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'I can't be part of a mega fraud' — Sowore declines alliance with Atiku, Obi, others

Sowore told Pulse Nigeria that he does not crave Peter Obi's supporters and does not wish to be packaged into what he is not.

Atiku Abubakar, Omoyele Sowore and Peter Obi. [Getty Images]

In a deeply insightful interview with Pulse Nigeria, the publisher of the online news agency Sahara Reporters unveiled shocking truths about Nigeria’s ruling class and their relentless efforts to undermine the goodwill of other genuine candidates in their unquenchable thirst for power.

In this exclusive sit-down with Sowore, the activist revealed controversies surrounding top political figures like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku, Obi, and others.

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I have been very clear about it. There are no two definitions of revolution. A revolution is an event or a series of events that put an end to a system of oppression.

So, our revolution is the same revolution that's happened elsewhere where people rise up and say enough is enough. They want to move in a different direction; they want a different trajectory in governance, and the only difference in our case is that we did not organise a revolution that will be bloody.

We wanted it to be by civil means and that is the only difference. Even when I was arrested, detained and interrogated about my intentions. I made it very clear that the revolution I want is the one that puts an end to all this nonsense. So that there can be a different or brand new political order that shifts power from those who are robbing the people who deserve great governance and a better life in this country. That's what revolution is everywhere. And that's one I still preach to date. I just said RevolutionNow because I want it to happen now.

I’m one of the first partisan politicians who has put his ideology in writing, and I have a website and social media handles where I espouse this ideology. I speak openly on YouTube videos explaining where I stand, and they are not in any way related to APC or PDP.

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When the other political candidates were scrabbling to remove fuel subsidies, I was opposed to it and to increment in tariffs

I support the minimum wage, but I call it a living wage. In 2018, I said it was ₦100,000, and people were mocking me, and now I've been vindicated. So, I'm blatantly welfarist. I support the welfare of the public, the Nigerian people, from the standpoint of a socialist democrat. So I lean towards socialism, that whatever is the people's wealth should go directly to them.

What is driving the narrative you just presented is that the young people in Nigeria don't have the kind of ambition young people in Senegal have.

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Young people in Nigeria want to become PAs, personal assistants, and special advisers. That is their goal. I don't have that goal. I have a goal to liberate the country. I understand everything that needs to be done to make Nigeria right.

So, I cannot compete with people who have an inferiority complex, who don't believe that they are good enough to be president.

They sent people to the Senate in the last elections. What have their senators done apart from collecting the SUVs? Are you getting my point? So, it is an argument that is moot. It doesn't make sense because we have been reminded in Sierra Leone again that you don't have to be a governor to be president. We were reminded in the US that Donald Trump (not my favourite person ever) wasn't a senator before he became the president. He wasn't the governor of any state. He never handled any local government before.

So, countries that are looking for leaders that will liberate them don't make such comments. They look for people with character, competence, exposure, education, and the will to lead them.

So, they're not looking for the experience that put you where you are today. If experience were to count, then the most experienced politicians in Nigeria would be Obasanjo and Buhari. What did their experience help you with?

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But guess what? The same people making this argument will be happy to embrace anybody with no experience who wins an election in another country.

Like in Ukraine where a comedian is their president. The president of France was in his 30s when he became president. So they go all out to push the narrative that suits their own limitations, and they can’t stand people like us who don't think in terms of limitations; we think in terms of progress.

I no longer think Nigeria's situation can be cured with reforms. That's why I'm an advocate of a revolution. Because I don't see how you will change the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop rigging elections as long as they are controlled by whoever is in power.

And it appears to be the same case with state electoral commissions, where whoever is in power in a state automatically wins all the local government elections or whatever election is conducted by them.

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But I guarantee you that if we had a foolproof election system, which could be electronic in nature and with digital signatures confirming one man, one vote, these things would not happen. A lot of people would be able to vote according to their conscience, and this should include the diaspora. About six million people outside of Nigeria are eligible to vote if they're allowed to vote. That also will change the game for the electoral system, but I can't be sitting here telling you that a reform will happen.

These people will never do any reform that would translate to them losing power.

I've only contested elections twice, that was in 2019 and 2023 and I explained to you from the beginning of this interview that the odds are against us in 2027.

