come to power. Please recall that Nigeria’s problem is of ‘systems’ rather than of ‘persons’. And just so you know, President Buhari is a symptom of the disease that he is trying to cure. He wouldn’t be able to do it easily, that’s if he can even do it in the first place. This should be obvious for those who want to see.

It might also interest you that Mr Sowore is attempting to by-pass the practical clash between capitalism and democracy – which is even a bane in many developed countries today – by raising the money for his campaign directly from the people. (Rather than from 2 or 3 billionaires in town, who will later squeeze his balls when he gets elected). I find that exciting.

That aside, I have a suspicion – folks must have stuck to President Buhari based on the “lesser of the two-evil” argument. But thank God we have an alternative – Omoyele Sowore.

So, why Sowore?

You see, there are virtues and there are virtues. The difference is that some can be faked, and some others can’t. Let’s take honesty for example. It can be faked. Compassion, it can be faked. Piety? It can be faked. Wisdom? It can be faked.

As the essayist Nassim Taleb puts it, “the only virtue that cannot be faked is courage”. Now show me that one person who can fake courage and I will empty my bank account.

Despite the fact that Mr. Sowore had been out of the country for about 19 years now, he had not rescinded his Nigerian citizenship (which many people do in a whim once they step out of the country). Instead, he had set up a brilliant platform – Sahara Reporters – to fight corruption in Nigeria at the very highest level putting his life in great risk. This is apart from his struggles against the military regime in his youthful days.

Let’s face it. Many of us can’t (and haven’t) done this. But still, we continue to suffer and smile.

And if you by any chance know of any courage that can be faked, this one can’t be. I am sorry.

Isn’t it rational to vote for a person who has this kind of holy scar, rather than embrace either disgustingly corrupt persons and, or persons surrounded by disgustingly corrupt persons (which makes them disgustingly corrupt by default)? It is worth thinking about.

Now let’s talk about the practicality of his presidency.

If you agree with my arguments so far, the remainder part of this essay will be smooth.

Below are random comments I gleaned off the internet made by people who I believe think Sowore is a desirable choice but wouldn’t support him because of the reasons/comments stated.

“Nigeria is too vast, he can’t be possibly elected.”

“The electorate is corrupt, no way for him.”

“Do they even count votes these days?”

“The almahjiri youth in the North will vote for Sai Baba.”

“I don’t think he will get elected.”

“I am not even voting anyways.”

Friends, I can smell the odor of a deeply disturbing level of irrationality. Why should we base the decision of whom to support in an election on somethings that has absolutely nothing to do with the sanctity of the candidates?

Some of us who are still doubting Sowore presidency because of ‘practical’ reasons like those stated above better wake up from our slumber quickly. Perhaps a lot of us have suffered so much that we have forgotten what it means to suffer. We are wallowing in poverty. Our healthcare is in shambles. There are no securities for life etc. (We all know the problems and I hate to reiterate them.)

In the end our future is in our hands and no one will fight for us. A Sowore can only do his part.

Finally, can he do it?

I believe he can, given that he dents the current system in the process of his election, and we all have a role to play in this by primarily supporting him.

Please note that not even an angel can run Nigeria desirably as it stands today. The system is completely defective, and we all know it.

Supporting Omoyele Sowore, I believe, is the greatest good we can do for our nation today.

And let me conclude: Mr Sowore is one of the few candidates I have seen so far who fits into a ‘presidential’ phenotype (a person with a holy scar and who aims to dent and by-pass the current corrupt system). Any of these arguments will apply to anybody who fits into this phenotype, in the eventuality that Sowore ceases to be Sowore.

Nigeria problems are not unsolvable only if we stick to the status quo.

God Bless Nigeria.

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4 thoughts on “2019 Nigeria Needs A Sowore

  1. Hi Bif!

    I found your article to be very refreshing as you wrote outside the scope of your normal interests of personal development. Nevertheless, I liked the way you tied this into overarching theme of values and their integrity, such as courage.

