The publisher of online platform, Sahara Reporter, Omoyele Sowore, says he does not believe in the ‘third force’ coalition midwifed by a former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
He also condemned Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the party was deceptive and must be removed in 2019.
Mr. Sowore, who is vying for the presidency in 2019, made this known on a public affairs radio programme in Ibadan on Saturday.
The activist was in Ibadan in continuation of his 2019 presidential campaign efforts.
The programme held on Fresh FM, Ibadan, owned by foremost broadcaster and musician, Yinka Ayefele.
Mr. Obasanjo had in a ‘special press statement’ criticised the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. The former president also called for the emergence of a “third force” to unseat the APC in 2019. Weeks after the open letter was published, some of the ex-president’s allies, led by a former governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, inaugurated the “third force” coalition.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has not officially lifted ban on political campaigns for 2019, there have been efforts by presidential candidates, including Mr. Sowore, to endear themselves to the Nigerian voting population.
The Sahara Reporters’ publisher, who already held town hall meetings with diaspora Nigerians in some parts of the UK, has however not declared his preferred political party.
On Saturday, when asked about his views on the recent coalition put together by former president Obasanjo, he described the initiative as dead on arrival.
“I don’t believe in Obasanjo,” he said. “His third force or third farce is DOA––dead on arrival. He knows it. We are kicking all of them out, you know, switching them into retirement. Some of them will go to jail, some of them will retire and some of them will go to court.”
Speaking on his choice of political party ahead of the elections, Mr. Sowore said the party would be a coalition of like-minded groups determined to rescue Nigeria from the two dominant parties, the PDP and the APC.
He said: “It is gonna be the strongest political coalition of all time. Movement politics. The parties that are working together will come out and will kick out the behemoth of APC and PDP––the People Deceiving People and the people I like to call All Past Criminals.”
There have been concerns that the presidential hopeful may not have the financial war chest of the big players but Mr. Sowore dismissed the concern as inconsequential because it failed the last government in the 2015 elections.
“In 2014, Jonathan had the biggest war chest. They are revealing them now.
“They were distributing money to traditional rulers. Eventually Buhari won supposedly based on his integrity. He was the poorest person to have won the presidency.”
The publisher also excoriated President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to make his assets declaration public. “He told us he will declare his assets he never declared (publicly),” he said.
When challenged on whether it was illegal not to declare publicly by a co-guest on the programme and Nigeria’s minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, Mr. Sowore said given the president’s “supposed integrity”, it was not a matter of law but morality. “It is not law. It is morality. He’s bound on morality to remain transparent,” he said.
He lambasted the ruling APC for being hypocritical with the release of their list of (alleged) looters of public fund. Making direct reference to the exclusion of the name of a former Nigerian minister who recently defected to the APC, Musiliu Obanikoro, the publisher said the selective nature of the list shows the insincerity in the government’s anti-graft campaign.
He said, “When they released their (looters’) list, they removed Obanikoro’s name. That’s the type of hypocrisy we are talking about. They are fighting corruption but they are deodorizing their members and criminalizing others who are not members.”
Mr. Sowore vowed to ensure that the APC is kicked out of power in 2019. “I want to be on record. We will see to the removal of this deceptive government by 2019,” he said.