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Is Abati the new poster boy? By Tony Ademiluyi

By News Express on 18/02/2017

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 •Reuben Abati.
•Reuben Abati.

One of the books I read with relish when I was in secondary school was the Bottled Leopard by Chukwuemeka Ike. One of the themes was culture shock. The protagonist, Nwachukwu, who called himself Chuk, was sent by his father who was based in the United States, to go back to Africa and learn more about his culture, as he was of mixed-race and saw himself more as an American.

He had an encounter with a stern prefect fondly referred to as ‘Hammer’ because of his no-nonsense attitude. The latter invited him to his cubicle and attempted to have carnal knowledge of him. He reported it to the school authorities who then stripped him off his prefect ship.

I could perfectly relate to this experience since I attended Kings College, Lagos, where some gays - whom we called faggots or fags for short - were accepted as one family by majority of the straight students. Nobody was discriminated from playing football or cricket, which were the two most popular sports, on account of their sexual orientation. You only had to be a bit careful when telling them to accompany you to go to the Queens College Inter House Sports - as was the usual practice among KC boys - as your genuine intentions could be misconstrued.

Fast forward to last year when I worked with a national newspaper as a journalist on the online beat. I stumbled on the story of the death of Akinnifesi Olumide Olubunmi in an obscure blog. I checked the websites of our competitors and saw it wasn’t there and so I rushed to the news editor to seek his permission to quickly upload it. He gave me a cruel look, which I interpreted to mean: ‘Are you nuts? How dare you!’

I was angry, because no one had any right to take another person’s life, irrespective of his or her sexual orientation. President Muhammadu Buhari got me angrier when he consoled the victims of the Orlando Club shootout, and neglected to give a single mention to his fellow departed-citizen, who was butchered to death in nearby Ondo State. The activism streak in me was revived, and I volunteered with a prominent LGBT organisation in Lagos and vowed to use my writing and advocacy skills to stop the violence against the sexual minorities.

However, with the passage of time, I began to get uncomfortable as it was clear that my then ‘allies’ were not satisfied with my altruistic motives to put a stop to the violence that they suffered. There was subtle pressure on me to buy into the ‘equality’ agenda, which I objected to on religious grounds. As a practising Roman-Catholic, I am totally against gay marriage and make no apologies for it. Why couldn’t my religious views be respected while we worked in harmony to prevent another needless death? I was also criticized for trying to sell the idea of a conversion therapy, as my interactions with some ex-gays revealed that the nature argument was completely fallacious. I was bashed and called a homophobe for drawing attention to the fact that my fellow Christians were facing bitter persecutions for merely expressing their anti-gay views openly, especially on social media. Some lost their jobs; some became destitute and were kicked out of school: all because they spoke the truth. It was crystal clear that the ever-expanding LGBT acronym was a subtle plot to coerce the rest of the world to buy into their ideology with brutal sanctions for dissidents, whether on religious or grounds of common sense.

I was surprised when renowned columnist and former spokesman of erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati, was invited as the keynote speaker at a symposium organized by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERS) and Y Naija, which was held last year. His former boss signed the same-sex marriage bill into law in 2014 so, his invitation was rather surprising. As expected, he faced a lot of criticism, especially from Bisi Alimi, the nation’s ‘first’ openly gay man, who was a founding member of TIERS, before he went on exile to the UK.

When the dust settled, Abati made it clear that his views were liberal and he respected the fundamental human rights of all, irrespective of sexual orientation. He went on to make known the plight that these people suffered from extremists who always made them a target of their ruthlessness. He opined that there was no structure on ground to protect these people from harm and took a surreptitious swipe at the same-sex marriage prohibition law, which his erstwhile boss signed into law and made an appeal for an evolution in the thinking of Nigerians so that the interests of these minorities could be better accommodated.

Abati’s summation didn’t hit me by surprise. I wasn’t disappointed because he let us down by being Jonathan’s lap dog, and refusing to throw in the towel when his image teetered to the nadir. The LGBT globally has as its core agenda the portrayal of an initial victim image while buying time to emerge into full-fledged bullies.

Abati failed to mention that the Senate, under David Mark’s leadership, gave room for some of the sexual minorities to air their views in its hallowed chambers on the same sex marriage issue. He omitted to tell the world the hypocrisy of the West, when it came to the granting of asylum of some of the members of the community.

Favour, I won’t mention his surname here, spent a year in Wales and was still deported to the country, for not convincing them that he was ‘gay’ enough. Many African LGBT members are being deported on a daily basis. Not a single condemnation on this hypocritical act! He failed to mention the silent indoctrination of minors through cartoons in their ‘catch them young mission.’

There was palpable silence on the fact that this agenda is fast constituting a great threat to free speech, which is also an inalienable right of man. This threat is not just something faraway in countries where the asinine act is legal, its presence is real here. The former coach of the Super Falcons, Eucharia Uche, revealed that she was combating lesbianism in the camp. This was a clog in the wheel of the team’s progress, and all hell was let loose with homophobic slurs cast at the poor woman. I remember when I went for a Toastmasters speech delivery on the family and I started by saying that the family is made up of a man, a woman and their children. A Caucasian stopped me and reprimanded me for being insensitive to the reality of the existence of the ‘LGBT family.’ Some Nigerian members of the audience then nodded their heads in total agreement, and all I could think of was the colonial mentality hit song, which remains a favourite of mine from the stables of Abami Eda. Nothing was said of the threat to the Sovereignty of supposed independent nations with the threats spewed out by then US President Barak Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

I have maintained for over a decade, that Nigeria and Africa’s biggest malady is imperialism and not the façade of corruption that has a gargantuan Western liberal imprimatur. Until we unite with the common good in mind and get this continent ridden of neo-colonialism, the independence struggle of our heroes past would be reduced to something worse than a cruel joke.

Africa was battered with the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, then the scramble and partitioning of the continent in faraway Berlin followed, colonialism took roots, and now we are bugged down with imperialism.

For how long?

Tony Ademiluyi can be reached via anthonyademiluyi@yahoo.com

Source News Express

Posted 18/02/2017 11:34:25 AM

 

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