Omoyele Sowore is not a strange name in the Nigerian political scene. He is a human rights activist, and founder of an online news agency Sahara Reporters. He is also a former presidential candidate of Nigeria.
On the 3rd of August 2019, Sowore was arrested by the Department Security Service (DSS) on the charge of treason after calling for a protest tagged RevolutionNow. This article provides you with even more information you will need to know about Sowore, his biography, career, and lots more. Read on below:
Omoyele Sowore – Biography
Omoyele Sowore popularly known as Yele was born on the 16th of February, 1971. He hails from Ese-Odo, Ondo State in southwest Nigeria. However, Sowore was born in the Niger Delta region of the country. He was raised in a polygamous home with sixteen children. At the age of 12, he was already learning how to be responsible when he had to learn to ride a motorcycle so that he could go to the lake in the morning to go fishing for food for his entire family before going to school. Sowore is a passionate journalist. His interest in media was propelled during military rule in Nigeria.
In 1989, Sowore studied Geography and Planning at the University of Lagos. He graduated in 1995, two years after the due time after being expelled twice for political reasons and student activism. While in school, between the years 1992 and 1994, he was the President of the University of Lagos Student Union Government. He was notably involved in anti-cultism and anti-corruption advocacy. In 1999, Sowore left Nigeria for medical treatment in New York, after his treatment, he stayed back for his Masters’ degree. In 2003, he obtained a master’s in Public Administration from Columbia University
Sowore has taken parts in major protests in Nigeria’s history. In 1989, he took part in student demonstrations protesting against the conditions of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan worth $120 million which was to be used for a Nigerian oil pipeline. Conditions to the loan grant was that the number of Nigerian universities will be reduced from 28 to 5.
In 1992, Sowore led about 5,100 students in protest against the Nigerian government. This protest resulted in police opening fire and killing seven protesters. Sowore was also arrested and tortured.
Sowore was also actively involved in the demand for a democratic government taking over military rule on June 12, 1993.
Omoyele Sowore Career
Omoyele Sawore is also a lecturer of Modern African History at the City University of New York. He also teaches Post- Colonial African History at the School of Art, located in New York.
About Sahara Reporters
Sahara Reporters is a media company founded by Omoyele Sowore. He started Sahara Reporters in 2006, in a small room in Manhattan. Sowore began the news website so he could run a platform where he can fight against corrupt government practices in Nigeria. Sahara Reporters is supported through financial grants by the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation. As one of its standing policies, Sahara Reporters does not accept advert proposals, and financial support from the Nigerian government.
Arrest of Sowore
One of Sowore’s most recent arrests was in 2019. He was arrested by the DSS on the 3rd of August, 2019. Sowore had announced that he will lead a nationwide protest called #RevolutionNow protest. The Federal Government of Nigeria later admitted to issuing the arrest. The arrest of Sowore was condemned by notable activists such as Wole Soyinka and Oby Ezekwesili. Sowore was later charged with “conspiracy to commit treason and insulting President Muhammadu Buhari”.
He was granted bail by the Federal High Court Abuja on the 24th of September, 2019. This was based on the condition that he surrender his international passport within forty-eight hours. At first, The DSS refused to release Sowore claiming ignorance of the court order. Sowore’s wife led protests at the UN plaza when the DSS’ refused to release Sowore. The detention of Sowore sparked a global decry as many supported Sowore and saw this as a fail in democracy in Nigeria.
On 29 September 2019, When Sowore made his first appearance in the media since his detention, he described the poor manner in which he was treated. He was locked up in a dark room without the sunlight and denied access to telephone and Television. The court again declared Sowore free on the 5th of December, 2019 after confirming that he had settled his bail terms. However, DSS operatives still evaded the premises to re-arrest him. Sowore was finally released on the 24th of December, 2019.
On the 25th of February, 2018, Sowore announced his intention to run for president in the 2019 Nigerian general election. In August 2018, he founded a political party called the African Action Congress (AAC) on which platform he will run for the presidency in 2019.
On the 6th of October, 2018, Sowore emerged the presidential candidate for the party. He toured many states in Nigeria and visited dignitaries such as the Emir of Kano and Wole Soyinka. He also embarked on a tour around the world including Australia, the United States of America, and the UK in order to raise funds for his presidential campaign.
At the Presidential elections of 2019, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged winner with 15,191,847 votes while Sowore came fifth with 33,953 votes
Sowore – Personal life
Sowore is married with children. He and his family have been residing in Haworth, New Jersey.
Sowore’s wife is Opeyemi Oluwole Sowore. She is a Nigerian American. She came to public view when she led a protest for the release of Sowore after the journalist was rearrested by the Department of State Services. Sowore had been arrested on charges of threat to National Security including treasonable felony, cyberstalking and money laundering in December 6, being earlier arrested on August 3, 2019
On September 24, 2019, Opeyemi Sowore had led several protests and discourses at the United Nations plaza over the detention of her husband by the Department of State Services. The protests were an advocacy for global intervention from Democracy Now and the US Senate into the release of Sowore.