The 2019 ambition of Omoyele Sowore suffered setback on Wednesday after GoFundMe suspended his bid to raise $2 million towards his ‘Take Back Nigeria Movement’.
The Sahara Reporters publisher told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday night that he could not immediately say why the crowdfunding platform suspended his account, but said he would not be discouraged.
“I woke up this morning and got an e-mail saying saying they’ve suspended the campaign,” Mr. Sowore said.
Previously, he had been asked to provide further details about the purpose of the fundraiser by GoFundMe, which he did without hesitation.
He said the request was most likely due to the popularity that his campaign had garnered from those supporting his presidential ambition online.
But the campaign also elicited resentment amongst his antagonists, especially for its apparent success within the early hours of registration.
“I think they started reporting us as soon as we opened it and they saw we made $1,000 in one hour,” Mr. Sowore said.
The closure could prove demoralising for the anti-corruption campaigner, coming just as his campaign was getting off to a great start.
Mr. Sowore, who lives in New York from where he runs Sahara Reporters, first unveiled his presidential ambition during one of his regular visits to Nigeria last month.
Mr. Sowore’s bid gained widespread momentum after PREMIUM TIMES published an interview he granted it.
He lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari as a misfit in the interview, promising to offer an unprecedented leadership for a people he said had never been lucky with leaders since its independence in 1960.
“If there is anything we have learned in the last few years, it is the fact that the Nigerian electorate has become impatient with purposeless leadership,” Mr. Sowore said.
To actualise his ambition, he vowed to pursue a relentless mobilisation of Nigerians to rally behind his message for a new Nigeria.
“It will be the largest mobilisation of Nigeria’s ignored and dispossessed people,” Mr. Sowore said. “It will be the most direct engagement of a people in their own political future.”
Crowdfunding via channels like GoFundMe is one of the earliest but critical stages of Mr. Sowore’s campaign, although the activist said he had not identified a political platform under which he would run.
The Nigerian Constitution has no provisions for independent candidacy, although efforts to change this are currently part of the ongoing process to amend the Constitution.
GoFundMe did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES e-mail seeking comments about the development Wednesday night.
But notwithstanding the reservations of GoFundMe against Mr. Sowore or the outcome of the dispute, the Sahara Reporters publisher strongly believes in his ability to see his ambition through.
“There is no going back!” He said in a Facebook update informing his followers of the development shortly after 11:00 a.m. Wednesday.