Omoyele Sowore is a name that has endured over the years and has become synonymous with national struggle. Sowore is a known pro-democracy activist and a voice that has beaten down on bad government in Nigeria over the years. He is best remembered for the stunts he pulled as the Student Union President of the University of Lagos between 1992 and 1994. He had spoken up and demonstrated against the then military government of Nigeria in a very dauntless manner. His programme at the University of Lagos was extended by two years after he was expelled twice because of political reasons and his activities in student unionism. As Student Union President in a cultism-stricken University of Lagos, Sowore fought cultism and corruption in a dramatic fashion.

When the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan saga ensued Sowore led thousands of students in demonstration against the government. The IMF had attached a number of conditions to the release of $120 million to the Ibrahim Babangida led military government for a pipeline operation. Among the conditions were that the government reduces the number of universities in the Country to 5 from the existing 28. Sowore led the protest against the move of the government to accept this condition from the IMF and the protest resulted in police opening fire and killing seven of the protesters. Sowore was arrested and tortured.

He was involved in the June 12 pro-democracy agitations against military rule in 1993 which earned him multiple arrests, detentions and torture from the government especially under the Abacha regime. He has since remained hopeful and consistent in his fight for the emancipation of the Nigerian people. He was forced to flee the country to the US in 1999, where he latee started Sahara Reporters in 2006, a news agency that reports and exposes the evils of Nigerian government as well and other African nations.

Through Sahara Reporters, Sowore has made significant sways in the socio-political structure of the Nigerian nation. Sahara Reporters was instrumental in exposing many corrupt practices that have bagged convictions. The former finance director of a bi-national commission in charge of oil field monitoring in Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe and an associate of convicted governor James Ibori of Delta State, Emmanuel Enaboifo was forced out of his office when Sowore’s Sahara Reporters published an expose on him. He was unmasked as a fugitive convicted fraudster who fled the US and he was eased out of office just a week after his appointment.

While Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, former senator and daughter of former President Obasanjo was not spared by Sahara Reporters as she was exposed to have been involved in a child custody case in the US, Farida Waziri, former EFCC boss through a number of articles was accused of theft and was eventually fired.

Sowore declared his interest to run for presidency in 2018 and founded his political party, African Action Congress (AAC). He emerged as the party’s presidential candidate unopposed and has been taken his campaign all around the country. Recently his party was excluded from participating in a presidential debate organized by National Election Debate Group (NEDG) and Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) in January 19 this year where only five parties were invited. The AAC has since sued the NEDG and BON to court amidst much protest by his supporters.

STRENGTHS

A People Person …
Among the new crop of presidential aspirants that has made the 2019 election unique compared to other elections we have held in times past, Sowore is arguably the most wildly accepted. He has a good number of followers among the youth age groups of the nation, especially the educated ones. It is a pity however that a large number of those that fall in this group who are mostly students usually do not turn up on election day to vote. Sowore is also very much loved and supported by many Nigerians in diaspora. His campaign has been funded by crowd funding from which he has raised about 50 million on just one of the platforms. He experiences wide acceptance as he has travels around the country campaigning and around the world seeking for support.

The Dauntless Activist …
Sowore who is known as a rugged and fearless activist for the emancipation of the masses has gathered support from all over the youth domain because of this singular attribute. Sowore was actually 18-years-old when he began actively fighting for the liberation of Nigeria. The current crop of leaders is believed to be incapacitated from effecting any meaningful changes because of the influence of some powerful cabals. This popular school of thought believes that Sowore being dauntless will not cave under the pressure of these cabals. Therefore they throw their weight behind him.

Young President …
In the last few decades the world has changed so much in every area but the Nigerian administrative system has not so much aligned with these new realities because of the persistent placement and replacement of presidents who have not come to terms with the current state of the world. Sowore is well travelled and has lived decades in the developed world and he understands how a modern society is run and this is what makes the thought of a Sowore Presidency in Nigeria very fascinating. Apart from the fact that a young president who possess the vigor and stamina required for the office of the president will endure better than a retired soldier in his old age, a younger president will also have better and current ideas to run the nation.
Among other things he has promised to install technologies to capture finger prints of workers to curb the menace of ghost workers.

