Much as I recognize General Muhammadu Buhari as the Field Marshall of the Nigerian War against Corruption and Discipline from his days as a military Head of State for 20 months from 1985, there are other unsung heroes Nigeria must not forget. One of them is the star of this article. He is the young man I am proud to call my boss. He is the CEO and President of the Sahara Media Company of New York. The guy rides the Path train and the New York Subway to work every day from his home in New Jersey like the average school boy in New York. He is one hell of a Chief Executive and an employer with a mission to lead a Movement to clean up Nigeria using his God-given talents to expose every form of malfeasance and wrong doing in a country flowing with milk and honey but run aground by his own leadership and followership.
I served 25 years of my career as an Administrative Officer in the Nigerian Federal Public Service starting from January 3rd, 1968 to September 30 1987. I had 6 years added to my tenure in the Federal Civil Service because my years of teaching at Olofin Grammar School, Idanre, St. Thomas Aquinas College, Akure and Igbobi College, Lagos, were condoned by the stipulations of the Udoji Public Service Report and added to make 25. I checked out of Nigeria to add another 20 years in the job market of the United States with 15 of them in the New York State Public Service where I finally retired on July 31, in 2013.
My new boss and the star of this article was not born when I withdrew my service and retired from the Federal Publicl Service in 1985 only to come back again to the Public Service from 1986 to 1987 as the pioneer Director of Rural Development under the Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructures (DIFFRI) a federal program initiated by Ibrahim Babangida with Air Force Commodore Koiyan as the Chairman.
I served in Ondo State under my good friend late Governor Okhai Mike Akhigbe who finally retired as Rear Admiral and number 2 man in the Supreme Military Council of General Abdulsalam Abubakar who was Head of State and Commander-in Chief for one year up till 1999.
I checked out of Nigeria on September 26, 1987 following the death of my personal hero Obafemi Awolowo whom I served under when I was Secretary to the Special Task Force on Student Financing in Nigeria in 1974 while Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Deputy Chairman of the Federal Executive Council.
I quit Nigeria in large part because the death of Obafemi Awolowo had convinced me that the only man who I believe could rescue Nigeria from total destruction had been snatched away by the cold hands of Death. That was not the only reason.
I was an ideologically driven young man at that point in my life but some of my friends thought I was a flirt and Casanova because of the way I love to dress but I was a tiger in my heart who could die for what I believe in just like few of my personal heroes like late Jaspar Adaka Boro, late Kenule Saro Wiwa both of Rivers State and Aleco Segun Adedipe of Akure who was junior but close to me, and late attorney Gani Fawehinmi of Ondo town. I wanted so much to be a lawyer but I thought I was too old to go back to school for another 5 years of legal studies. I settled for a second Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Social Work at the Yeshiva Jewish University of New York to make the kind of emoluments I needed.
I am retired today but far from tired. I started a new career in Internet journalism and I am today a proud syndicated columnist of Sahara Reporters founded by Omoyele Sowore from Ijaw Apoi in Ondo State and ChatAfrik website started by another charismatic Nigerian named Martin Akindana from Idanre. I called the two young men and one Professor Ozodi Osuji my bosses even though I am old enough to be their father.
I was intrigued in particular by Omoyele Sowore who told me his father was a Palm wine tapper at his village and would have ended up going into the same trade but for the free education program of Obafemi Awolowo which gave him the chance to finish primary and secondary school before gaining admission to the great University of Lagos where he became President of the Student Union in his final year and before he was forced to become a fugitive offender from Nigeria because he was too much of a rebel.
He fled Nigeria and ended up in the United States. By sheer luck or miracle he found his way to Columbia University. He started his career writing his Reports from his dingy and windowless basement apartment in New Jersey. He later moved his office to a small room in Manhattan with a Good Samaritan at the Indian Building a few blocks away from Madison Square Garden in New York.
His Company the Sahara Media Company now occupy half of the 7th Floor in that Building by the special grace of God. Most Mass Communication or Journalism students from his alma mater often come to do their internship or industrial attachment at his Sahara Studio because Columbia recognizes the caliber, the pedigree and the contributions of one of their own in the greatest city and the financial capital of the World.
Omoyele Sowore was born a rebel whose entire life has been devoted to fighting Corruption in Africa but with special emphasis on Nigeria as a leading nation in Africa. “Everything Africa” became our credo clarion call at Sahara Studio because of him. I learn from him that greatness is has more to do with how you want to define yourself and less on your skin color. That Ijaw guy belongs to a different kettle of fish from Goodluck Jonathan, the shooeless Ijaw man from Otuoke who became President by sheer luck and blew it.
The genius of Omoyele Sowore is predicated on his uncanny ability to select those who can best work with him to achieve his ultimate goal. All of his staff are drawn from most regions of Africa including South Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, West Africa and North Africa up to Sudan, Egypt, Libya and Morocco. He brought in a few black and white American talents like Declan Galvin who is Editorial Manager and Lakisha Landrum,a gifted Black American Administrator who supervised and brilliantly managed the Sahara New York team during the Nigerian 2015 elections while Omoyele took charge of our operations in Nigeria from Lagos to Port Harcourt and from Ifite Oraifite to Baga on. Lake Chad.
