REVOLUTIONNOW: A CHARTER FOR TOTAL FREEDOM! By Stephen Omoyele Sowore (SOS)
It was in 2018, we moved around the nooks and corners of Nigeria. We visited our markets, schools, farms, hospitals, our work places, roads, waterways. There was a particular engagement while we were enroute Jalingo from Yola that struck some cords in me. I met a herder who told me pointedly that his cattle tending occupation could be made better if he only he was given a fighting chance in a ranch built and operated to modern standards. It became clearer than before, to me right there that the issue was not his being a herder, the issue was the terrific terrorists Boko Haram was busy recruiting herders into their fold, tapping into the crises of resolutions on the Lake Chad crisis occasioned by climate change, as well as the ruinous ambition of islamic fundamentalists. We can’t shy away from this fact.
Nigeria today is bedeviled with rulers who live fake lives in order to steal the original lives of millions of our people.
The aspiration of that herder is yet fulfilled till date while the issues bordering on herder- farmer crisis has gone far worse. In addition to physical insecurity, millions of Nigerians are perpetually going hungry in the midst of plenty. Tens of millions of youths are unemployed and some government rogues still insult our graduates as “unemployable”. The Nigerian ruler, Muhammadu Buhari even had the temerity to call Nigerian youths lazy”. What can be most embarrassing for a rulership that existed from 1960 till date thab the fact that they’ve never been able to satisfy the people with real governance, not even for once?
So, we are done lamenting. We have since the last elections been consulting with the masses. We started immediately after the 2019 elections by standing with the people against their oppressors who had just manipulated their rogue cabals back into government through through all crooked means they referred To as election. We never allowed undue moral sentiments to deter us from doing the needful- showing people the way to go, in defending the civic space, media space , and the political space in its entirety; the space we promised in 2018 to disrupt.
In consulting with the masses, we took the bull by the horn by setting the barricades through the declarations of #RevolutionNow. Some thought we were joking when it all started. Others thought we went too far. But how can anyone be sane in this atmosphere that has lost all modica of serenity? A system that has stripped our people of humanity.
From July 2019, weWe started mobilizing for a democratic uprising that came to head on August the 5th. We declared to undertake rigorous campaigns that would make the people of Nigeria to take their own destinies into their own hands. And by August 1st, the megaphone of #RevolutionNow was reverberating from the streets in villages, towns and cities to the market places, work places and expressways. We got over 5 million Nigerians search the word “Revolution” on the internet. Nigerian people themselves gave multi-million backings to our call and must have been rudely shocked when I was arrested in a gestapo manner, in the night of August 3rd, 2019.
Thinking that Omoyele Sowore was just a lone voice in the wilderness, the legendary failures who were arrogantly forced down our grudging throats never knew they had murdered sleep by keeping me illegally in detention. Our great comrades continued consulting with the people. They went from house to house, factories, to shops, to markets to explain to Nigerians why I had to be hounded by those who never want Nigerians to live better. Our comrades spoke with old and young from the North to the South. They occupied the DSS headquarters in Lagos and Abuja, as well as making sure the typically reticent and complacent lawmakers were forced to discuss my unlawful incarcerations from time to time. Their consultations reached the poor, the vulnerable, artisans and especially the informal workers. In Osogbo, far away from Abuja where I was detained, an old woman in her 70s popularly called “Iya onifufu” because of her trade, heard our comrades speaking in the face of police brutality. She dropped her goods and followed the protesters, where she too suffered gross brutality in the hands of Nigerian police officers. Such has been the way the masses of Nigeria take our case so seriously.
Our comrades fought so hard to #FreeSowore. And I too did all the needful by standing with the uncompromising ethics and letters of our historic struggles, rejecting all perks waved at me.
We continued to discuss and engage in massive consultations with all the strata of our people’s aspirations for a saner and better country.
We consulted with the Shiites in the face of the massacres from Kaduna to Abuja and some other parts where the followers of El Zakzaky were being persecuted, arrested, maimed, and murdered.
We have been consulting with our great people in Biafraland who since the civil war have continued to be trampled upon by a wicked cabal that has incorporated Igbos inIn both the ruling and business classes to not only betray but gruesomely victimize the legal and moral struggles for self determination. We believe that a people have a right to negotiate and decide their own liberty without attacks and genocides like the Buhari murderous government have been doing from Orlu to Obigbo. We keep standing for the unconditional release of my friend Mazi Namdi Kanu who is being unjustly detained by the Buhari government.
We have also been consulting with the Middle Belt in its daily struggles against the scourges of war that have been both silently and loudly perpetrated by the rapacious and conquering business class who, running from terrorists in the North East, have been forced to be using brutes to take over the farms and settlements of people in the North Central.