No Godfathers …
Godfatherism and political structures are one of the major challenges of the Nigerian government system. The political system in Nigeria has certain gate keepers who sponsor their anointed candidates based on a mutual agreement which are often not at the benefit of the citizenry. President Buhari came into power with the promise to eradicate corruption by persecuting corrupt officials and recovering looted funds but it is widely said that his campaign was sponsored by billions of looted funds. As it stands now, it seems that Buhari is either unwilling to carry this campaign against some sacred political elites who were in the EFCC wanted list or he is handicapped by some agreements he has committed himself to. Either way, there is a chance he is being influenced by his principals.
This yoke is what Sowore will not bearing since he has positioned himself not be influenced by filthy lucre as the holy writ calls it. His campaign funds come through crowd funding. Even his news media, Sahara Reporters does not accept adverts and support from the Nigerian government.

Acute Competence …
The #TakeBackNigeria Movement founder has proven his competence in administration. In Sahara Reporters, the Geography and Planning graduate of the University of Lagos, starting with just a laptop and has built his news agency into an international voice against corruption, grossing multimillions in naira from donations from decent foundations. Sahara Reporters has grown from a citizen journalism platform to include Radio, TV and Training arms. The CNN and the BBC has recognized his Sahara Reporters stories.
He displayed acute leadership skill when he convinced thousands of other students to join him in the protest against kleptocracy as a Student Union President of Lagos State. In a recent interview, he claimed to be able to run the country better than Buhari even in his dream.
Sowore has spelt out a clear-cut road map to reengineer the Nigeria system. He has promised to solve the power problems by generating 4500 Megawatts from solar panels. He also boasts of having connections with investors who would like to build power plants when they see the right government in power.

Sowore Grew with Nigeria …
Very few can boast of knowing Nigeria and its history as Sowore. Sowore has been lending his voice to national police crafting since 1989 when he participated in the anti-Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) demonstration. At 18 he was already touching on matters that pertain to macroeconomic policies, democracy and government transparency in the nation. Malcolm Fabiyi, a Sahara Reporter writer gives us an insight into the tenets of the SAP under Gen. Babangida. “No single economic policy has altered and affected Nigeria’s economic fortunes as the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP). Prescribed to the Babangida government by the IMF and World Bank in 1986, the SAP called for the wide scale privatization of governmental institutions, exchange rate devaluation and the imposition of deep cuts to government spending. Nigeria’s democratic, political and economic thought leaders were concerned that the military was not an institution that had the appropriate credentials of transparency to lead a privatization of Nigeria’s crown economic jewels.”
Fabiyi exposed how the SAP crippled Nigeria’s economy and began the journey to rendering the naira useless just a few years after Babangida accepted the condition of the IMF.
“By the time Babangida took over in 1985, the exchange rate was N 0.894 to the dollar. By the time he was forced out of office in 1993, it had ballooned to N22.07 to the dollar, a whopping 2280% devaluation! All of the concerns about SAP came to pass. Deep cuts to all sectors of the Nigerian economy deprived Nigeria of the needed stimulus for economic growth.”
Sowore saw all of that coming and led a protest against it in 1989; he was tortured for this and even lost seven of his comrades in the struggle.
It has been over 30 years now and the 18 year-old Sowore is now 47 still serving the nation and is running for the presidency with the economy has fallen into a below deplorable state with the naira now 350 to a dollar.
For his knowledge on Nigeria history, after undertaking a masters degree programme in Public Administration from Colombia University, he now combines his operations at Sahara Reporters with service as a Professor at the New York City Colleges for years. He is also a very well sought-after speaker globally.

