Every Nigerian has the legitimate and constitutional right to protest and demonstrate peacefully in a democracy. It is NOT an act of treason to march against the President and to protest about the insecurity in the country.
The publisher of Saharareporters and a presidential candidate in the just- concluded presidential elections, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, expressed his desire to demonstrate peacefully against you (President Muhammadu Buhari) and your Government.
He chose to call his protest a “revolution” in order to emphasize his zeal and the importance of the event.
He has no arms, he has not threatened to conduct an armed struggle or engage in an armed insurrection or to kill anyone so this can only be a “revolution” in name and by words.
Yet such was the cowardice and timidity of our Government and so fearful of their own shadow were they that they stormed his home in the middle of the night, arrested him and threatened to charge him and his supporters with treason if the demonstration held.
Meanwhile various murderous northern supremacist and hardline extremist groups, all armed and “fully loaded”, have stated their intention to kill every southerner in the north unless and until RUGA is accepted and implemented in the south.
They are filled with hate, they have arms, they are racists, they are ethnic supremacists, they have a publicly-stated murderous intent and they have already killed many in the south, the Middle Belt and even in the north itself yet the Government did not see fit to arrest even one of them or declare them as terrorist.
It is those that do not kill, that do not have arms and that do not threaten to kill that President Buhari’s Government has threatened with treason and to detain, jail, kill and call terrorists like IPOB, IMN, the civil rights groups, activists and members of the official opposition.
I am constrained to ask the Buhari Government, why are you, such cowards? Why do you always target those that cannot fight back, that do not kill, that do not threaten the peace and that do not carry arms?
The only thing they have are their words, their feet, their hands, their pen and the courage of their convictions yet you are so intimidated by them and so frightened of them simply because you cannot bear to be exposed for what you are.
You silenced and clamped down on the official opposition, on IPOB, on IMN and on all the civil rights groups but you bow and tremble before the Fulani herdsmen and covertly protect and support them whilst you pamper Boko Haram, secretly empower them and fight against them with kid gloves.
You do not even honor our gallant soldiers that fought Boko Haram in battle but instead you bury them like stray dogs in unmarked mass graves after they are killed on the frontline!
Meanwhile, your military commanders are openly telling Boko Haram fighters that if they put down their arms they can end up being President of Nigeria! That is the pitiful level that you have dragged your nation and the Nigerian military to.
I must ask you: why this glaring double standard? Why are you such bullies and why are you so hell-bent on dividing and destroying Nigeria?
I guess that you have already achieved that objective because I doubt that our country can ever be the same again but yet you are still not satisfied. You want to do more!
You want even more turmoil, strife, division, violence, mayhem, confusion, slaughter, carnage and conflict and you are trying desperately to provoke a violent reaction from your targetted victims and those that you secretly hate and despise.
Mr. President, this is unacceptable.
I warned the country about you before and during the presidential election in 2015 but they would not listen.
People like President Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Professor Wole Soyinka, Sheik Ibrahim El Zak Zaky, Mr. Omoyele Sowore, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Senator Bukola Saraki, Mrs. Oby Ezekwezile, Mr. Femi Falana SAN, Chief Dele Momodu and many others supported you then but I, by divine insight and prophetic perception, saw through you, knew what you stood for, knew what you planned to do and knew what you represented.
So did my friends and brothers Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Governor Ayodele Fayose, Lt. Colonel Abubakar ‘Dangiwa’ Umar (rtd), Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, Mr. Yemi Adebowale, Mr. Shaka Momodu and a few of our fathers in the Lord like Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Prophet T.B. Joshua, Apostle Samson Suleman and a number of others.
Even the leadership of the PDP at the time and top members of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, with the possible exception of Prince Deji Adeyanju and Pastor Reno Omokri, did not see you for what you were at that time but now they all do.
The bad news is that you are going to plunge Nigeria into a major crisis and conflict and a terrible, protracted and bitter civil war which most do not see coming and which no-one wants or prays for but which will come if you do not change your ways or if you are not stopped.
This is very sad. It is a great tragedy yet that is precisely what you are toying with. Bloodshed, the suffering of others and turmoil brings some of your supporters pleasure and joy but permit me to tell you this: warmongers, bloodthirsty and blood-lusting sadists and evil men never end well.
This matter and this story will not end the way you want or expect it to. Your power is not divine: it is temporal and temporary. Others have come and gone before you and you will go in the same way as them: in God’s way and in God’s time.
We are not violent and lawless revolutionaries or irresponsible and reckless anarchists and neither do we believe in doing anything outside the constitution or the law.
We are committed democrats and great believers in the rule of law, the constitution and the democratic process.
We are also believers in the power and efficacy of the Lord of Hosts, the Alpha and the Omega and the Ancient of Days and we know that sooner or later, no matter how long it takes, He will honor His word and make all things beautiful in our country.
In the end, the forces of light and the children of God will prevail against your great wickedness, unconscionable malevolence and evil plan to destroy Nigeria and throw our people into a cauldron of raging fire.
You can lock us all up and torment us for as long as you want. In the end you shall fail, you shall fall, you shall be ashamed and God’s counsel alone shall stand.
Those of us that oppose you from the heart, spirit and soul have lost all sense of fear. We will stand against you until the end of time. We will sacrifice all, including our very lives, if that is what is required for us to break our chains of servitude and slavery and win our freedom.