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Coming to become a candidate six days before the election. I was restricted to Abuja for most of the periods of the 2023 election itself, so I couldn’t campaign.

Is it true that I don't believe in our electoral system as it is presently composed? Yes, I don't. But by contesting this election, we are also throwing up the contradictions in the electoral system so that you would understand why we said to you the elections can't cure Nigeria's governance issues, you will understand why we say so.

I'm sure you guys know we don't hold elections in Nigeria; we hold a selection process.

And we're not going to change the country without people taking the next step further by saying, “Look, we know how the system works, and we're going to defeat it.” And that's where my own revolutionary idea starts.

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Well, my allies are the oppressed people of Nigeria. If you are asking me if I have any governor or any so-called political giants anywhere, I don't. I don't associate with them, I have said repeatedly that I've never entered a governor's office before, and I've never been to Aso Rock in my life.

I don't believe in them, I counter that system of patronage; the preventative system is what I'm against. I have allies in the North, but they're the ordinary people; they are the oppressed; they are the people we came into this game for because we want to change the game for them so they can change their political and economic conditions.

I have never met any political person who is there in the North or using the North as another pawn to feather their nest.

But, I think I'm one of the few politicians of my time who has travelled deeper in the North than anybody else. I’ve travelled by road to all the northern states except Borno and Yobe.

Some of them have been twice by motorbike. I've entered farms, I've entered irrigations, I've entered the rivers, I've entered streams. I've met them in their sharks and been on their schools' campuses. I've been to their mosques. I've been everywhere in the North, and the same applies to the South.

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So, I know the problems and that northerners are not happy with their socio-political conditions. Contrary to the impression that is given that northerners are fine and they are happy with their leaders, they are not!

They, too, are looking for a way out of the situation that their leaders have put them, especially the politicians we are talking about.

There's a difference between building schools to fulfil contractual obligations to political patrons and developing educational systems at the grassroots so that everybody can benefit from them. What Jonathan tried to build were school buildings and not an education system.

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An education system is one in which you have instructional materials and teachers ready to go out there. Even if people are sitting on the floor, they are ready to teach them. They have the needed materials, the needed motivation, and remuneration to do it.

And now technology has made it easier for you to teach people, to send people to school without a block of classes.

You can use the same television upon which you have watched the Nations Cup to teach students. If we put the appropriate technological infrastructure in place, students in the North can go to school with students in the South.

That is what I'm going to do. I will focus on school buildings, but I want to focus on education and make it available in whatever quality, quantity, and formats that can reach everybody, as is done in this modern time and era.

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I wish your questions were tailored towards what is true alone and not a part of Peter Obi. What is true is that I have a general disdain for the dishonesty of Nigerian politicians. I have disdain for lackluster performance, and whenever anybody then comes up as a politician or who wants to run Nigeria, they come with this fraudulent packaging.

My default position is to warn people first and then expose them later. My position about Peter Obi has been consistent. The same way, my position about Tinubu has been consistent. It is only that the people who are now on the internet as influencers weren't born at the time when I've been against all these terrible politicians, including those in the military.

Otherwise, you would have known that in 2006 or 2008, I was the first to expose Tinubu's drug history in Chicago. But the people who now follow Peter Obi were not interested at that time because it wouldn't favour them.

But in 2022, they suddenly realised that Tinubu was a druggy and took it and ran away with it without giving credit to Sahara Reporters, which was the platform that was used in publishing at the time.

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I was the one who exposed Atiku's corruption, including all the bribes he collected, to the extent that Atiku ran away from the US based on the report done by Sahara Reporters on his corruption. This included the corruption between him and Obasanjo, including using educational funds to buy cars for their girlfriends and how they were stealing them. It was me and Sahara Reporters who did that.

We also found out that Peter Obi was building substandard hospitals and never built schools. He was investing state money in his private business.

All these things are on Sahara Reporters now. So if some people now go and repackage Obi and claim that he is going to help Nigeria work, and I say to them with my full chest that this is a packaged fraud, and you get upset about that, that is not my problem.

That you love a fraudster is not my mistake. People loved Buhari, too, until his tenure killed their parents. Some families were wiped out. Peter Obi is nothing compared to the way the fraudulent Buhari was packaged. Buhari used to get 12 million votes every election season until he won in 2015. Was he not loved? What did we get from it? Insecurity, killings, and corruption of unimaginable proportions.

