Poet laureate, Prof Niyi Osundare, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the release of detained Publisher of SaharaReporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore.
He said in a statement on Tuesday titled, ‘Omoyele Sowore: Nigeria’s wrong prisoner (A note to President Buhari),’ that Sowore wasn’t an enemy of Nigeria.
A Federal High Court last Thursday granted the Department of State Services permission to detain Sowore for 45 days after his arrest for calling for protests against the state of the nation through #RevolutionnNow movement.
Osundare added, “Omoyele Sowore is not the enemy the Nigerian government needs or should want to fight. The real enemies are out there: hunger and grinding poverty of the masses in the country of a few dubious billionaires, widespread insecurity of life and property, a creeping loss of faith in the very unity and corporate existence of the country, a political leadership that does not know how and where to lead.
“This is why ‘revolution’ has suddenly become a scare word, and the current wave of that verbal red flag has been clamped down in custody. But let us remind ourselves of that common but no less significant axiom: you may imprison the man, but you can never imprison his ideas.
“A wrong prisoner is currently languishing in Nigeria’s detention. His name is Omoyele Sowore. President Muhammadu Buhari, set him free today.
“No country that takes its future seriously; no country unafraid of truth, no country genuinely sincere about the war against decay and corruption will keep the likes of Sowore in prison. Our prison cells should be yearning for those kleptocrats and political scoundrels who pillage our nation’s treasury, who squander our hopes, and keep Nigeria in that perpetual state of the Big-for-Nothing country.’’
The acclaimed poet recalled that during the 2015 general elections, only a few people realised, or were ready to acknowledge the heroic role played by SaharaReporters in the “materialisation of that electoral feat.”
“And on election day, it streamed the results as they became available, thus frustrating possible manipulations of the figures by party hacks. It was the first time we had witnessed a virtual, foreign-based medium play this kind of role in Nigeria’s electoral process.’’