WEAKNESS

His Weird Manifesto …
Scrutinizing the promises that Sowore has made up until now have seem vague and far-fetched. He has promised to pay N100, 000 per session to students in tertiary institutions as allowance. He has also promised free education across all levels. He has also promised to pay a workers minimum wage of N100, 000. When asked how this would be made possible, he said ‘…cut public waste and corruption by 20%, diversify our economy, collect taxes, excise and custom duties stop giving out cronies… and many more strategies to be unveiled.” Promises like these were what the APC made in 2015 and failed to deliver any of them. Nigerians are now more watchful when these kind of far-fetched promises are made to them. Foremost blogger, passionate truth-seeker and non-partisan liberator, Ajibola Salami, who was a faculty mate and good friend of Sowore back then in University of Lagos and still maintains a good relationship with him, says he remains carefully wary of politicians. “When it comes to politicians, I don’t discriminate… I dislike all of them!” he says.

Unbridled mannerism …
Sowore has been coarse and uncivil in his approach to things. This unrefined attitude has made many people distant themselves from him. When Swore was excluded from the list of candidates for the presidential debate organized by the NEDG and BON he made unsavory comments and instigated his supporters into a protest. As much as this approach has been an indication of his passion to see justice prevail, it is however no more necessary in the civil world we now live in where dialog has become the main approach to solving problems. Mr. Sowore must learn to put away the aluta perspective he has learnt from his days in Unilag and begin to employ the more modern problem solving like consultation and negotiation. Even though violence necessary in the 80’s, it is now no more popular.

Self-Centered Fight …
In 2018, Nigerians who saw that the likes of Soweore, Moghalu and Durotoye had what Nigeria needed at this time and they were all almost equally qualified called for a merger of the forces so as not to split the votes and wrestle power from the PDP and the APC. The trio with about 14 other aspirants met and agreed to form a collision called the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together (PACT). Delegates were selected from the different parties and converged in Abuja to vote for a conscientious candidate. Fela Durotoye won and emerged the PACT conscientious candidate. Sowore and Kingsley Moghalu left the PACT to continue their campaign. This singular act made Nigerians lose faith in the presidency of any of these younger aspirants. And as such, many labeled Sowore as treacherous with ulterior motives because “If they all want to change the country, why not work together then?”
The NEDG and BON didn’t invite Sowore to the debate they organized because according to them, their debate could only accommodate five candidates which were selected through a multilevel process of taking public surveys through questioners. They found that the five most popular candidates were Buhari, Atiku, Moghalu, Ezekwesili and Durotoye. This is a sad indication that Sowore’s popularity had fallen.
After the presidential debate, Obiageli Ezekwesili, the candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) has shown commitment to the coalition by stepping down from the race.

OPPORTUNTIES

The younger population …
Nigeria is made up of a population of more than 60% youths. The educated percentage of this youth population is below 50%. This population can be harnessed to turn out en mass for the elections. This is an opportunity that Sowore campaign group needs to harness with the right campaign promises.
This population can be found majorly in the southern part of the country.

Diaspora Support …
Sowore, having lived in the US for about two decades has built a good base of supporters from Nigerians in diaspora. This opportunity has brought in funding of his campaign with over millions of naira. The support can be harnessed to increase his voters shares.

Buhari’s failure …
Buhari’s failure is made Nigerians to begin to seek an alternative set of leaders different from what APC and the PDP has to offer. This desire is strongest now more than ever before. This is an opportunity to harness as the Nigerian voters equilibrium is most volatile now.

THREATS

Buhari and Atiku …
With these two a serious threat to Sowore because they have a huge supporter base beyond any other candidate can boast of. They both will most likely split the votes of the election among themselves. To beat these will be a daunting task for Sowore.

Election Under Buhari …
Sowore and other candidates may be threatened by the alleged unwillingness of the INEC under Buhari to conduct a free and fair election. After Obasanjo accused Buhari of trying to rig the elections, buhari has not done much to prove him wrong. By blocking the electoral reform bill and appointing his sister-in-law as Head of collation at INEC, Buhari has raised many eyebrows.

No Coalition …
The lack of a coalition between the new crop of presidential contestants is a threat to the realization of their dreams. For the opposition parties to wrestle power from the PDP in 2015, the CPC, ACN and other political parties had to merge and work with one candidate then –Buhari.