By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo
I have no doubts. Sowore is not a terrorist. He has been a voice against bad governance, an activist. He worked hard to enthrone democracy. He has fought for probity and accountability in the country. He is a journalist. He is now a politician. He contested the last presidential elections.
I have no doubts too. Nigeria needs a cultural revolution.
However, what I am not sure Nigeria needs is a change of government championed by a bunch of election losers.
Any genuine revolution in this country would have prominent members of dissipated parties nervous and running for cover.
A revolution welcomed with hugs and kisses by leaders of a major party that bled the country for many years and foisted moral degeneration on it must be suspect.
When a party that has built a naked reputation of making excuses for corruption becomes the cheerleader for potential revolutionists then eyebrows must be raised.
Sowore is an activist. But politics infects with ambition and perhaps desperation.
A man contests elections in February. He loses woefully. Okay, the elections may have been marred by the usual irregularities. But independent and international observers accept the elections as an approximate reflection of the wishes of the people. The courts receive and are sorting grievances . The courts have not shied from hurting the wishes of the ruling party. The man who got less than one percent of the votes cast has not bothered to approach any court. Other aggrieved losers are still in court. There is nothing we have seen in the courts that have shocked the eyes. The courts have not upturned the elections. It is almost comical.
How can one of the losers, or a bunch of losers, in good conscience, lead or champion any process that even obliquely seeks to force the new government out? And we must be frank. We have waffled a bit about what a revolution means. The stated aim of Sowore and his co travelers was to instigate a rejection of the new government.
We know Sowore is not a terrorist. He is an activist. He wants a better country. But what doesn’t sit well with good faith is how four months after losing the elections, a mere six weeks into a new mandate of four years, he finds the moral guts to seek alternative ways to effect a nullification of the results of elections he lost.
I would understand some other activists, frustrated with the system, championing such a cause. They may have my sympathy. But not Sowore and the AAC party. Because it would be revolting to watch Atiku and Secondus and the PDP lead such an enterprise too.
The right to free speech and the right to peaceful protests must be protected. But we must also protect the foundations and principles of democracy. People can’t take issues to the electorate, canvass for votes, lose elections and seek a rejection of the wishes of the electorate because the electorate rejected them.
Sowore is a democrat. He is an advocate of the rule of law. He is not a terrorist. He is also the chairman of a politically party which contested and lost the last elections. Sowore can lead a protest against the delay in the implementation of minimum wage. But he has no firm moral grounds to stand on and lead any genuine mass protest against the very existence of , against the legitimacy of, this government.
If we are fed up with democracy then we can have a village meeting and agree on something else. I have my doubts about western liberal democracy. I doubt that it is the best fit for poor African countries that have no social security nets. But before we agree on something else we must remain good sportsmen.
Sowore has no new grievances. He took the state of the economy to the electorate. He took the state of insecurity to the electorate. He took the matter of youth unemployment to the electorate. Nothing new has happened since February. His grievances have been adjudicated by the electorate. It would amount to sheer arrogance for any democrat to assume that the electorate lacks the capacity to appreciate their problems. It will be dishonest to claim that he won the elections.
However, the terrorism act has dangerous fangs. We must preserve it for sworn enemies of the country like the members of Boko Haram. It is true that ambitions can change people. But Sowore doesn’t seem a changed man. He appears possessed by passion rather than hate or mischief.
The law should not be an ass.