Anti-gay marriage law: where is APC?
In the past few days, the federal government, and its head, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, have been receiving encomiums from all shades of groups in the country for signing the same sex prohibition bill into law. Amongst these have been religious groups and opinion leaders, but curiously, Nigeria's main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has not voiced an opinion, one way or the other.
Many, including yours sincerely, are beginning to wonder whether the party is peopled by homosexuals, or it is simply belly-aching over the groundswell of opinions in favor of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Yes, it is true that in a company where you have strange bedfellows, you are bound to have homosexuals on the same bed, but I cannot imagine that some of the respected fellows in the party will even consider such a strange preference. Definitely, not that straight looking general; but who else in that strange company can anyone vouch for? They all look like a bunch who would do anything to win elections, including promising all manner of freedoms.
And for those who think that the country should be sanctioned by the policeman of the world, the United States, they must have been sorely disappointed when its point man and Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador James Entwistle, clarified in Abuja, when asked by journalists if his country would withdraw its financial aid on HIV/AIDS. “Absolutely not. But we have to look at it very carefully and make sure that everything we do is in compliance with the new law,” he said. According to him, “as you know, we put millions of dollars in the fight against HIV/AIDS and, again, I am not a lawyer; I read the bill and it seems to me that it may put some restrictions on what we can do to help fight HIV/AIDS in this country. These are the issues we are looking at as we look at the bill.
“The issue of same sex marriage is very controversial all over the world, including my country, where 17 states out of 50 have considered it. Some are saying it is not legal. The issue that we see and I am speaking as a friend of Nigeria, it looks to me that it puts significant restrictions in the Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Expression and, in my opinion, especially in advanced democracies, once government begins to say something in these areas, freedom no longer apply. It seems to me that such is a very worrisome precedent.”
Even as Nigeria stands tall in Africa and states that it finds the preference against the sensibility of a vast majority of her people, the noise makers within her borders remain worrisomely silent when it is not golden. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Jamat Nasril Islam (JNI), and other interest groups, including those who are not in love with Jonathan, have spoken, but not so for the APC, a conglomeration of power mongers which do not think it should back Nigerians at times like this.
But not Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who amid thunderous applause, defended the law forbidding gay marriage in Nigeria. He likened the numbing tendency to pedophilia, a psychiatric disorder, in which an adult has sexual interest in children.
Sooner or later, other groups will begin to ask for pedophiliac marriages like one of the APC strong men from Zamfara did some time ago; and has brought forth a child as he proudly announced to the world on television last year. Or, other bizarre groups may suggest marriage to dogs (or other forms of bestiality) since it is man's best friend.
Uduaghan, in Ireland to receive the International Leadership Award, according to media reports, told his audience, which included Ireland's Minister of Trade and Foreign Investment, Mr. Joe Costello, that gay marriage offends the cultural norms of Nigerians, insisting that the law signed into law by Jonathan was popular and that Nigerians accept it.
“I am sure no one here in this country would accept a condition in which an adult can sleep with a 10-year-old girl. If that situation is not acceptable, we in Nigeria view gay marriage as such,” he said, adding: “In Nigeria, marriage between two people is usually between a man and a woman and not just between them but between their families too.”
He said further, “Whenever a couple comes together, they are not coming together by themselves, it also involves their different families and if it is known that in that family there are married gays, the danger is that the taboo emanating from that might even affect others who are straight and that is not right. In marrying my wife, it was the coming together of her family and my family and blessings of the two families that made it happen.”
If the APC or its other strongmen will not commend the federal government, there are those who will not fail to thumbs up the president and the government. The National Publicity Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr Anthony Sani, said, “It is difficult (for Nigerians) to share the sentiments of US and its allies on this matter, considering that it is not long that some of them approved same sex marriage.”
The General Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Musa Asake said, “The thing that bothers me is that, none of them in the US that is promoting this thing have gays in their family….We are solidly behind our president for doing the right thing. Can they allow their sons and daughters to marry each other like that or why are they bothered to meddle into our own affairs? I congratulate our president, our legislature, this is the right thing we are doing. We don't have to drift into a situation, where we don't have moral values, because somebody is helping you with a little money. Let them hold on to their money, we will still survive by the grace of God.”
Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto, Sa'ad Abubakar 111, through its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, said that, “We urge Muslim brothers and sisters to pray fervently especially for the Ummah against all manners of conspiracies in the name of gay marriage, and early or under age marriage as now being touted with seeming impunity in the country.''
Prominent northern politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said “President Jonathan should be commended for taking a bold step to sign the bill into law,” adding “Same-sex marriage is not only alien to Nigeria but to the entire African continent.”
Secretary General of Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr Ralph Madu said, “Don't forget that culturally, morally and biblically, it is not right; we cannot swallow everything from Europe and America. These are some of the things they brought to us and want us to swallow. The president and the National Assembly are in the right direction as far as this matter is concern. The US is free to raise eyebrow, after all their own government is not against homosexuality and all that.”
He added, “This is the first time, we are doing the correct thing that is not in their own way of doing things. They should not forget that in certain matter like this, the tradition, culture, religion and many factors that go beyond giving money will come to play, and that is what Nigeria has done. We have no apology for that.”
The Methodist Church toed the same line. It said in a statement: “We are a church and an unrepentant standard bearer of the true gospel of God. He maintained that God, in His infinite wisdom had created the institution of marriage which must be between a man and a woman for primary purpose of procreation among other things.”
If the APC and the retinue of bigwigs it carries around do not think they should side with Nigeria and Nigerians at times like this, they should be ready to fail at the polls, come 2015. Perhaps they should consider telling their gay members to leave the party.
Babatunde resides at No. 55, Parakou Street, Abuja and can be reached via [email protected]