Nobody should sell us short, on a wholesale basis. Nigeria may be bad, we do have our many challenges, but hey, we have one or two lessons to teach the world as well. Indeed, on a few of these issues, like in how to live proper marriages, where tolerance, magnanimity, sacrifice, perseverance, reasonability, consideration are the key words, the world looks up to Africa.
I usually laugh at myself when I listen to Fela Kuti’s “colo-mentality” song, especially that part where he describes the African man, who dresses up in singlet, pant, trousers, shirt, jacket, tie, overcoat, hat, socks, shoe, umbrella, and then picks up his briefcase and goes sweating in the Lagos heat like the proverbial Christmas goat! That is me! Ok, remove the hat, overcoat and umbrella! Since the day I heard that song properly, which is fairly recently, I started to really examine the way we think as Africans and why we think everything that is good for the white man is also good for us. Whereas MOST of what the white man prescribes turns out good, but there must be a point where a discerning people draw the line.
There was a raging argument when President Jonathan approved the anti-gay law. Many asked why that had become a priority. I had a few answers. One, while we all admit that governance is perennially weak in Nigeria, we should also agree that weak people will usually do that which seems easiest. Not only weak people. Even strong people and institutions have what is called ‘quick wins’, or ‘low hanging fruits’. It seemed that banning gayism in Nigeria was one of the low hanging fruits the then government recognised, and it went for it! Politically speaking, it paid dividends, since apparently a majority of Nigerians (and democracy is said to be a game of numbers, right?) are religious and the religious books apparently frown against it. Also, majority of Nigerians are tribal and religious, and our traditional institutions also call gayism an abomination. More on that later.
Many critics roundly dismissed the government on the basis that it had refused to tackle the problems of corruption and Boko Haram. That wouldn’t wash. But the critics themselves erred because they were digging up shortcomings from far and near instead of properly critiquing the issue at stake. Being a mudslinger does not portray one as a sound analyst.
The gay movement may have been a victim of its own success in Nigeria, because given that they may not have expressly asked to be allowed to get married, Nigerians saw it coming. The LGBT is one of the most powerful lobbies in the world, if not the most. The Jewish lobby no longer compares.
The gay movement may have been a victim of its own success in Nigeria, because given that they may not have expressly asked to be allowed to get married, Nigerians saw it coming. The LGBT is one of the most powerful lobbies in the world, if not the most. The Jewish lobby no longer compares. In recent times, we have seen the American president (our so-called brother), Mr. Obama, expressly support them and also threaten African countries that demurred. David Cameron of the UK also came with his own threats, even condescending on African countries by threatening to withhold aid from some. From his statement alone, one could see that Africa is projected to be a perennially-dependent and perpetual basket case by these guys. Unlike our new friends, the Chinese, western countries take much delight in dictating political, social and even sexual orientation to the sorry cases that they created as countries in Africa. That is when they aren’t dictating hare-brained economic policies or using unworkable measurements like GDP growth to qualify African countries.
While the debate was raging, an elderly British friend of mine, Michael Clews, informed us on Facebook, that until 1967, just 47 years ago, the Brits jailed anyone caught practicing homosexuality, FOR LIFE! Fifty years before then, such people in Britain were hung, drawn and quartered! The Nigerian version of punishment (14 years) could therefore be considered lenient, and as I suspected, it has hardly been used. I believe the law is just a statement, albeit a solid statement that for now, we are not ready for an epidemic of homosexuality in Nigeria. Nigeria asserted itself on a social policy and that was good.
Global Sodom and Gomorrah
My other chief concerns include why governments around the world have deliberately refused to find out exactly how people become gays. In Nigeria here, many children are raped, bullied, coerced, intimidated and some say hypnotised into becoming homosexuals. A boys school in Kano – Hassan Gwarzo College – was recently shut down over allegations of serial and mass rape! A young boy of 10 is sent to boarding school and is preyed upon by sex-starved seniors. He never tells. He returns home ‘disvirgined’ from behind, and is NEVER able to get into any normal relationship again. Ditto for a 10 year old girl. This is one key reason I am not comfortable with boarding schools in Nigeria. No one punishes perpetrators and the cycle continues. The western countries know this. On a good day, they will be getting to the bottom of what is going on but in this instance – homosexuality – they have blatantly refused. Conspiracy theories take over. Just what is going on? Why were/are they trying to globalise the practice? Does it have anything to do with population control? Or worse still – as some believe – is it about priming the minds of the world for its eventual ‘destruction’? We know that it is said that this earth will one day be destroyed when God is tired of all the nonsense. Those who brought Christianity to Africa – in which we read just how God is disgusted with this type of practice (and for that reason destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah), and the same people repackaging the practice as a hallmark of modernity!
My research shows that Nigeria’s population will not keep increasing ad infinitum – to 278 million in 20 years as ‘projected’. As a matter of fact, our population is poised to shrink after 20 years. MOST families are becoming smaller – even in the north of Nigeria.