    From your point of view, how would you encourage voters to move outside the conventional wisdom of the ”insanity” you introduced at the beginning of your article? Is Sowore the only choice of hope? How do you invision hope spreading amongst the masses?

    Lastly, what did you mean by ”lesser of the two evils?” If Buhari is only competing with Sowore, isn’t Sowore the good guy like you spoke of or are their traits to him that make him a bad choice as well? This reminds me of the Trump vs Clinton Election where both canidates were painted by the media to be bad choices but from your article you paint Sowore out to clearly be the better choice.

    One for the road, what do you mean by holy scar?

    Keep up the good work mate, really got me pondering about how our political system in the US defies the boundaries between capitalism and democracy as well and unfortunately how sometimes these negatively influence the other. On the other hand, I think ist great that Sowore is crowd funding his campaign…I believe its just the beginning of how the ‘Internet of Things’ is changing tradiational vertical forms of hierarchy.

    Cheers

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      Thanks for the comments (and these are good questions).
      Moving from the present state of insanity can be hard for a lot of reasons. Perhaps a deadly one would be if an ‘insane’ individual doesn’t recognize itself as insane. However, given the restrictions I have, one of the most effective things I could do is what I have done: to use the power of reasoning to persuade.

      Sowore is not the only option, but he is, so far, the best option (to me) primarily because he had demonstrated substantial skin-in-game attributes in his relationships with the country, which I listed out in my essay.

      With regard to reaching the masses, his campaign team is doing a good job thus far, moving from state to state, engaging the masses in, primarily, town hall meetings.

      The lesser of the two-evil statement I made is heavily contextual, and this is what I meant: Buhari is generally believed to be the least worst option when compared to the ‘average’ Nigerian politician that could run for presidency. However, given the surge of credible and capable outsiders like Mr Sowore, such argument would certainly not hold water.

      I used the phrase ‘holy scar’ to illustrate Mr Sowore’s skin-in-the-game attributes – the struggles he had with the military regime while in his youth, the constant battle he has had, and currently having with the corrupt political elite in Nigeria.

  2. Obiora says:

    Well written as usual.

    Like you, I’m disappointed, even irritated, when I hear some of our middle-class and supposedly educated folks write off people like Sowore or Kingsley by saying ‘Oh, they are all the same’ or ‘Oh, they don’t stand a chance’.

    I think this skepticism, or rather cynicism, is not just irrational, it is really stupid. Take the case of Buhari. We have irrefutable evidence that he’s an unmitigated disaster. Yet, someone who knows these facts too well and is most likely suffering the consequences, will refuse to collect their PVC or collect their PVC yet repeat the inane lines above.

    To be honest, I don’t think our problem is the almajiris in the north who will and have always voted Buhari (remember that he was always losing even with their votes), but the so-called middle class whose cynicism will, either by omission or commission cause the return of Buhari.

    That said, I think Kingsley is a better candidate than Sowore. This is informed by my reading of their economic rhetoric. Sowore, from what I see, is repeating the tired line that Buhari used– fighting corruption. His economic policies are not convincing, at least not yet. Kingsley appears to have a better grasp of the economy. And I think we need someone with sound economic understanding that will come and fix the rot that Buhari and his visionless government has caused.

    • Olatomiwa Bifarin says:

      Thanks for the comment. And I really loved the qualification of Mr Buhari’s administration as an unmitigated disaster. That is apt. About Kinsley vs Sowore. I have to confess that I haven’t listen to much of what he has to say, but I will expect him to be very cerebral (especially in the economy sphere) given his pedigree. And I agree, we need someone with a good grasp of economic policies. But I see Nigeria, now, more in need of a ferocious, courageous fighter of corruption. Someone who knows the terrain and who will not bulge in the heat of the battle. I see that in Sowore, he is trained for that. That said, I do hope that Sowere, Kinsley et al come together and form a formidable team. That will be much more productive.

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