From Benue to Southern Kaduna, mass killings and destructions have been going on unabated with a session of the Nigerian hegemony siding with the killer herders. So many of the instigators of these violence are deciding members of this wicked government. And it is in memory of our legendary battles that I remember our late patriot who was Deputy Governor of the CBN, Mr Obadiah Malafia.
We have been consulting with the people in the core North in their historic wars against both Boko Haram and ISWAP but most importantly a near total ineffective commander in chief who’d practically abandoned them to their fate. The insecurity in the Northeast and NorthWest were brought upon our people by the long irresponsibilities of our rulers who have no other interests other than milking dry our hard earned resources.
Their only expertise is in turning the war on terror to a multi-billion naira business that continue to make Generals and politicians dirty billions over the blood of our people. In consulting with the North, we engaged with the #NorthIsBleeding campaign from Adamawa to Sokoto top Minna. This particular consultation created a lot of queries about our intention in this campaign. But we patiently explained to the queriers that we are all one; those of us who are victims of this oppressive state.
We continue to let our people know that only the self-security of the people, alongside a well-oiled military machinery can stop the terrorists groups in the North. A clueless regime cannot fight for the long suffering people of the north.
We have been consulting with the working class in organized and informal labour. The Nigerian economy has been shattered and shuttered through the instrumentality of the Adjustment Program (SAP) that was jointly imposed on the people by the Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida military junta. We have participated fervently in all workers’ strikes and actions so far. We played prominent roles in the great January Uprising Against Fuel Subsidy Removal in 2012.
We have also been involved in all struggles of workers at the sectoral and informal levels; putting on the ground all of our supports for those who have had no other choice than to engage in self trade as well as self-employment in this majorly informal economy.
The production system has since been destroyed. Hundreds of industries from textiles to automobile, gone. Our selfish rulers sheepishly take dictations from IMF and World Bank. They impose all sorts of wicked and ruinous policies of deregulation and devaluation of the Naira on our people. They mouth fake policies and tell us lies of Foreign Direct Investments that do not exist in the real sense of it. And to satisfy their Western and Asian masters, they have killed all social securities, amenities and social welfare like education and health care services. They have murdered the naira and continued to make mockery of our collective patrimony by reversing all the subsidies that the people enjoy. They are currently working hard in collaboration with marketers to increase the price of fuel after making sure they destroyed the production power of the refineries. They do everything to make sure our economy does not work for the Nigerian people. They take all our raw materials abroad and bring back finished products for us to buy. The example of crude oil shows that those ruling us are worse than prodigal kids. It is sad that Nigeria remains the only member of OPEC that does not have working refineries.
We continue to consult with self-determination agitators, by defending their rights to express their dissatisfaction of the unwholesome unitary system, disguised as a federal democracy.
While we believe our goal is to build the whole of Africa as a country of abundance and advancement, such would never be done by forcing people to live together. However, we are against all those who are against simple democracy where people cannot raise common agitations. It is in this vein that we call for the immediate release with apology, of our brothers Sunday Igboho and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who have been unjustly kept in the Benin Republic prison and DSS Abuja facility respectively.
We have consulted with women and continue to battle against all subjugation and systematic oppression that characterize the Nigerian womenfolk. We are not like those who believe women are just objects. We continue to fight for women as members of the oppressed class. We believe in Thomas Sankara’s principles of empowering the women while also encouraging them to fight for their rights. To be part of the process and not an after-thought. We believe that the freedom of women is germane in examining the level of the growth and development of our society.
A major consultation we have concertedly done is the one with our youths and students, who today are the most marginalized. We have a generation of youths that never enjoy any dividends of government, but wanton package of brutalities. Our youths grow everyday with little or no hopes for the future. As I speak, ASUU is on strike and what the government is doing is to give same excuses and sponsor fifth columnist to espouse same nonsense on pages of newspaper. This strike is the 15th in 23 years. How can a government flagrantly disregard agreements ? How can anyone support our wicked rulers who destroy public education while sending their kids abroad? How can education workers continue to live on such meagre salaries while useless lots in the Senate do nothing, yet earn tens of millions?
I call on all students to stand with ASUU and all other education unions who are for the revitalization of public education.
We are one of the few old guards who initiated and participated in the EndSARS. We are proud today that we led the first protests to the Force Headquarters in Abuja and that singular action spiraled into several efforts that emanated from different cells of the Nigerian youths, towards the great movement to #EndBadGovernance. We owe no one apologies for fighting for our future. We owe no one apologies for being part of a festival of the oppressed that has put the Nigerian youths in the great pages of world history. The largest concentration of black youths shook the world to its foundation in 11 days. EndSARS helped to snatch the gear of history from the grip of our oppressors.
