Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, has described revolution as the only solution to the challenges confronting the country.
In an interview with Toyin Falola on Sunday, the activist said his 30 years’ experience of actively participating in Nigeria’s socio-political landscape showed that only revolution can change the narrative.
He said: “I have looked at Nigeria’s 60 years of existence and participated actively for 30 years in the life span of Nigeria having started around 1989 as a student of the University of Lagos. All these years have convinced me that nothing at the level of reforms, superficial interventions that are very conventional can change the trajectory of the country except we drop everything we’ve been doing, which is wrong and we know it and turn around and clean the ugly staple called Nigeria and create brand new systems established by brand new people.
“We should create brand new ideas, but there is no way it would be possible to have an omelette without breaking an egg as far as the Nigerian situation is concerned. I came to that conclusion in 2019.
“I came to the understanding that there is no Nigerian state, it is just an element of rogue elements, rogue society, rogue organisation; it is a collection of organised criminals who are running the country to their advantage, using proxies, army, agencies and sometimes, just hypnotising people.
“It is rooted in research that if six percent of the population of any country can convince themselves that there is a need for a radical change, that change can happen. It is never necessary to have every man of God or military general interested in changing Nigeria because these guys are never going to let Nigeria change.
“It just requires some six percent of frustrated Nigerians; some very enlightened, critical mass coming together and willing to take the risk of taking actions and not taking actions. To put ideas together and make the revolution start from the head, make it happen by putting boots on the ground.
“Having read, studied, and seen practical examples of these happen, it would interest you to know that the world has experienced more revolutions in the last 20 years than it ever did since revolution started in the 16th century.
“What does that teach you? The world is changing before us but we weren’t taking note of these changes. Sometimes people think a revolution just happens and they announce themselves. The problem which is the question we probably haven’t gotten to is what is there in having a revolution that helps you manage the expectations of those who should have the revolution.”
Buttressing his point, Sowore said the #EndSARS was an indication that some Nigerians are gradually coming to terms with the reality that only radical demonstrations can birth a new change in the country.
He added: “#EndSARS is an example of the six percent I’m talking about. Yes, there was no participation in Kaduna or Sokoto but it was being embraced already after it got to the second stage and places like Jos had one of the biggest civil uprisings during #EndSARS. And Muslims and Christians came together to share what belonged to them, which is what you now know as palliatives and there were no disagreements, ethnicity, or anything. They didn’t need to pray, they didn’t need to speak any language, they went after something –the palliatives– but in the case of revolution, it would be emancipation.
“When people hear about revolution, they only reach the sanitised version of the end product. People didn’t know the French revolution lasted more than 10 years before it became well known and well studied and some of the people who participated in the revolution carried out a red campaign in which they exterminated themselves.
“The Cuba revolution didn’t happen in 2 weeks. It happened over a long period of time. But here, people want the revolution to happen just now. If it is not happening in two weeks… the tricky part of revolution people don’t know is that the masses make a revolution happen and the moment it happens, the masses go back to where they were.
“Nigeria is capable of meeting all these conditions and a taste of it for me was #EndSARS.
“Revolution will make itself clear when it is successful, it will target the oppressive class, the liars, gerrymanders, the loan sharks, and even landlords; that’s how far it will go.
“It will get to a point where people will stop going to the churches they were going before the revolution. They will realise that some of these churches and mosques were actually part of the organised gang-up that had withheld their emancipation all these years.
“In terms of the outcome, it is to bring about a new social order, political order, financial order; an order that is egalitarian. When you use the word ‘egalitarian’, people laugh at you because it is like some bogus word for motivational speeches.
“I think we have a concept of what Nigeria should be, I used to have a small team of people around me who believed that we could use the internet to spark an internal uprising in Nigeria while we were abroad. The context that was behind our writings in those days was to get people to say ‘look, enough is enough’ but unfortunately, we didn’t achieve that because it needed to go to the next stage and that was taking the necessary risk of leaving whatever behind and taking a dive into the mud, which is Nigeria… At the end of the day, my job might just be to make it happen and watch someone else do it.”
Sowore said while many Nigerians understand what it takes to fix the country, the majority have demonstrated the needed commitment to make it a reality.
“I think we have an idea of what we want Nigeria to be, what we haven’t been able to make clear is the level of commitment people are willing to put into this,” he said.
“We are at that stage of revolutionary confusion where people don’t even know if the solutions presented to them are fit for their future but I think generally we have enough people who have resources to determine the future that we need.
“The resources that we don’t have enough of, are the courageous men and women who are willing. I would admit that that’s still lacking. As soon as we have the number, I’d guarantee you that the rest is settled.”