Promoting Good Governance.

Sowore: What experience did Mandela have when he became president of South Africa?

Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, says the woes of Nigeria over the years were caused by the so-called “experienced” politicians, hence the need for the country to try something new.

Sowore, who has declared his intention to run for president in 2019, said this during an interview with TheCable, stressing that leaders who went on to achieve great success in office were all termed “inexperienced”.

“No one has the experience to be President until you become President. Even then, since 1999, we have been ruled by two former heads of state – Obasanjo and Buhari. What did Nigeria gain from their so-called experience?” Sowore queried.

“Our current President rode to power largely based on the premise that he would use his previous experience as a head of state and a military general to fight corruption and defeat Boko Haram.

“Corruption has grown worse. Now even snakes and monkeys have joined our peculiar political class as looters of public funds. Just a few weeks ago, Boko Haram captured over 100 girls from Dapchi in Yobe State, President Buhari’s government acted almost exactly.

“On the other hand, what experience did Mandela have when he became South Africa’s President? He had just spent the previous 27 years in prison,” Sowore continued.

“What previous experience did Obama have in running a country before he became President? His critics laughed at his credentials as a community organizer. And as you might recall by the time he started running for the presidency, he had only been a senator for about a year.”

Sowore added that he had no prior experience as a journalist or a media personnel, and had never been an IT person when he founded Sahara Reporters, which is now one of, if not the biggest, of Nigeria’s online news platforms.

“In 2006, I decided that the best way to advance that cause was to create a platform that would fearlessly and courageously expose bad governance and corruption.  I wasn’t even a journalist,” he said.

“I had no experience in journalism and trust me, I was ridiculed and derided by ‘professionals’ even though they fed fat on our brand of journalism. I had never built a website. I had no experience in media. But I had a clear vision and a dream.

“Fast forward 12 years later and Sahara Reporters has become a globally acclaimed media platform. We are the global pioneers of our unique brand of citizen journalism.

“Sahara Reporters is now a full-fledged media enterprise. We have helped sustain democracy not just in Nigeria but across the African continent in nations like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ghana and the Gambia.”

Sowore, 47, said having spent almost 30 years of his life as an activist, he believes he is prepared to face and surmount the challenges of nation-building.

But to people who believe leadership at the national level is more than activism, Sowore said: “I will point them to two activists who, just in the last 25 years, have demonstrated this fact for all the world to see: Mandela in South Africa and Obama in America.

“Compare their track records to their so-called non-activist peers in Nigeria. Can you compare Mandela or Obama to Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan or Buhari? Of course not!

“Activism is merely a commitment to good governance and a fearless dedication to holding leadership accountable. A committed activist will bring to governance the same commitment and dedication with which they drove governments to be more responsible.

“This is my life’s work. And in seeking the presidency, I am simply seeking a bigger and more effective platform to implement my vision for Nigeria.”

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