– by Sullivan Odumegwu –
It’s well that Saharareporters has become a fertile ground for airing pent up anger and frustrations, and fanning the embers of national disunity. It’s also a place to go for the dirty juice on unpopular public officials in Nigeria; plus anybody that needs any reason not to travel and invest in Nigeria only needs to visit that site. Its many readers go there for the same reasons people read Wikileaks – not for approval but for its voyeuristic appeal. Who does not enjoy dirt on his government, whether spiced up, made up, exaggerated, no matter. Saharareporters’ funding is also, without saying, tied to the bizarre and counterintelligence directed against its victims by the purveyors of such dirt. And they are legion. So, its business goes on, even though it will someday soon wallow in infamy.
There are many blogs like Saharareporters flourishing in America, albeit mostly underground and not taken seriously, including those that spew such rubbish like Obama forged his birth certificate – He’s not a US citizen, Kennedy got killed by the Soviets, Elvis Presley is still alive, there’s UFO in Michigan and Snowman in Alaska. My worry is that some Nigerians, increasingly frustrated by rampant corruption in the society, may be taking Saharareporters too seriously and believing all that it dishes out as gospel truth, thus emboldening Mr Sowore to the delusion that he is larger than life. I also worry that disaffected Nigerian public officials are using him against one another, hence the easy access Sowore appears to have to Nigerian government classified documents. It’s a pity.
That said, I still wonder why Mr Sowore attacked Nduka Obaigbena, a private citizen and a fellow publisher. And why he also attacked Elombah Daniel, another private citizen and also a publisher. And many more private citizens that have had their reputations destroyed by him simply because they are plying their legitimate trade in ways that Sowore doesn’t like. I might add that Elombah has the right not to mimick Sowore’s sensational and libelous style, Elombah has the right to publish positive news about unpopular or accused persons, including Ibori, whose corruption case was proving too hard and costly for London prosecutors to prove, as Elombah and other foreign press truthfully reported, but which Saharareporters did not, even though Sowore was aware of it.
And recall Emeka Ugwuonye, whose reputation as Nigeria’s finest lawyer in the US was destroyed by Sowore, just because of a private real estate transaction between him and the Nigerian embassy – but which Sowore turned into an assault on Ugwuonye’s law license; then add Emeagwali, and you see a despicable pattern dedicated to taking mostly high-achieving Igbos and minorities down. It’s as serial as it extends to public officials of the same stock – Dora, Okonjo-Iweala, Allison-Madueke, George Obiozor, Prof Onwuliri, and President Jonathan and his wife. Their crimes? I don’t know. Ask Mr Sowore.
Let me add also that Sowore’s dedication to defaming Andy Uba is legendary even though Andy has never been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime.
So, is it also envy or what?
And now this, Mr Sowore has just published a private email conversation between him and a private citizen – Mr James Ibori, and he did so from American soil. While I wonder how many US laws have been broken here, I also wonder how many more private emails and conversations with others this guy will air here. He already gave a hint by making veiled and ominous references to another email exchange he had with Nduka Obaigbena. Its indefensible for a publisher or journalist to suddenly turn a pursuer of other publishers and journalists, tracking them, investigating them, defaming them. For what purpose? Do they all have to be mean and emotional like Mr Sowore.
Before I am misunderstood on Ibori, let me quickly explain that despite his guilty plea, the man is human, and he still deserves his rights to privacy; and so do many others Mr. Sowore has done the same thing to, including one of Obasanjo’s sons (I’ve forgotten his name – the one that said OBJ doesn’t know his age, Sowore taped on a bus ride from Seme border, unbeknownst to the poor guy who thought he was bantering with an old acquaintance).
Finally, I wonder why he moderates comments on Saharareporters he claims exists for fighting corruption; and I wonder how many comments to his postings he writes himself or gets his friends to write, especially with the similar emotions expressed in those comments, the timelines, the uncanny timings, their bizarre consistencies, etc., while Sowore still presents them as spontaneous and well-meaning comments by others. Perhaps, lawyer Ugwuonye will establish this in due course by expanding the scope of his discovery and interrogatories.