Our message to you is simple and clear: do your worst because we expect no less. God gives and God takes, blessed be the name of the Lord.
Permit me to conclude this contribution with the following.
It was brought to my attention that my friend and brother Governor Nyesome Wike of Rivers state condemned the planned demonstration and put the security agencies on full alert to arrest anyone that dared to come out to protest in his state.
With the greatest respect to my brother I believe this was wrong and that it was a mistake. He and I both know that Sowore does not have the intention or the capacity to effect a violent revolution and that the planned protest would only have been a revolution in name.
It would have been a harmless exercise, with relatively small numbers and an opportunity for the acivists that often collaborate with Sowore to come out and express themselves.
It would have begun and ended there wthout much drama and rather like the harmless protests about the Chibok girls at Unity Fountain in Abuja. There is not a hope in hell that it would have turned into a violent attempt to overthrow the Government and, as far as I am aware, neither was that ever the intention.
I suspect that the reason Wike has taken the position that he has taken and the reason that so many other leading figures in the official opposition PDP have taken a cue from him and distanced themselves from the protest is because of their personal dislike and disdain for Sowore who really has very few friends in the political class or in the ranks of the official opposition party.
Yet I believe that those that have fallen into the trap of not standing by Sowore or speaking up for him when they know that he is being treated unjustly, his rights are being violated and he is suffering persecution are being shortsighted and naive.
In a time of crisis and especially when we are contending with a dangerous and merciless despot we all need each other regardless of how we feel about one another or whatever contentious issues, conflicts, disagreements and fights we may have had in the past. That is common sense!
In a time of war my enemie’s enemy, out of expediency, necessity and good old-fashioned pragmatism, automatically becomes my friend.
Failing to grasp that point and holding on to it could prove to be fatal to our collective cause and objective. No man can take on Government on his own: we all need each other.
Permit me to go further. If anyone should have an axe to grind with Omoyele Sowore that person is me.
He has never been my friend, I have never met him and I have never liked him.
He has offended me on many ocassions and he has also offended many of my closest friends, political associates, family members and relatives.
Worse still his website, Saharareporters, which has a massive reach all over the world, has slandered, libelled, villified and defamed me and mine more than any other media outlet in the world and has consistently done so since 2005!
There is no love lost between us but that does not mean that I will remain silent, sit back and gloat when his rights are being violated or when he is suffering persecution from a Government that can, at best, be described as paranoid, vicious, cruel, desperate, mendacious, relentless and dangerous and, at worst, genocidal, murderous and evil.
When I was detained in a specially built Boko Haram terrorist facility (which only had Boko Haram suspects and convicts in it) at Kuje prison in 2016 and my life was purposely put in danger , Sowore, his Saharareporters and some of his colleagues and activist friends made mockery of me.
I was reliably informed that some of them were hoping and praying that I would be killed or maimed by the terrorists whilst I was there.
I have little doubt that that was Buhari’s intention and desire as well and it would have surely come to pass had the Lord not been with me.
Yet I will not repay Sowore in the same coin. Only fools mock others when they are going through hard times, challenges, difficulties and travails and this is especially so when they are going through those travails and hard times for a noble and worthy cause.
It is enough vindication that the same people that he was once in bed with, that he once collaborated with, that he helped bring to power and that he once wined and dined with are now humiliating, demonising and terrorising him too.
The same people that have continously insulted, persecuted, villified, demonised and denigrated me and mine for the last four years are now persecuting him as well.
To hear about him being roughed up, dragged out of his home, arrested in the middle of the night and detained by the DSS and to hear that there is a possibility that he may be faced with a charge of treason or treasonable felony for doing no wrong does not give me joy.
Instead it saddens me and confirms my greatest fear that the Buhari administration has lost its marbles, gone totally insane and is capable of doing absolutely anything to those that it perceives and it regards as being its critics, its adversaries and its enemies.
It is Sowore today but it could be anyone else tomorrow. And neither do you have to break the law or do anything wrong before they come for you.
As one of my tormentors and jailers eagerly and gladly told me when I was in detention for three months in 2016, he said,
“We know you have done nothing wrong but we can keep you here for as long as we like and charge you to court for breathing air if we choose. Whatever it is you will spend the next few years trying to clear your name even though you have done nothing wrong”.
He concluded by saying,
“We are here to torment you and that is what we are going to do. In case you make it out of here alive and you are still whole, if you like keep criticising and abusing Buhari: we will bring you back and teach you the lesson of your life!”
That is the deplorable and degenerate mindset of our collective oppressors and that is why it is important for us all to stand up and speak up for one another in trying times, whether we like each other or not.
There is nothing illegal in conducting a peaceful protest, even if you choose to call it a revolution for the purposes of theater and drama. You don’t plan a revolution and an armed insurrection and sleep in your home!
As long as it is only a demonstration and nothing more there is absolutely no reason why the Buhari Government should behave like the bunch of cowardly, paranoid, lily-livered and vicious Nazis that we know them to be.
By arresting and detaining him they have only made Sowore more relevant and more popular. If that were not the case I would not be moved and honored to lend my humble voice to his cause and to join millions of others from all over the world to call for his immediate release.
He is not my friend and I do not like him yet on this matter I stand shoulder to shoulder with him.
May God guide and protect him and may he be returned to the land of the living at the soonest.
–Fani-Kayode is former Aviation Minister, writes from Lagos.