Many Nigerians often single out individuals like Professor Atathiru Jega and his team at INEC and few other individuals like Asiwaju, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Okoroafor from Imo and Ngige from Anambra and individuals like Nassir El Rufai and Alhaji Lamido Sanusi and several names that time and space will not permit me to mention as the reason it became totally impossible for President Jonathan and his gang to rig the 2015 elections.
Many give some credit to the members of the 4th Estate of the Realm and international Observers and President Obama and David Cameron of Britain and to Nigerians, men and women, who turned out in big numbers to put the Opposition in power in Nigeria for the first time ever in our history.
I don’t care what many of the Monday morning quarterbacks may say. If General Olusegun Obasanjo had sided with the PDP and President Jonathan, the elections would have been rigged by the PDP, and President Jonathan despite of his abysmal record in office, would have been proclaimed the winner based on the formula crafted for President Jonathan by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti.
The hoodlum was the principal architect of the fool-proof rigging that defeated Dr. Fayemi in all of the 16 Local Governments of Ekiti on June 21, 2014 including his own household at Isan near Ilupeju. Ayo Fayose would tell anybody who would listen that Ekiti people loved him so much that Mrs. Fayemi deserted her husband to give her vote to Ayo Fayose. The truth as revealed in the Sagir Koli audio tape was that Ayo Fayose using the Military to his own advantage simply awarded the number of votes he wanted the opposition party to win in each polling booths in all of the 16 Local Governments of Ekiti and he replaced al of the polling agents for all the parties with PDP agents of his own who signed whatever figure was presented to them for their signature once they were paid from the 32 million Dollars set aside for the project.
The local and international observers were fooled to say that the elections were free and fair because nobody complained there was no fight at any polling booth or city center because only vehicles belonging to the PDP sympathizers could move freely The APC leaders who could have complained were all locked up and released only after the election results have been announced. The Police and all Law Enforcement deployed to Ekiti have all been silenced by Ayo Fayose who was Commander-in-Chief for the entire operation.
Jonathan’s plan was to use the Ekiti formula for Osun and Ondo State as a test run for his own election which would have secured all of the three Geo-political zones of the South for President Jonathan. All President Jonathan would have needed to do to retain his job was simply to win just one state from the three zones of the North which would have been very easy to do, given their total control of Law Enforcement and the Military. He was ready to declare a state of Emergency in the North East because of the Boko Haram insurgency and to use the Military to rig the election in one of the remaining 2 Geo-political zones of the North. That should have been a cakewalk by their calculations.
The Fayose contraption won Ekiti arms down, but the plan developed a big “K” leg in Osun and it had to be abandoned altogether in Ondo. That was how Buhari was able to win in Ondo State in the presidential election.
By the time it was time to do the election for the State of Assembly, a week later, Governor Mimiko had recovered from the black eye he suffered from the victory of Buhari in the presidential tally. He, Mimiko, told Jonathan that if he failed to provide sufficient funds to win the National Assembly election in Ondo State, he could forget ever winning the 2015 election. Jonathan not only provided the funds, he provided all the soldiers needed to keep Ondo State in the PDP column by fire and by force in the State of Assembly election the following week because the election was about to mystify and destroy the Mimiko reputation as the strong man of Ondo State Politics. Money changed hands a day before the election. That was how the PDP managed to win the majority in the National Assembly.
It was Omoyele Sowore and his Sahara Reporters in New York that made it impossible for Jonathan to rig the 2015 election in Nigeria. How did he do it? By collating the results of the election in each state of Nigeria using an uncanny investigative journalistic techniques that is second to none in Nigeria.
I would not give you the details about how he did it. Omoyele singlehandedly working in collaboration with his team of ace reporters did the job neat and clear from New York where the Jonathan Government could never reach or disrupt.
Sahara Reporters was the only News Outlet that was able to release election results that tallied with those of the INEC of Nigeria led by Professor Atahiru Jega. Omoyele Sowore infiltrated the Jonathan’s last ditch effort and rear guard action to use former Senator Orubebe to disrupt the final collation of the election results at Abuja with a plan to declare the election as inconclusive and to annul the elections altogether, and declare a state of emergency that would retain the “status quo” in Nigeria and keep Jonathan in office in pretty much the same way that Ibrahim Babangida did when he annulled the M. K.O. Abiola election and nothing happened.
Sowore made that plan impossible to execute by exposing the plan before it gained any traction or credibility and by letting the International community know ahead of time that the whole election plan was a carefully calibrated ruse to keep Jonathan in office by all means.
The mainstream News Media in Nigeria had been bribed to look the other way and to see and hear no evil. But Sowore and his team in New York could never be silenced at all as he used his internet and You Tube and Social Media platforms to reach the whole world at the press of a button at a time that News and Information travel at twice the speed of sound all over the world. The Jonathan Government could not beat tha,t and they threw in the towel in total surrender because Sowore and his Sahara Reporters were just too much for Jonathan and his Government.
