By Farooq Kperogi
Omoyele Sowore turned 51 yesterday. I want to use the opportunity of this milestone in his life to acknowledge a few things people rarely know about him.
There are many people who take issue with his politics and methods, which is fine, but one thing no one can take away from Sowore is the remarkable depth of his patriotism.
He has had a chance to be an American citizen for nearly two decades, but he turned it down because naturalization requires ceremonially renouncing your former country, which violates his deep emotional investment in Nigeria.
After 5 years of being a Permanent Resident (or Green Card holder)—which Sowore achieved years ago— you’re entitled to apply for a U.S. citizenship. But Sowore has refused to apply.
The senators from New Jersey, where Sowore lived in the U.S., who intervened when he was incarcerated by the Buhari regime in 2019 were disappointed when they found out that he wasn’t (and still isn’t) a U.S. citizen. Had he been a U.S. citizen, he wouldn’t have been standing an intentionally endless trial in Nigeria now.
In spite of this, he still resists being an American citizen, even though Nigeria accepts dual citizenship.
It’s ironic that the Nigerian government, made up of people who would have renounced Nigeria if they had Sowore’s opportunity and who go abroad for all their needs and their kids’ education, revoked all of Sowore’s formal affiliations with Nigeria by illegally deactivating his passport, national identity number, bank verification number, etc. a few weeks ago. I’m glad that the revocation has been reversed.
Sowore is also the most self-actualized discursive democrat I’ve ever known. By that I mean he allows everyone to ventilate all shades of opinions on the platforms that he controls.
In the early years of Sahara Reporters, for instance, the Yar’adua administration budgeted $5 million to take on Sowore.
Multitudes of paid government propagandists would flood the comments section of Sahara Reporters’ new stories with poisonous vituperative darts and malicious falsehoods against his person.
I recall telling him to take down the defamatory falsehoods against him in the comments, but he resisted.
Go to the comments on his personal Facebook page and see the coarse insults, libels, and and viperous gossip that paid trolls routinely fling at him. He sees and reads them but never deletes them.
It takes superhuman tolerance to do that. I, for one, can’t do that. Because of the superabundance of uncouth, ill-bred, headless online trolls on social media, I’ve become the CEO of a flourishing BLOCK industry on Facebook😂.
Sowore is also an equal-opportunity tormentor of people in power and makes no distinctions between people on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, or even age. He’s a quintessential cosmopolitan patriot.
Happy birthday, comrade!
We at MaTaZ ArIsInG join Farooq and all well meaning Nigerians in wishing you a happy birthday Yele
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