Human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, has accused public office holders in Nigeria of turning the process of governance to a conduit pipe of corruption through which many of them have enriched themselves at the expense of Nigerians.
Sowore noted that he started being detained by security agencies in 1992 when he was 21 years old, fighting for the rights of common Nigerians and speaking against bad leaders.
The former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress also attributed the backwardness and underdevelopment of the country to the humongous corruption being perpetrated by government officials.
He described such leaders in positions of authority as criminal elements who are unfit to govern a country.
The activist disclosed this on Thursday during his appearance as guest at a live programme of VoiceTV Nigeria, an online television, monitored by SaharaReporters in Abuja.
Sowore said those politicians were responsible for the misfortunes bedevilling the country – an old entity which is crawling at 60 with no development to show for it.
He added that there was a need for the country to have people with revolutionary mindsets and ideas who would stop the “garbage in and garbage out” politicians who had continued to recycle themselves in the corridors of power.
He said, "What I was fighting for in those days was for this country to have democracy and democracy came.
“Most of them when we were student leaders, they were hiding under their beds. The moment the country was liberated, they came out. Some of them with stolen wealth, some of them were drug dealers, drug addicts, kidnappers and armed robbers.
“They put on new garb and became governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives who you see today; other decent positions, which are supposed to go to decent Nigerians, were allotted to these criminal elements.
“They don't want a society where anything works. But for us who are asking for a better society, we are the enemies of the state. So we are dealing with a criminal state. We are not surprised; I have been through this for over 30 years of different types of persecution.
“Governance in Nigeria has become a criminal enterprise, with the wrong people governing.”
When asked about why he was handcuffed to a magistrates' court for organising a peaceful protest, a less dignifying treatment than Kabiru Sokoto, who masterminded the bombing of Mandala Catholic Church in 2011, got, Sowore said the system in Nigeria empowers criminals in the society.
He added that Sokoto was a hero of a tyrannical regime.
“It is very important to understand the context in which oppression operates. When you have an oppressive system and a tyrannical government, it is a system that empowers criminals in the society. That is the kind of society they want; to create division and bigotry.”
He explained that he started his activism in 1989 when he gained admission into the University of Lagos and had been going to detention since 1992 when he was 21 years old, fighting for the rights of common Nigerians.
“When I was in the university, I was fighting against secret cults. The university chose to expel me alongside secret cult members we were fighting. When we fought back, they readmitted us with those secret cult members. Many of the secret cult members we were fighting got better jobs than we did. They graduated before me. Many of them even got their National Youth Service Corps assignment before me,” Sowore stated.
He said the only way the government could gain the trust of Nigerians was to deliver on the social contracts which form the core responsibilities of government.
“People cannot just trust the government because it is walking around with handcuffs and AK-47 rifles, television and social media propaganda. Trust comes out naturally. It comes out between the governed and the governors, but that is not the case in Nigeria,” he noted.