But some of us believe that when next the world shall be destroyed, it will be man-made. And some areas will not be destroyed. I mean there will be ‘controlled destruction’. Imagine if a nuclear weapon was released from one of these big, crazy countries, and the other powerful countries use their nuclear shields to protect themselves, thereby directing the impact to poor, exposed countries. In the event of mass death, the usually religious poor people will go down believing God himself has come to destroy them for their sins – especially homosexuality – just as he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. So you see the link? Any crazy supremacist nursing the belief of world population reduction can put this into action. God forbid. Those who believe in this conspiracy theory also believe this is why Africa is being accused of aiding world population explosion. My research shows that Nigeria’s population will not keep increasing ad infinitum – to 278 million in 20 years as ‘projected’. As a matter of fact, our population is poised to shrink after 20 years. MOST families are becoming smaller – even in the north of Nigeria. Most, I said. Of course there are still people like Honorable Kazaure who prayed to God recently on the floor of the Green chambers, for 50 children!
Of Rights and Responsibilities
The other issue is this bunkum about human rights. What about human responsibilities? Rights without responsibilities is barbarism. And we don’t need barbarism here! A growing youth in Nigeria today should know that it is also part of his duty to ensure Nigeria evolves into a respected and productive nation. Our youth must mature fast because the challenges are multiplying. We cannot afford to be producing youth with chips on their shoulders; obsessed on end with their sexuality. Obama can jolly well deal with youth who are that way. After all, the USA has achieved wondrous feats for many centuries. If sex is their problem now, so be it. Here, we’ve got serious stuff to think about.
There is also a concept called ‘Human Rights Inflation’ by which some scholars argued that the unending pursuit of human rights cheapens the whole cause.
I am currently reading a lot about the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) as part of a PhD on Public Policy. Lovely course of study, and eye-opening too. I now see that there is an attempt to twist the concept of human rights. Apart from rights also precipitating responsibilities, the Universal Declaration, and subsequent additions, conventions and analyses also state that it is not everything people choose to do that will be summarily granted as Human Rights to them. The conventions want to ensure a minimum level of good life for everyone born, not to allow them push the boundaries to a point where anarchy takes over the earth. There is also a concept called ‘Human Rights Inflation’ by which some scholars argued that the unending pursuit of human rights cheapens the whole cause.
Freedom for All
This is not to say that people cannot do anything they like behind closed doors. You can even commit murder behind closed doors. It’s when you are found out that you have trouble on your hands. That is if someone is missing and is traced to you. In this instance, two consenting adults would ALWAYS get away with the act. Except one does not quite consent. Our 10 year olds in JSS1 have also been given a bulwark to report those predators who want to force and conscript them, and that is probably why we had a whistleblower in the Kano boys’ school. How come most of these latter-day enlightened people never thought of those raped into the realm of homosexuality also have human rights and should be protected? Many of those who stridently argued in favour of gayism in Nigeria were based in Europe or USA anyway.
A society has every right to pace its own evolution.
A society has every right to pace its own evolution. I hear that only 16 states in the USA have allowed gay marriage, so why should a whole country, called Nigeria, be expected to give a blank cheque because Mr. Obama says so? Why is bigamy, or polygamy, a jailable offence in the same USA? Why can our ‘enlightened’ people not take the war first to some of the conservative states of the USA, where they presently live, and convert those ones first? Why do they think Nigeria, a whole Nigeria, should be a walkover?
Traditional Marriages As the Final Bus-Stop
The litmus test for me is this. I believe that the most important and colourful aspect of our marriage ceremonies in Nigeria is the traditional bit. It is what is indigenous to us and what we had before the white man came with his wedding ring and common law. Before the churches and mosques jumped into the fray. I wish the government should simply make it mandatory for EVERY marriage in Nigeria to fulfill the traditional rites bit before becoming valid. I have seen those traditional marriages. They are wonderful and organic. I have seen the mock negotiations, the mutual respect and mutual consideration among families, the suspense and the drama, the culture on display, the gifts being exchanged, the camaraderie among families that were hitherto strangers, the amount of knowledge on display. What more does Nigeria need at this stage but such avenues for mutual understanding among our peoples? Oh! I hear them again. The enlightened ones think traditional marriage is ‘bullshit’. To them, marriage is merely the agreement between ‘two consenting adults’. I agree, but no, I won’t sign up to the Las Vegas type of union.
…no matter the barking and the biting, if we back down from our position we would have let down ourselves… and the world.
So, on the day that our own idea of marriage becomes compulsory, I will see how the Yoruba father will tell his family that his son wants to marry another man, and how the ceremony will go. I will enjoy how the ‘alarinas’ will introduce the wife and how her (abi na his) friends will dance with him into the courtyard. I will want to imagine how among the Igbos, “Igba nkwu Nwanyi”, will metamorphose into “Igba nkwu Nwoke” i.e. the ‘wine carrying’ will be from a man to another man’s parents! I will see how a wedding durbar or nikkai, officiated by the local Imam, will be done between two men, or two women. On that day, I will agree that yes, we’ve truly arrived. In hell!
Nobody should sell us short, on a wholesale basis. Nigeria may be bad, we do have our many challenges, but hey, we have one or two lessons to teach the world as well. Indeed, on a few of these issues, like in how to live proper marriages, where tolerance, magnanimity, sacrifice, perseverance, reasonability, consideration are the key words, the world looks up to Africa. Divorce rates are increasing here no doubt – especially among rich folk – but we still don’t contract marriages like one would buy akara down the road, only to dump it all at the next small quarrel. But no matter the barking and the biting, if we back down from our position we would have let down ourselves… and the world.
‘Tope Fasua, an economist and consultant, is CEO of Global Analytics Consulting.