A couple of weeks after the 2019 presidential elections, I met Omoyele Sowore at the Sahara Reporters Civic Media Lab and after we exchanged pleasantries with his usual “eh professor” way, he told me in a somber tone how his transverse of the length and breadth of Nigeria during his one year intensive campaigns had made him (upon his brief return to the United States) value things he had hitherto taken for granted having been practically away for twenty years.
Sowore told me how he came to appreciate the leaders of America for the good roads, stable power, good schools, world class health care, mortgage facilities, welfare programs, etcetera.
I listened to him with rapt attention and pity as he held the stand of the red water tank inside the building. When he was through, I said the following words:
“Sir, please leave us here with our poverty and return to the states.”
Sowore is a rich and comfortable person. His children neither live nor school here. If I had a twelfth of the opportunity Sowore has, I would have forgotten the location of Nigeria on the world map. I’m saying this as clear as I can. Nigerians who are most hit by poverty and hunger have shown the most love to those inflicting those indignities on them.
Although, Sowore’s friend, A3 warned that Sowore could dislike me for asking him to leave Nigerians with their poverty, I had to say it nonetheless. I do not know what could motivate someone as comfortable as Sho to leave his family, job and convenience to fight against base conditions that ordinarily have little effect on him.
Nigeria is a space of dead people. It is a dangerous black hole where no amount of good manifest as a result of its nature to neutralize anything thrown at it.
The same people castigating Sowore are dying in hunger, dying in pain and dying in agony yet clutch in vain hope, struggling to take a seat on the podium where praises are heaped on the custodians of their chains.
How will a country led by thieves, certificate forgers and freeloaders appreciate a person like Sowore who created something out of nothing? How did Nigeria treat Professors Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Pius Adesanmi and Ayodele Awojobi? Did Awojobi not threaten to go study law? Did the Nigerian government not frustrate him that he once broke down in tears in court?
If I had an herbalist, I will take Sowore’s name there and cause him to forget the name of his country.
The day I leave this country will be the last I will complain about it. Do indulge my rantings for a while until God answers my prayers and blesses my hustle. – Modiu Olagunro.