It is in the lights of the consultations we have shown thus far that we would be standing today, bearing our conscience to tell the world of our intentions to write yet another page of moving forward with speed. The Nigerian people can not afford to lose another four years to cluelessness.
First, we propose aA Nigeria without the current documents of woes that are not meant for real citizens. We propose to abolish the 1999 constitution that was imposed on us by the military and civilian oppressors. In its place, we will have a people’s constitution that would come on board within six (6) months from the streets, towns, villages, and cities. Our own constitutional conference would see that the masses themselves participate and not just representatives that do not represent the people’s interests.
We are very keen on free, functioning, and quality education at all levels. We will immediately meet with ASUU and all education workers on harmonizing and advancing the current demands. The question would not be the implementation of agreements. It would rather be on how massive are the current agreements, for we want to build education policies that would see 70% Nigerians truly educated to higher levels within three years. We will not settle for any standard that does not set world class records.
We will create a health care system that would locate Primary health care centers in the space of five streets in our towns. The health sector of our government won’t encourage brain drain- where nurses and doctors are condemned to run abroad in search of greener pastures. We would water the pasture here. In addition to providing best welfare packages for our health professionals, we will build health institutions that would attract other health professionals all over the world. We would make standing laws on medical tourism to make sure that Nigeria becomes the bus stop of medical interventions. The era of not having a “syringe” even in the Aso Rock Clinic is gone.
Politics, of course, is concentrated on economics. To the extent that our politics is centered on the collective majority, our economy must beBe people-centred. We will not accept all those anecdotes of failures that the IMF and World Bank are wont to imposing on Nigeria. We do not believe in greed and power. We believe in redistribution of wealth and collectivisation of benefits.
We will build an economy that will be centred on massive industrialisation and production. We will never accept that our crude oil will be refined abroad. We will revive the refineries on ground and start to build three more refineries within two years. We are interested in all the components of the crude oil to build a great energy Industry that the world would be proud of. We will take the power of pricing away from the greed of the oil marketers. We will return pricing to the prerogative of state production.
We will have zero tolerance to loans. We are determined not put our future into debt management. We want to be the country that the world would be owing!
We will build with the informal economy that isIs today the largest but the most victimized. we have a great relationship with informal workers and their organisations. We will build an economy that would be self-dependent and also be able to guarantee self and collective abundance. To do this is to formalize all small and medium scales trading. We will care for all business innovations and build a grand technological networking that would protect, expand, and organize the business acumens that would make the country the most conducive trading centre in the world.
As for the fact that Nigeria is not safe, we have been so clear about what is to be done. There cannot be physical security without social security. No one can be safe when the majority are hungry. Does theThe moral parlance not say that a hungry person is an angry person?
When we win, Africa will truly take its place in in the world economies and politics. We would not be trash cans again. Rather, Africa will be the ocean wherein the globe drink the water of life!
So, I call on Nigerians to rise. We can do what has not been done before. Just like we did in January 2012, and also at the EndSARS inIn October 2020; we need that massive and collective spirit and actions to vote for a candidate that is far different from those who have destroyed our past. We need a candidate that can build the future. I have spent the adult years of my life not dreaming but actively fighting for real alternative and true changes. I strongly know I am well prepared to lead this necessary movement for total freedom. We are in aA period where we cannot go back again but to take back the country. Nigeria belongs to the peoples. And only a truly caring Nigerian that is deeply engrossed in fighting and building for a new Nigeria can lead this generational advancement.
I appeal to Nigeria workers in all the sectors because a living wage is coming your way. To Nigeria students, because free and qualitative education with bursaries, grants, and scholarships are coming your way. To the unemployed I could only tell you, jobs, jobs, jobs because we shall turn Nigeria into a brand new construction site. To the army of Nigerian youths, we promise you a bright future where you can live your dreams in a decent country you could call your own. To the Nigeria traders and others in the informal sector, we promise an economic system that let you access opportunities like shops, loans with little interest rates. To Nigeria women, first it is equality’ and a system that legitimises your full rights at the work place, hospitals for proper maternal care, and a full healthcare and economic system that guarantee your health and future.
To retirees in Nigeria, let me first apologise to you all for the way you’ve been treated all these years. No country should treat its senior citizens this way. Going forward, your entitlements will be promptly paid and a burdensome economy won’t be waiting to swallow the entitlements. The religious leaders and faithfuls in Nigeria, Nigerians in diaspora, Nigeria parents, Nigerians in struggle for self determination as a result of historial injustices, patriotic men and women in the security services, professionals, the media and all the oppressed people who genuinely are desirous of good things of life, help has arrived.
I am Omoyele Stephen Sowore. I believe in the unity of all oppressed Nigerians. I call on all fighting groups and individuals to be part if this new dawn. It is a revolution that can not be postponed anymore. Our total freedom is no other time but now! A new Nigeria is very possible!!