Omoyele Sowore is a Nigerian human rights activist, a pro democracy campaigner, former presidential candidate and founder of an online news agency, Sahara Reporters.
He has been vigorously involved in activism and got national prominence between 1992 – 1994, when he led the Students Union Government of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in anti-corruption and anti-cultism advocacy.
Sowore attended the University of Lagos where he studied Geography and Planning and his academic program was extended by two years by the university’s management. He was expelled twice due to his student activism and for political reasons.
From 1992-1994, he was the Student Union Government president of the university where he partook in anti-corruption and anti-cultism advocacy.
He holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Colombia University.
While in University, Sowore took part in student demonstration in protesting the conditions of an International Monetary Fund loan of $120 million to be used for a Nigerian oil pipeline.
He also led 5,100 students in protest against the Nigerian government in 1992 which resulted in police opening fire and killing seven protesters. Sowore was arrested and tortured.
In addition, he was involved in the demand for democratic government taking over military rule on June 12, 1993. This resulted in several arrests, detentions and life-threatening treatment by government officials.
Sowore developed his passion for the media during the days of military regime in Nigeria and founded Sahara Reporters in 2006 in New York, United State of America.
Sahara became an international household name as the first new source to identify and publish the photo of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Since then, it has published over 5,000 stories and has a massive followers hip within Nigeria and abroad.
In January 2012, the Lagos State Police Command arrested Sowore over a petition by a magazine publisher, Lekan Fatodu. He accused the police of supporting Fatodu while he assaulted him at the Area F Police Command.
In 2018, Sowore announced his intention to run for president in the 2019 Nigerian general election under the political party, African Action Congress which he founded. However, he came fifth overall.
On August 3rd 2019, Sowore was arrested by the DSS and whisked to their secret facility in Abuja. This was because of his planned nationwide protest tagged ‘Revolution Now’.
He was again arrested and beaten during a protest in Abuja on January 1, 2021. Likewise on May 31, Sowore was injured by a police officer during a protest in Abuja.
Sowore previously taught Modern African History in City University of New York and Post Colonial History at the School of Arts, New York. He is a passionate African and a resolute human rights leader.