This morning, former political candidate Oby Ezekwesili joined her voice to the chorus publicly denouncing the federal government’s secret arrest of AAC presidential candidate and owner of controversial newspaper Sahara Reporters Omoyele Sowore.
Sowore has long been a vocal commentator on Nigerian politics, using his newspaper to force successive democratic governments to answer to questions about policy, police brutality and corruption.
Sowore’s choice to contest in the 2019 elections elevated his status as a true opposition leader and his relative success at the polls (he was the only opposition candidate to convincingly win his constituent) put him as a possible choice to back in the 2023 elections.
Hmmmm. @AsoRock ought to know that they cannot sustain this unconstitutional habit of repression against #CitizensRights. All these persistent acts of @NGRPresident to shrink the Public Space with rabid level of intolerance for dissension will surely fail.#FreeSoworeNow!
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) August 3, 2019
Sowore however didn’t retreat after the elections.
Disappointed with the growing insecurity across the country, the unchecked menace of herdsmen attacks spreading across the country and reports that the technical victory over Boko Haram reported by the government was in fact propaganda to hide the fact that the terrorist organization was growing in experience and was experiencing a resurgence which led to the deaths of 1000 Nigerian service men, whose deaths were suppressed.
In response to these pressing concerns, Sowore began to mobilize Nigerians for a #RevolutionNow! protest slated for Monday the 5th of August 2019 in Abuja to publicly decry the inaction of the Buhari government and demand for public reform.
Sowore was arrested at his home on the 3rd of August by DSS officers who refused to show any justification for their arrest or release a public statement explaining why he was abducted in this way.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) August 3, 2019
According to legal professionals, Sowore’s planned protest do not contravene any government laws, as dissenting against any government regime is perfectly legal provided the protest is announced before hand and is peaceful in nature.
Apart from Mrs. Ezekwesili, the Third Force Movement, a coalition of smaller political parties and presidential candidates have publicly shown support for Sowore and vowed Monday’s protest will still hold.
Its secretary general Segun Obe released a statement to that effect. Others who have also condemned the arrest included the Chairman of the National Human Rights Council Chidi Odinkalu and Amnesty International and Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT.
RT seunonigbinde: Few days ago, I asked YeleSowore on the thesis of the #RevolutionNow protests. Below were his answers.
— De Boss (@Osunla) August 4, 2019
The silence from the Federal Government is counterproductive thus far, and continues to cast doubts on the present government’s willingness to obey the rule of law.
Will the government formally charge Sowore for criminal activity or detain him past Monday, perhaps to derail the planned protest.
We will just have to wait and see.