Investigations by the TheNigerian has revealed that leader of the RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore, intentionally baited the Department of State Services (DSS) in order to be taken into custody both as a safety measure and a face saving move.
If confirmed, it will imply that Sowore, who is the publisher of Sahara Reporters, a news blog, sought refuge with the DSS as an alternative to being arrested in the actual course of the protest or being harassed to refund money by those that financed the protests from abroad.
The secret police, DSS, arrested Sowore on Saturday on allegations that he was calling for a revolution to forcefully overthrow a democratically elected government. He went on to say that the secret police will be history by Tuesday when the protests tagged “Days of Rage” have bundled the elected government out office. He could be tried for treasonable felony.
While Sowore’s arrest has triggered criticism from those sympathetic with his cause, a source close to him has revealed that he deliberately antagonised authorities so that he can save face, evade sponsors and also escape the danger of being attacked by his supporters if he called off the protest.
The source who craved anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue revealed that “Yele (Sowore) had seen these protests as face saving given the disappointing choice Nigerians made during the election by rejecting him. But it soon became clear that the protests were going to be more disappointing than the election result because even the 33,000 people that voted for him in the election won’t turn up to protest.
“There was no way to back out without losing face. Those that bankrolled the protests will have questions. It was becoming dangerous because he could be attacked,” he explained.
According to him, Sowore struck on the idea to get taken into custody and possibly arraigned knowing that such development will raise his profile as an activist while diverting attention from the failure of the protests while his absence will be justified by the arrest.
The protests largely failed on Monday as the police prevented those that have gathered from carrying out their threat of raging through the streets in Lagos. The police had said it is illegal to use a revolution to overthrow a democratic government. Inclement weather put paid to the prospect of protests in Abuja as a prolonged downpour made it impractical to gather on the streets.
Sowore remained in custody on Monday and it is unclear when he would be formally charged or arraigned in court for the treasonable felony the DSS has accused him of.
Other members of his inner cycle have not commented on whether he deliberately sought refuge with the secret police and thereby sabotaging the protests.
Sowore has a history of run-in with law enforcement agencies having been held recently on allegations of threat to life after an open brawl with another blogger over financial largess from political patrons.