Omoyele “Yele” Sowore, born February 16, 1971, better known as Omoyele Sowore, is a popular Nigerian human rights activist, citizen reporter, writer, and lecturer known for founding the online news agency Sahara Reporters. Establishing the African Action Congress party in August 2018, he contested as its presidential candidate in the 2019 Nigerian general election.
|Omoyele “Yele” Sowore
|Date of Birth:
|February 16, 1971
|Place of Birth:
|Ese-Odo, Ondo State
|State of Origin:
|Media personality and politician
Early Life and Education
Yele Sowore hails from Ese-Odo, Ondo State, in South West Nigeria. Born in the Niger Delta region, encompassing six states in the South-South region, including Ondo, Abia, and Imo States, he was raised in a polygamous household with sixteen children.
At the age of 12, Sowore learned to ride a motorcycle to fish for food every morning at the lake before attending school, driven by the responsibility to provide for his large family. His passion for media grew during Nigeria’s military rule.
Sowore pursued a degree in Geography and Planning at the University of Lagos from 1989 to 1995, facing expulsion twice due to political reasons and student activism, extending his academic program by two additional years.
He served as the President of the University of Lagos Student Union Government from 1992 to 1994, actively engaging in anti-cultism and anti-corruption advocacy. Sowore furthered his education with a master’s degree in Public Administration from Columbia University.
In 1989, Sowore actively participated in student demonstrations protesting the terms of a $120 million International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan intended for a Nigerian oil pipeline. One of the loan conditions mandated a reduction in the number of universities in Nigeria from 28 to 5.
In 1992, Sowore led a protest against the Nigerian government, rallying 5,100 students. The demonstration turned tragic as police opened fire, resulting in the death of seven protesters.
Sowore faced arrest and torture. Additionally, he played a significant role in advocating for democratic governance to replace military rule on June 12, 1993, leading to multiple arrests, detentions, and life-threatening encounters with government officials.
Niyi Babade, a journalist, highlighted Sowore’s involvement in the June 12 struggle in an unpublished memoir. Describing the scene, he noted, “Unannounced, they came out of an unmarked grey vehicle and saw the ugly scenes, then opened fire on all of us.”
Babade recounted the intervention of Yele Sowore, leading University of Lagos students to Abiola’s house, saving him from attack and allowing him to document exclusive footage of the events.
In 2006, Sowore founded Sahara Reporters in New York City, dedicated to combating corrupt and unjust government practices. The platform is backed by grants from the Ford Foundation and Omidyar Foundation, adhering to a policy that prohibits accepting advertisements and financial support from the Nigerian Government.
Omoyele Sowore Net Worth
Omoyele Sowore has an estimated net worth of around $10 million. He is the founder of Sahara Reporters, a popular media company in Nigeria.
Sowore and his family have resided in Haworth, New Jersey. In September 2021, there were reports that Sowore’s younger brother had been fatally shot, allegedly by either herdsmen or kidnappers in Edo state.
In October 2019, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court imposed a travel restriction on Sowore, barring him from leaving Abuja. According to Sowore, this limitation hindered his attendance at his brother’s burial.