President Muhammadu Buhari must no longer continue to betray the vision of #RevolutionNow, being the call for protest against bad governance in Nigeria by the renowned anti-corruption and human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore. Similarly, the president ought to embrace the call this week for a revolution by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
But this appeal remains a tall order. The truth is that President Buhari reneged on the revolution agenda we deployed to free Nigeria from the 16-year of gross misrule under the Peoples’ Democratic Party. As a result, virtually every performance measurement index in the critical areas of social, economic, and politic development have become worse than the situation before he assumed power. Even in the areas where Buhari recorded measurable progress, his style of leadership has been utterly miasmic, enough to cause a Saint to wear the look of a Satan.
Different efforts, however subtle, to point the president to the right direction during his first term by members of the Nigerian media, as well prominent patriots, fell on deaf ears. It was then believed that voters could capitalize on the 2019 elections to sweep him out for good. But that was not to be. Apart from the fact that the presidential election was neither free nor fair, Muhammadu Buhari would become re-elected as the better alternative in an election generally viewed as a binary contest between a devil and the deep blue sea.
This hollow re-election victory has done nothing but embolden Buhari to descend deeper and deeper into dictatorship. If his first term record was a dismal failure, his second term in office is trending to become even worse. But critics this time have grown tired. The Nigerian press, which is generally a vibrant and fearless force, had begun to feel surfeited, since talking to General Buhari appears like talking to a brick wall. Even the prayer warriors had also begun to lose hope.
Then came an early Christmas gift to Nigerians, particularly President Buhari. An unseen power beckoned Omoyele Sowore to say enough is enough, as he called for true revolution towards good governance in his homeland. Buhari and his people recognized that this voice was like no other. After all, the call was coming from no person other than Sowore, a rare patriot with a bevy of global networks, who along with his Sahara Reporters, had triggered the fall of many Nigerian corrupt leaders. The unseen power answered once again by goading Buhari to arrest and detain the human rights activist without bail.
But Nigeria’s God is far from spent. The glimpse was the audacity of a woman in Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, the trial judge who threatened to jail the Chief of Buhari’s secret police, the Department for State Services (DSS), if he failed to free Sowore in line with court orders. Though the DSS adhered to the judge’s ultimatum and released Sowore, little did the world know that the worst was yet to come. In less than 24 hours after the release, the same secret police stormed back to the federal high court, wielding wild guns, and forcefully re-arrested Sowore while he was standing trial, as the judge and court staff fled for their lives.
The darkest hour has its dawn! The naked desecration of the Judiciary by the Executive branch in the Sowore saga has provoked new attention on Nigeria and has the potential for the long-sought liberation from Buhari’s reign of terror. Accordingly, major local news agencies, most of which were instrumental in bringing him to power, have washed their hands-off the president. In short, the nature of worldwide condemnation trailing the shameless rape on Nigeria’s fledgling democracy has not been witnessed in recent history. And the Buhari people ought to know the consequence.
The bee sucks honey out of the bitterest flower! Notable Buhari enablers are beginning to sing different tunes. Some of them are even beginning to use the “R” word without fear. Notice that his press secretary did not hesitate to use the occasion of Buhari’s 77th birthday to echo the need for revolution in the country. In Femi Adesina’s own words, “Nigeria must get a new lease of life, and history must record it that the revolution started under one man: Muhammadu Buhari.” Interestingly, the date of Adesina’s publication was December 17, 2019, barely five months after Omoyele Sowore was arrested for daring to utter the word “revolution”.
Every cloud has a silver lining! President Muhammadu Buhari has dug himself into a big hole in the Sowore saga, and change has become inevitable. Therefore, unless he prays for the doomsday, now is the time. Tap from the history and do the right thing. The wise will begin with an early Christmas gift of his own to the Nigerian people by freeing Sowore NOW!
*SKC Ogbonnia, Convener of Power To The Masses, wrote from Ugbo, Enugu State, Nigeria.