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Newsbreak: Nigeria’s leading opposition figure, Omoyele Sowore departs for US, says struggle continues

Activist leaves tonight after five years of official trauma, persecution but met with a defiant spirit

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

Nigeria’s most hunted opposition figure, Mr Omoyele Sowore today departs for the United States, (US) where he had lived before coming back to Nigeria with the hope of lifting his country from stunted growth.

Sowore’s past 30 years have been spent risking his life for a better country, a nation that ceaseless taunts and seeks his peril.

Even at his days at the University of Lagos, his destiny for leading the radical transformation of Nigeria already began a step that saw the tyranical military regime made many attempts to kill him.

Most Nigerians following his history would agree that he, perhaps, is the most persistent opposition figure in Nigerian Post 1999 history with unequalled sacrifices including denial of liberty, murder of his sibling and denial access to his immediate family. This is different from the psychological war waged to wear and tear him to shreds. Sowore survived the thorns.

His trial was riddled with inconsistent evidence and a ridiculous pile of defence that soon collapsed in the face of naked truth. It was the first time in Nigerian history that a man was charged for attempting to overthrow a government without one single armed collaborator. Mr Sowore endured the pain and anguish for half a decade with his will left unbroken.

He said in a statement made available to Irohonoodua “Later today I will be returning to the US after almost five years of my unlawful, unjust and inhuman detention by the corrupt Nigerian political system since August 2019.”

Not only was Sowore detained and charged for phantom treason, his sibling was murdered in suspicious circumstances. But his will remained cast in iron.

He said “I was arrested, assaulted, tortured and detained for demanding that Nigerians deserved a nation that they can truly call their own. I was charged with treason – and after five years the APC government was forced to withdraw its trumped -up charges against me,” defiant Sowore said.

He said if the government thought that keeping him detained, and later restricting his movement would break his spirit, and cause him to renounce his commitment to fighting for the downtrodden Nigerian people, they were mistaken.

‘In the last five years, I have been denied the ability to visit my family, missing out on precious moments with my darling wife and wonderful children. I lost my brother to gunmen on Nigeria’s roads. My mother’s health deteriorated, due to the emotional toll of the government’s unrelenting assault on my person. My associates have faced arrest, and some imprisonment”, Mr Sowore recalled.

He spoke further “I stand today to declare that I am unbowed. My commitment to Nigeria is unshakable. My resolve to continue to fight for the betterment of the Nigerian nation and to demand accountability from her leaders will never be compromised.”

He said everything he said five years ago about the need for a radical restructuring of the Nigerian nation and the need for a revolution in approach to politics and governance has come to pass.

“Corruption remains high and Nigerians are worse off today than they were five years ago. Inflation is making it difficult for people to put food on the table. Nigeria’s currency has been devalued by almost 100%.

“I am under no illusions about what the future holds. I commuted myself to the mission of helping to create a Nigeria that fulfills its promise and realizes its potential, over 30 years ago. I have suffered greatly for that commitment. My family, colleagues, and associates who have stood by me throughout this journey have endured great pain and privations as well.”

He said for those who wonder what his next steps will be – “I say this: I believe now, as I did over 30 years ago when I began this journey, that the vision of creating a just and egalitarian society must be established during my lifetime.”

He continued “My trip today to reunite with my children and courageous and supportive wife is only for a short while. I will return to Nigeria to continue my struggle for the total liberation of our people from the shackles of the current corrupt, self serving political class. I will also be returning to face headlong, the remaining truckload of bogus criminal and civil cases that have been thrown at me since my detention in 2019.”

He used the opportunity to thank his family, lawyers particularly Femi Falana SAN, colleagues, and fellow revolutionaries at home and abroad who have stood firmly by my side, against all odds.

“Nigeria will be free. Nigerians will see a nation that is free of corruption, that has leaders whose only interest is in uplifting the people and creating an environment where our people can realize their potential.”

Sowore said he remains committed to this ideal.

“It is a commitment that I have dedicated my life to, and my resolve to stay the path and keep on with the fight remains strong!


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