A cross section of Nigerian entertainers have expressed misgivings over the refusal of the Federal Government to release a former presidential candidate and activist, Omoyele Sowore, from the custody of the Department of State Services, even after a court had ordered his release.
In separate chats with our correspondents, some personalities in the entertainment industry described last week’s re-arrest of Sowore as unfortunate.
Veteran actor, Alex Osifo said, “People have been saying that the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is more of a tyrant because he has refused to obey the rule of law. He has become autocratic and he should decide if he is a military dictator or a civilian president. He has desecrated the judiciary. Although the DSS apologised for ‘invading’ the court premises, that kind of apology is unacceptable– it is condemnable and deplorable.”
Rapper and social activist, Michael Stephens, popularly known as Ruggedman, noted that it was sad that Nigeria’s image is being tarnished daily. He stated, “We already know that the image of Nigeria is being tarnished left, right and centre by different elements– be it by fraud or bad governance and this is not doing anything to help it. It is outright proof that the Nigerian government is not following the rule of law in any way.
“But looking at the big picture, people are being arrested every day– the question is what are the people going to do about it? The same social media that the government is trying to pass a bill to ‘regulate’ is what I believe people should seriously use to fight it.”
An actress, Ada Ameh, maintained that Sowore’s re-arrest was bad, whichever way one chose to look at it. She added, “It is an insult to the judiciary. It also shows that, as a country, we don’t have respect for the rule of law. How can you go into a court premises and arrest a person? I have never heard of that since I was born. As far as I’m concerned, it is wrong and there’s nothing anybody can do to whitewash it. It is not good for the country’s reputation at all. Sowore is a human being and the court has ruled that he should be released.
However, veteran artiste and self-acclaimed president of all frustrated Nigerians, Charly Boy, was of the view that Sowore was formerly on good terms with the government. He said, “Sowore is one of them. They know what they are doing and he was part of the people that brought in Buhari. Would someone that wants to start a revolution ring a bell (to announce it)? With the Sowore I know, everything is a transaction, so I don’t take him seriously.
“This is a government of slavery and oppression that doesn’t have the interest of the people at heart. If a government cannot protect lives and properties, then what is it doing? I have always said that democracy is too sophisticated for the African man, talk more of people who exhibit characteristics of barbarianism.”
However, the entertainers were divided on the impact of the present regime in the entertainment industry.
Osifo said, “To me, they have not done anything. I am not interested in politics and I don’t care if they do anything. The entertainment industry has grown over the years without the support of any government. This particular government (regime) has shown no interest. At times, they act like the entertainment industry is nothing. They are not concerned about the industry.”
However, popular actress, Bimbo Akintola, felt the regime had made some impact. She said, “In the entertainment industry, there is so much going on and the government (regime) has made available some funds, so it has been a bit positive. But honestly, it is not just about throwing funds at the industry without creating enabling structures.
For example, if I get funds to shoot a film; how would I sell the movies? We need cinemas! There should also be a standard amount that films can be bought (so that producers can make profit).”