President Obama kept on reminding Jonathan on a secured line over the phone that America was following the trend thru the releases from Sahara and that it would be more honorable for him to not play games with the election result. That was the last straw that broke the Camel’s back for Jonathan who thought he could be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Award on the sponsorship of America.
Sowore and Sahara Reporters fished out Captain Sagir Koli from his exile and he agreed to test the validity of his audio tape recorded at the Spotless Hotel of Ayo Fayose in Ado Ekiti. The audio tape revealed in accurate details how the Ekiti election was rigged and it also exposed the principal characters who conspired to do the rigging.
Sowore first of all took the audio tape to a Voice Laboratory in the United States to see whether or not the voices in the audio tape match the voices and decibel of all the criminals that participated in the crime and espionage at Ado Ekiti. Once that was confirmed Sowore released the tape on You Tube for the whole world to see and make their own judgment. Sowore was a one man Battalion in the Nigerian war against Corruption. Believe it or not?
General Muhammadu Buhari who was the first to hear about the audio tape direct from the Horse’s mouth failed to do what Sowore was able to do. The best advice Buhari could offer Sagir Koli was to go talk to his Party’s Chairman. It was a lackluster way for a 4 star General and a former Head of State to handle such an important scoop by a very patriotic military officer who risked his life to record tha audio tape as an intelligence officer. The criminals all said that the meeting did not take place. When that failed they said it was a fake recording. Even President Jonathan initially dismissed the audio tape as totally irrelevant and a nullity.
If Sowore had not acted the way he did, the audio tape would never have seen the light of day. It could predictably have been swept under the carpet and forgotten just like the Panama Report involving some Nigerians are being treated right now by the Buhari Government because of the fear some of his Party men and big Whigs might be implicated.
That is why I continue to feel with some validity that Buhari sometimes appears to me to not have sufficient fire in his belly to lead the war on Corruption like Murtala Mohammed did when he ordered the Government to confiscate a row of 20 houses he had built in Kano with money he illegally acquired in his capacity as a war commander in the Biafran war. He was the Commandant of the Brigade that led to the Abagana Disaster where the Nigerian side lost his greatest number of casualties in the entire war.
Murtala Mohammed blamed himself till his dying days for the tragedy that occurred at Abagana. I knew it because I served under him at the Nigerian Army Headquarters at the Republican building along Marina from January 3 1968 to February 1970 when I got posted out to the Federal Ministry of Education to become the Secretary to the National Council on Education and Secretary to the Ministry of Education Tenders Board under Alhaji Ahmed Joda as my Permanent Secretary.
Everything I am saying here is therefore an eye witness account. I knew Murtala Mohammed like a book. He was the Chairman of the Recruitment Panel for commissioned officers and I was the Secretary to the Panel. Late General Agbazikah innih was Military Secretary and General Ike Nwachukwu was his Deputy as I recall.
Omoyele Sowore was an “Afinju Adaba ti njeun lawujo Asa” meaning “the gutsy dove that confronts the soaring eagles at the dinner table or challenge the eagle to a fight in the Wild. That young man is a lion or a David versus Goliath, if you get my metaphor.
His genius can be inferred from the success of two of the Nigerian stars his Sahara Television Studio has offered to the world of television comedy in the greatest city in the world.
I am talking of Rudolf Okonkwo popularly known as Dr. Njakri Damages and Omidan Adeola Fayeun of “Keeping it Real” These are two weekly comedy shows that have already captured the hearts of television audience around the world while putting the Sahara Television Studio on the world map as we speak. The two shows represent a satire of what is going on in Africa but with special emphasis on Nigeria and its politicians from coast to coast and from sea to shining sea.
The shows have helped Nigerians at home and abroad to understand thru humor what is going on in Africa and in Nigeria without any fear or favor. The rigging of the Ekiti elections in 2014 was reduced into a satire and soap opera by no less a genius than Rudolf Okonkwo who himself played the part of Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh in the drama while Ayan, a former contemporary or class mate of Omoyele Sowore at Unilag played the part of” Oshokomole” Ayo Fayose, while I acted the part of Musiliu Obanikoro, a Minister of State in the Defense Ministry who carried the 32 million Dollars paid out for the rigging by President Jonathan in a bullion vehicle from Abuja to Ado Ekiti under heavy Police and Military escorts.
It was a naked parade of power by the garrulous “Koro” who assured Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh in the audio tape, he alone had the power as minister to promote Aliyu to a 4 star Genera if he was able to successfully carry out the special assignment from the President with clock-like precision.
If the rigging of the Ekiti elections ever go to trial, the video of that audio tape on You Tube would be one of the hard evidences that would be needed to convict the criminals in a split second.
I give all of the credit to Omoyele Sowore,one of the unsung heroes of the War against Corruption in Nigeria. I say that with a high sense of responsibility. Nigeria and the Buhari Government owes the young man a debt of gratitude. The young man deserves a national honor like C.F.R. (Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria)
The sooner the better.
I rest my case.