Sowore: Queries About Our Mission And Vision ~By Jaye Gaskia
In recent times, and over the last few weeks, many of the members and supporters of our Movement – Take Back Nigeria Movement [TBN], as well as an increasing number of Nigerians with whom we have been engaging have been asking me a very particular question.
People seem to be getting confused and are therefore asking legitimate questions for the sake of clarifying things in their minds.
And what is this question? People have been asking me in particular, and the TBN in general, if we know anything about another Take Back Nigeria Movement, that is using our name, acronym, symbols, hashtags and even plagiarising some of our key messages?
They have been asking if Omoyele Sowore is a member of our platform – TBN, and if not why he is using our platform. Some have even asked whether we have or are abandoning our platform [TBN], mission and vision to Sowore.
Now, this is my response. I have tried in the face of what was looking like a deliberate provocation to be diplomatic and mature in handling this seemingly deliberately contrived potential crisis.
Omoyele Sowore is a friend and compatriot, we met nearly three decades ago in the trenches in the struggle in the anti-military days. And although as a Nigerian he has every legitimate right to aspire for any elective office in Nigeria, and it may very well be the right thing to do.
What is wrong is what is appearing to seem like a criminal conspiracy to attempt to usurp, hijack, and takeover, even plagiarising messages of a pre-existing platform, in a manner that is akin to impersonation and identity theft.
There are as many as 20, maybe 30, if not more Presidential Aspirants who have made known their intention.
Each single one is building and establishing their respective but distinct identities and platforms, none, with the exception of Sowore has attempted to takeover a pre-existing identity. It begs the question why he is doing this.
He is a person of ideas, of action, and of means, so there should be no doubt about his capacity to develop a distinct identity and platform.
This course of action makes one wonder whether this ambition is about challenging the status quo and the establishment, or about challenging and disrupting the ranks of those who are genuinely challenging the status quo and establishment.
When we began this journey in January 2013, and relaunched it in October 2017, we released a Manifesto as our program to engage with the election process.
Furthermore, we requested Nigerians who endorse our program to come and join us to build the Take Back Nigeria Movement [TBN]. And the response from Nigerians have been massive.
In January 2018 in our new year message we reiterated the reason why we are running for office and building a Mass political movement.
As a result of these efforts, in early February 2018, several weeks before Sowore made up his mind, Sahara TV was one of the very first media houses along with Wazobia TV and TVC to feature us on one hour long interview on the mission to Take Back Nigeria.
In recent times, as a result of the feedbacks from our engagements with citizens with our manifesto, we have also articulated and released What we call Our Governance Agenda when we are elected into office.
Our strategy furthermore has been to build a coalition of progressive and radical social forces, for the task of radical social transformation of Nigeria. This is not accidental, it is a reflection of where we are coming from, and who we are.
For three decades we have been involved in the struggles of all sectors of our society for equity, social justice, and equitable distribution of wealth, on the labour, women’s, youth, students’, and nationalities fronts.
This is why our strategy is to build a coalition of these forces. And that is why our organisers are labour activists in the formal and informal sectors, women’s rights activists, youth activists, students’ activists, and nationalities’ activists.
This is the reason why this response, my personal response has become urgently necessary. We are building a movement and a campaign around programs and well thought policies, not around Sound Bites, no matter how sensational these soundbites may sound.
Let us not forget that on the road to 2015, this was the same thing that happened. Knowing fully well that Nigerians were thirsty and hungry for change, the then opposition party, and now self-styled governing party went on a Soundbites binge on the campaign trail, making up promises along the way and to every question asked without any thought or reflection.
It ended up making 298 promises during that campaign, none of which it has managed to redeem after nearly three years in office.
If we want a different outcome, we must do things differently.
This is why our movement [TBN], our platform, and our campaign is based on programs, informed by strategic thinking and reflection; why we are not given to soundbites; and why we are so very keen on guiding the integrity of programs of our movement, platform and campaign.
After all no self-respecting corporation recruits its Chief Executive Officer on the basis of Soundbites, so why should a self-respecting people and country elect their President on such basis.
My name is Jaye Gaskia, I am the Convener of Take Back Nigeria Movement, and I am running for office as President of Nigeria in the 2019 General Elections.
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