MAN OF THE YEAR 2015!
If I had the chance to pick a Man of the Year, guess who that man would be! An overwhelming majority of our compatriots will no doubt, readily pick on President Muhammadu Buhari. Rightly so too. He moved a lot and captured the headlines tremendously in the wake of electioneering. We paid him his dues by voting him in.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan also qualifies as Man of the Year 2015. He shaped the destiny of Nigeria for a reasonable part of 2015. He still captures the headlines and will continue to do so in the weeks, months and years ahead with a chain of negative publicity. Indeed, the question of what to do with President Goodluck Jonathan will split Nigeria basically along an ethnic/beneficiary line of loyalty. He will definitely attract a lot of public attention in the future either through unguarded utterances when his friends and aides erroneously press him to come out and take a stand on matters affecting him or through infuriating revelations that will continue to keep him negatively relevant.
My man of the year, however, would be neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor President Goodluck Jonathan. My man of the year would be Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters. Beyond the fold of politicians. Omoyele Sowore is most qualified for such a selection for positive as well as for negative reasons. Even though I personally subscribe to the positive reasons that I will elaborate below, we can, however, not ignore the arguments of his adversaries, who qualify him with disparaging and despicable attributes.
Like him or hate him, this young man has done quite a lot to impact political Nigeria. His flagship handwork Sahara Reporters, which started off like an enigma in its infancy, has today, metamorphosed into a whistle-blowing institution. It was an enigma in the early days because many observers could not stop wondering, how he managed the unimaginable feat of regularly accessing inaccessible information and documents affecting Nigerians making the headlines – be they at home, in England or in the USA. At a point, many believed some spectacular stories were partly figments of his imaginations. They suspected a pattern of spicing and sexing-up vital information, which he may have obtained only in fragments. However, his performance during the last general elections in Nigeria seems to have put paid to all the speculations.
Like me, he was a staunch critic of the immediate past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. If any blogger or Internet activist was a high-risk personality in the eyes of the Jonathan administration, it was Omoyele Sowore. It is therefore a mystery, how he defied all odds, to have entered Nigeria at the peak of electioneering when votes were being counted. It is the worst period any political high-risk personality will choose to visit Nigeria in view of the huge number of assassins and mobs on the prowl. Initially in hiding and not eager to give away his location, he managed the feat of accessing returning officers or whoever they may have been, who provided him authentic, yet-to-be-declared results of almost all elections – Presidential and Gubernatorial. The accuracy of these results that were posted on Sahara Reporters and simply needed to be monitored by readers and viewers of live-stream transmissions left no one in any more doubt that he works with very credible and authentic insider sources in the information he reveals.
Omoyele Sowore’s pre-emptive publications rendered rigging very difficult. After all, INEC officials seeing the same result out there as they have in their hands would simply have gotten the jitters. No one knows the source. Manipulations of any sort could also end up being revealed through the same channel. This is an achievement that is worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize if I am allowed to exaggerate.
On the negative side, I was one of the staunchest critics of Omoyele Sowore in the early days of Sahara Reporters. Watching him in interviews, you’d know straight off that the young man was not a trained or professional journalist. He made so many direct comments, assessments and assertions that the professional analyst would ordinarily have attributed to “School of thoughts”, “Observers”, “Commentators”, “Angry voices” etc. I often accused him of pretending to be what he wasn’t – a Journalist – until I found out that he even detests being referred to as a journalist. In spite of all that, though, his records as a “Journalistic Activist” do speak for themselves. His achievements so far, are unrivaled by even the best of professionals in the domestic scene.
Today, his adversaries accuse him of being an APC sell-out. They base their arguments on the fact that Sahara Reporters hardly sees anything good in the PDP and on the contrary, often sees everything good in APC. The objective fact of publications in Sahara Reporters since the dawn of electioneering to oust Goodluck Jonathan seems to prove them right. Indeed, I, Frisky Larrimore, am also guilty of the same offense. That makes me able to empathize and understand the mindset of Omoyele Sowore.
Indeed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to sympathize with the PDP as was represented by President Goodluck Jonathan and his flock of sycophants. Unless we chose to pretend or be swayed by cynical and primitive sentiments, we were all privy to the merciless looting of our commonwealth under Goodluck Jonathan. We all saw him repeatedly making a chain of wrong choices under the guidance and counsel of putative able and capable brains such as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala or Reuben Abati. There is absolutely no way any right-thinking person would have seen all these and more so, with the close proximity of inside information available to Sowore and still be sympathetic towards Jonathan’s PDP.
Even if Omoyele Sowore was or has been compromised by the APC, the end, as they say, justifies the means. Today, his activism has also invaluably contributed to the election of a more transparent or “brainless” government as the social media critics prefer to say. The present “brainless” government of President Muhammadu Buhari has just presented Nigerians with a very well crafted budgetary blueprint for the year 2016 and the overwhelming majority of Nigerians is full of hopes in the new dawn of accountability. A new dawn, in which the President or any of his aides does not repeatedly tell Nigerians that the President did not create Nigeria’s problems.
If Omoyele Sowore was compromised to toe this path, it is still a novelty in the history of Nigeria to be smeared for a positive cause. Whichever way I view it, Omoyele Sowore is my Man of the Year 2015!