‘We have come to see everything that is wrong with Nigeria so that we can fix it’ – Omoyele Sowore on visiting the poor along Agege Railroad.
Although the reception of about nine months crusade of Omoyele Sowore’s Take It Back political revolution now poised for a run on the new AAC platform continues to soar and exceed imaginations, there still remain small pockets of dismissals or misevaluation of his efforts, and others bunching him into the stench of the usual.
Certainly, repeated national failures, including poverty, continue to instruct the conception of the present and projections into the future by majority of Nigerians, giving rise to a numb and parochial national space. But more worrisome and perceivable everywhere is a passively muttered belief that all politicians are the same and that hope is currently an unaffordable luxury in a country like ours.
While all these escapist mental positions and coping strategies are certainly no solution to the problems we are confronted with as a people, they continue to stand in the way all political aspirations are interpreted and absorbed. One may then ask; are there grounds to seek any difference in what Omoyele Sowore’s political philosophy represents, the future it could possibly engender, looking at the implications of his crusades, metaphorically and literally?
To answer this valid question, one may seek lighthouses in his political efforts and find his unflinching will to confront difficult questions beaming through the spread of his town hall meetings that has remained archives of bold national discourse and engagements. But beyond the fact that such engagements are pioneered by his political audacity, there are a number of important examples of his engagements with the nation space that exceed the usual.
A pause to consider his revealing visit to Bakassi IDP camp, the rot it uncovers which spans from lack of basic amenities to a pathetic and yet very small pen of pigs as alternative livelihood, makes pain a raw bite and grating illumination to attentive minds. More so, it is very important to note that on visiting this misery that is the IDP camp, Sowore had said; today I am more convinced Nigeria needs to be taken back from the bad leaders. There are times during the visit that he welled up with compassion and blurted out with renewed conviction that the leaders of this country are wicked. At another time he said, he is moved to tears but he will not cry least someone thinks he is playing politics with his tears.There, at the camp, he muttered he saw hopelessness on the faces of the children and on the faces of the adults he saw misery, while the optics of the visit remains a jarring one, provoking just one lingering word, abandoned.
Yet, there are issues this political endeavor also brings to bare, issues that no longer have space in our unbridled political arena, where interest are often corrosively selfish and rarely noble, and more importantly, this visit allows us to ask important question, for example – running through the video – one may ask, should this fate remain the lots of anyone whose land and heritage were lost to another country, not by choice or accident, but after a concession by their home country?
Could this kind of government rot show what worth the Nigerian government placed on her people? What does it mean that Sowore, a presidential candidate visited these people? Was there such thoughtful stop before now by vote seeking politicians and are there nerves or compassionate chords strummed in such previous event? Obviously, the deplorable site shows the population are merely numbered and lumped within the usually despised Nigerian communities by the political elites, and we are often numbed at sites like this and are barely provoked into compelling actions?
Engaging the people, Sowore carried one of their babies, kissed him/her and promised to ensure he/she is always fed. He also said he will help to bury the dead. But to ask further questions; is it right to reduce all these to mere political gimmick giving the background that no other politician interrogates a rot as bare as this, and if all the gazes of the people remain a prayer, can Sowore bring them their desired life in spite of their losses should he become the preside or should this provoke conscientious supports from empathetic Nigerians for Sowore’s political agenda since he is the one paying attention to these kind of issues and carrying such burden forward towards a political re-engineering?
On gleaning through those beaming eyes, I believe it is not out of place to believe the gazes of these men, women and children, though fastened on Sowore, are prayers pleading with all of us who can vote and influence political space to disrupt the status quo for the emergence of the one that will indeed respect all lives no matter where on the social ladder they belong.
We must all be awakened to the truth that says how our country treats the least of us is the value of what she truly thinks of all of us no matter what tier of life we steers. We must never forget the pain of this reality and make it a compass for our political choices. We decide.