godfather politics

Nigeria: Can political outsider Sowore break through the elite fortress?

By ‘Tofe Ayeni

Premium badge Reserved for subscribers

Posted on October 29, 2021 16:49

Nigerian human rights activist Omoyele Sowore walks near the Federal High Court in Abuja © Nigerian human rights activist Omoyele Sowore walks near the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Nigerian human rights activist Omoyele Sowore walks near the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The government of Nigeria, as in many countries, is restricted to a political elite that has held on to power for decades, and insists on passing on the torch to its allies, in what is commonly referred to as ‘godfather politics’. But what happens when one tries to go against the grain, as is the case of Nigerian human rights activist and founder of ‘Sahara Reporters’ Omoyele ‘Yele’ Sowore?

These godfathers, often not actively involved in government, are essential for any political hopeful looking to make a significant move. However, some are determined to try even without this backing. Such is the story of  Omoyele ‘Yele’ Sowore.

“I’ve been an activist since I was about nine or 10 years old. I grew up in a village in Ondo state, in the southern tip where the Niger-Delta region started. This was invaded in 1980, and a lot of atrocities were committed against the villagers. As I was sitting there, scared of dying, I knew that if I grew up I would become an activist, and take my revenge against the police and the state,” he tells The Africa Report.

In May 2021, he was shot by a tear gas canister in the Federal Capital Territory during an anti-government protest. Being a regular at protests, often calling for the removal of the Buhari administration, his presence at yet

There's more to this story

Get unlimited access to our exclusive journalism and features today. Our award-winning team of correspondents and editors report from over 54 African countries, from Cape Town to Cairo, from Abidjan to Abuja to Addis Ababa. Africa. Unlocked.

Subscribe Now

cancel anytime