The Anti-Gay Bill, a matter of culture and common sense (1)

(By Raheem Oluwafunminiyi)

I am perturbed by the fact that the Anti-Gay Bill or law has come to divide a nation like ours with a rich sense of history, tradition, culture and values. A part of the divide is looking at the issue from the vexed standpoint of human right and its effect on a minority created from the imagination of its rabid supporters. I am even further irked by the fact that few characters among us are steadily losing grip of our African roots and consciousness that we now see the impunity inherent in being gay as the right thing for certain groups of people.

THE controversy surrounding the Anti-Gay Bill recently signed into law as announced by Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity, a few weeks back, has continued unabated. It even gets more exciting seeing several foreign countries strongly voicing their concerns on what they have described as an ‘obnoxious law’ and which they have argued threatens the ‘human right’ of some minority to freely associate. More than half of all social media platforms as well as the electronic and print media have joined in the euphoria. They have been publishing a barrage of articles, letters, opinions and commentaries from concerned citizens on the issue. In fact, this may arguably pass as the most discussed topic this year.

   The anti-gay law has brought to the fore the very division that characterises the core of the Nigerian state. When I talk about division, I am looking at it from the angle of our collective senses or consciousness, which usually fails to table critically issues with reason, but rather on sentiments and supposition. It is even more saddening that as a people, we have lost our sense of history such that we cannot but miss the point when ordinarily we should be using our historical antecedents to solve issues of the day pronto. A peoples’ history is synonymous to its culture and way of life; it is heavily tied to the identity one carries from one generation to the other. This is why the Yoruba sees bowing and kneeling as a greeting culture that must be respected and preserved for posterity and why the average Hausa-Fulani would not jettison the handshake and hug for another form of cultural greeting to mention a few.

   I am perturbed by the fact that the Anti-Gay Bill or law has come to divide a nation like ours with a rich sense of history, tradition, culture and values. A part of the divide is looking at the issue from the vexed standpoint of human right and its effect on a minority created from the imagination of its rabid supporters. I am even further irked by the fact that few characters among us are steadily losing grip of our African roots and consciousness that we now see the impunity inherent in being gay as the right thing for certain groups of people. The question I have failed to find ample answers to is how we as humans who claim to be higher animals have reduced ourselves to inane beasts with little or no sense of how we must relate intimately with ourselves. It is strange we cannot see how lower animals in our contemporary times have become so intelligent and sensible than the human mind in their relation with one another and in accordance with the dictates of nature.

   It is appalling that the opponents of the law have failed to realise the present and future implication of their actions. Were they to understand, they would have seen the urgent necessity to quickly nip the vexatious cankerworm in the bud to avoid disaster. I feel strongly about it not because I profess a particular religious faith, but because I am an advocate of common sense, deep reasoning and true African values whose lessons must never be exchanged for abnormality.

   The issue which arises here first is the notion in some quarters that the law was aimed at garnering popular support against 2015 from unforgiving Nigerians who more than ever before see everything wrong with the current administration. One may not know some of the strategies being put in place for next year’s general election, but it is the most laughable idea to believe that passing a law as important as the anti-gay law weeks back could be linked to some future political exigencies. This is so, because more than ever before and unprecedented in Nigeria’s history, the vast majority of our people have become conscious of the Nigerian political space that they cannot but wait to effect a change at all levels. The belief of the past that elections are won through all kinds of electoral malfeasance is fast dying out. The Anambra election, meandering and logistically deficient as it was, is a typical example of people’s power and how Nigerians are fast using their votes to effect change. Therefore, it is totally out of place to think the anti-gay law must have been aimed at drumming support for an administration whose ship, to many, is fast sinking by the day.

   Opponents of the anti-gay law speak of human right. Does human right constitute giving individuals the right and privileges to constitute nuisance and commit impunity in the society? If because one’s sexual orientation does not fit into the natural existence of man, does it constitute an infringement of one’s fundamental human rights? Having deeply thought about it, I have come to the conclusion that the noise peddled about infringing the rights of gays to freely choose who to enter into a union with is total and absolute balderdash and simply the creation of the imagination of few elements who only want political and legal protection for their abnormal behaviour.

TO BE CONTINUED

• Raheem Oluwafunminiyi.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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