When the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra Nnamdi Kanu called Nigeria a “Zoo” Republic, many threatened fire and brimstone, however, the ugly experience that each new day spews on our face has in no way extricated Nigeria from the condescending tag, for just when we thought we have seen it all, a new set of abnormalities flush us deeper into the cesspool. What better name do we give Nigeria?
The ongoing court trial of Omoyele Sowore, a New-York based Nigeria journalist and prominent activist, has taken a bizarre and worrying turn and added to a growing concern that Africa’s largest democracy is slowly becoming intolerant of political dissent and defaults to tightening press freedom when it is under pressure.
Sowore, who ran against President Muhammadu Buhari in February’s election, was first arrested in 3rd August, 2019, and had pleaded not guilty to charges of treason, money laundering and harassing of the president. Despite a judge granting him bail in October with the case ongoing, he has been kept in DSS custody until his initial release on Thursday 5th of December ahead of a court hearing on Friday 6th of December. But the activist was re-arrested by State Security Officials on Friday after the hearing, screaming and shouting as he was dragged away.
To be fair to history, it must be recalled that July12, 2014, in an interview with Premium Times, Sowore had termed the then Jonathan’s administration the worst Government in his life time. Worst in terms of delivery of services, in terms of organization, style of governance, transparency, economic management and of course security.
In spite of all these vitriolic outbursts, he had gone home unscathed. Does this in anyway justify the corruption that was bred in Jonathan’s administration? No! It rather points to what an inane charade that democracy has become in Nigeria.
Sowore’s case and many more, point to an urgent need of revisiting the tenets of democracy and what it should stand for us. The present administration, if truth be told is a far cry from what democracy should be. Evident is its fists that seem perpetually raised to pummel down dissenting voices in its flagrant disregard of the rule of law and many more, which left most Nigerians bruised, because their basic human rights have become only ideas, never to be practiced.
Nigeria has become our home and nothing can change that, but for her to remain a home, she must enable an atmosphere that makes one feel at home. For the faith of the masses to be restored, they have to feel they are heard and that they matter, that their voices bring change; that the government is for them. If not, then probably, we should look for a name to give the present charade we are enmeshed in, for this, in all honesty is not democrac