The arrest of the RevolutionNow protest leader Hon. Omoyele Sowore showed the country decelerating democracy, at the very core of democracy is the freedom of speech and expression, the right to peaceful protest or disobedience. The right to say what we think, what we feel without the fear of retribution.
These rights have been ignored as well as threatened by power-hungry leaders who are willing to silence critics by any means. Nigeria exists to serve Nigerians not microscopic few at the helm of affairs, one can boldly say that the country has never had true democracy ever since its inception. The will of the Nigerian people has never materialized since the country’s independence. Autocracy is always the order of doing business by the Nigerian government.
President Muhammadu Buhari rose to power in the 2015 general election largely on his anti-corruption stance and the people’s disappointment with former president Goodluck E. Jonathan’s government. Buhari was the messiah the country so desperately wanted to elect, they got their wish when he resoundingly defeated the incumbent at the time, during his first term as president of Nigeria, Buhari’s performance reflected poorly on some of his supporters who criticized him for being incompetent to tackle some of the nation’s pressing issues such as the economy and domestic terrorism. In spite of the dissatisfaction with his policies and approval by some of his supporters, he won re-election in an election fraught with irregularities from the ruling and opposition parties.
President Buhari has always been in favour of authoritarianism, he has assaulted democratic norms in alarming ways, with little appetite for criticism, he seems not to understand the ideals of leadership under democratic governance. I am surprised that the country has withstood his whiplashes up to this point. It is true that the country voted him as president due to some of these tendencies and partly because the people expect him to use his authoritarianism to stem corruption in the country but there is little to show for this in his list of accomplishments. Corruption has intensified ever since he came into office, members of his party are flagrantly displaying public looting without consequences and his anti-corruption stance has dwindled to the point that it has become a laughing stock.
The dysfunction that has engulfed the country has led a former presidential candidate and a human right activist to express his displeasures with the state of the country and has called for a RevolutionNow mantra. Some of the president’s supporters have likened this slogan to meet the high bar for a treasonous crime, such label is also antithetical to freedoms enshrined in our constitution. This should not come as a surprise, the people in the president power circle and ombudsmen are using the military to threaten journalists or even attempting to shut down news outlet critical of his administration wrongdoings.
The burning question is how did we get here? we should stand by courageous Nigerians who are demanding the unconditional release of Omoyele Sowore!!!!!!. If we don’t resist this military-style crackdown, we risk putting our God-given liberty in the hands of a hitman.