So if we tell you that we know Peter Obi and that he is not what he is presented to be, and you say you must impose him on Nigeria, and we say no, we don't accept that, it's your right to be upset. But it's also our right to keep saying the truth as we know it and as we understand it.

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So, the emotional aspect of it is nothing new. There is no politician in the world who doesn't have followers. If you go to the U.S., Donald Trump has followers who are willing to kill themselves. There was even a man who went to set himself ablaze in front of the district court where he was undergoing trial.

What is new about that? But that doesn't change the facts about Peter Obi's tenure as an eight-year governor in Anambra State. So many of his supporters have joined the APC, and now he has returned to his natural rehabilitation centre, the PDP.

A lot of people like to bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich, but the rest of the body is out there, and that's why I am very clear about distance.

However, I generally really hate answering questions about Peter Obi, as if he is the best thing to happen to politics in Nigeria since peanut butter was invented. He himself knows that he's a fraud.

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This is the same narrative that I told you earlier. All these 'dem say, dem say,' can't you guys just come out and say this is how you feel? I don't have anything in common with Peter Obi. I do not crave his supporters.

If I had to have supporters in this world who would lead me to victory to govern this country, I don't want them to be people who cannot question me or who will package me to the world as what I am not. I don't want those kind of supporters.

I don't want supporters who will suppress and oppress people the same way these people are fighting our present people. I don't wish for supporters who would go to the extent of even arresting people because they say something they don't like on Facebook. I don't want those kind of supporters. I don't want to be an Obidient.

In fact, the word Obidient in itself riles me that anybody would form an organisation that's obedient during the period of oppression.

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It's like surrendering your sovereignty, in this case, your senses, to nonsense. Let me tell you, Femi Falana was defending the Labour Party during the same period we won our party back. We got a judgement that said the court cannot intervene in party matters, but it was not published. I was the one who gave Femi Falana a copy of our own, which was published, that they used in arguing against the people who wanted to ensure that Obi did not run in the 2023 election.

That was what won them the case, and he became a candidate. Otherwise, he would never have become a candidate. I'm just telling you this, and I've said it publicly; they can't deny it.

Femi Falana will tell you. You can call him, and he will tell you that's what happened. We gave them our party's judgement, made it available in the middle of the night, and they ran to court the next day and said there was a judgement from the Supreme Court.

The judge ended that case right there based on that Supreme Court ruling, but at that point, it was unpublished.

So, this is not the first time I will provide support to Obi. When Obasanjo tried to run him out of time in Anambra with Andy Uba, we were the same people who used Sahara Reporters to decode all their plans, which led to Obi being in office for eight years. I participated in that, and at the time, I thought Obi was genuine, but in subsequent years, I found that he was a fraud.

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Never! His alliance is clear. He's with his elder brothers, Atiku and the rest of them.

I don't crave Obi's followers, and I cannot be in an alliance with him. If people who were misled to join him now feel that they have seen the light and want to join us, I'm happy to welcome them.

His heart is with the PDP, which ruled this country for 16 years. Obi was Jonathan's economic advisor when the PDP stole the most money during their tenure.

So, what are we talking about? The problem again comes back to how we like to deceive ourselves in this country. You see, all the narratives we have been able to debunk since then. “Oh, we need experience, our country is complex, and we don't need schools.” All these are narratives packaged to divert attention from what good governance should be.

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I cannot be part of a mega fraud. Pat Utomi is Tinubu's boy. There is a video of him dancing with Tinubu in his house. I have never been to Tinubu's house before. So all these guys who are claiming to create a mega party have been in the process of creating a mega party forever. They were the ones who created the APC as a mega party. Pat Utomi was part of that. He ran in his state, I think, as a senator.

On the day of the primary election, they sent him to another place, and the primary was happening in somewhere else. These guys know themselves, but once in a while, they would put it out there that they want to create a mega party.

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A mega party in Nigeria is a coalition of mega political criminals — the ones who are empowered and trying to go and loot. I cannot be a part of anything that will retain an APC in power or bring back a PDP — never! I just want to be clear about that.

I doubt they would even try to contact me because all these people you have mentioned are very clear about my position.

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