Monday, 18 March 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan pardoned a Rapist and Pedophile; Not a Homosexual!

The Premium Times headline of March 18, 2013, Jonathan pardons homosexual rapist, triggering fresh controversy” smirks of ignorance and irresponsible journalism. President Goodluck Jonathan did not pardon a homosexual; he pardoned a RAPIST who is also a PEDOPHILE. Why do people keep confusing homosexuality with rape and pedophilia?

Homosexuality is CONSENSUAL ADULT same-sex relationship, what has that got to do with sex under duress with under aged, which the facts of Bello Magaji case showed?

Mr. Magaji, a former military police officer attached to the Lagos Garrison Command, was convicted for serial homosexual intercourse with four students of the Army Cantonment Boys Secondary School in Ojo Cantonment in Lagos.

Rape is the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse. There is nothing known as HOMOSEXUAL RAPE, Rape is rape, the gender of the perpetrator or victim has nothing to do with it. Gender or sexual orientation is not the factor that determines if you had been sexually harassed or molested; lack of consent is the decisive factor.

Sexual Orientation i.e. Homosexuality, Bisexuality, Pansexuality or Heterosexuality has nothing to do with sexual harassment. If anyone grabs your ass in public or even in private without your consent, it does not matter whether the person is heterosexual or homosexual; it is sexual harassment and assault. 

Pedophilia is the act or fantasy on the part of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with a child or children. What connection (if at all) do consenting same-sex adults who want to live their lives together have with a pedophile? None whatsoever!

The facts of the case spoke of how Mr. Magaji intoxicated the young men, all from poor background, with alcohol, making them dizzy and then forcing them to have homosexual intercourse. He would then offer them token financial inducement to meet family obligations.

The Supreme Court report narrated, "The common evidence of Emmanuel and Joseph is that they were asked to drink a bottle each of small stout which intoxicated them; it was in their state of intoxication that the appellant performed the dirty act of sodomy on Emmanuel, and others" The Court report offers, in many of its lines, chilling narratives of Mr. Magaji as a sex pervert.” 

There is no heterosexual rape, homosexual rape or Bisexual rape, rape is rape. Why on earth would this be referred to as homosexual rape? Please let Nigerians educate themselves, in my book ‘Freedom To Love ForALL: Homosexuality is Not Un-African' (available on Amazon), I explained the difference between homosexuality, rape, pedophilia and bestiality. I’d recommend the book to every Nigerian. 

Also, Nigeria judiciary should wake up from its Stone Age approach to issues of sexual orientation. In 2008, the Supreme Court in their appeal ruling in the case of Mr Mogaji, characterized homosexuality as a “beastly, barbaric and bizarre offence.” A panel of five Justices lead by Justice Niki Tobi subsequently threw out the appeal of the former military police major and affirmed his five-year jail term. The Supreme Court justices should have made it clear the case was not that of homosexuality but of rape and pedophilia.

Justice Niki Tobi , in his judgement said “Carnal knowledge with the male sex is against the order of nature and here, nature should mean God and not just the generic universe that exists independently of mankind or people.” The order of nature is “carnal knowledge with the female sex” he argued in the judgement.

Nigerian judges and lawmakers need to take their religion and God(s) out of our courtrooms and chambers. There should be total separation of state and religion, quoting from your holy books when delivering judgments or making laws, belongs to the dark ages. Your religion is not my law. 

This tacit support of Sodomy law is indeed what is bizarre. They need to take a lesson from their counterparts in South Africa!

As Justice Albie Sachs of South Africa said in ‘National Coalition for Gay and Lesbian Equality and Another v Minister of Justice and Others’ – 

"The invalidation of anti-sodomy laws will mark an important moment in the maturing of an open democracy based on dignity, freedom and equality. As I have said, our future as a nation depends in large measure on how we manage difference. In the past difference has been experienced as a curse, today it can be seen as a source of interactive vitality. The Constitution acknowledges the variability of human beings (genetic and socio-cultural), affirms the right to be different, and celebrates the diversity of the nation." (CCT11/98) [1998] ZACC 15; 1999 (1) SA 6; 1998 (12) BCLR 1517 (9 October 1998)

It is indeed sad that most Nigerians are more horrified about the thought of two adult guys having consensual sex than the thought of an adult person intoxicating, raping and taking advantage of a child. In this horrifying case of gross child abuse, all they see is homosexuality. They are not even bothered about the rape or child abuse, just the thought of same-sex persons having sexual intercourse, be it consensual or non consensual. 

I hope Nigerians and the international community see this for what it really is; a presidential pardon of a rapist and pedophile, homosexuality has no business in that headline. Sensational journalism, especially at the expense of a vulnerable group of people should be condemned.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

In defense of “My Oga At The Top”

 For goodness sake what is all this hullaballoo about the ‘My Oga at the top’ interview? I have read the many reports and jokes on it, and for the life of me, I still don’t get what is so funny about it that they have to make a national mockery of the man.

Why are Nigerians whipping themselves into a viral frenzy because a senior public official did not know the web address of his organization when asked during an interview?

 I mean, T-Shirts, viral videos, music remixes to mock the man and endlessly harassing his family members online just because he did not instantly provide the web address of his organization? It wasn’t even as if he did not know it at all, at least he mentioned half of it, which actually is the most significant part i.e. www.nscdc. Anyone who seriously needs to check out the website knows Nigerian government official websites usually end in It is not even as if there is constant electricity to enable one visit websites in Naija.  Last time I was in Nigeria, I couldn’t even make a single blogpost because it took forever for my blog to load!

I think this bullying of this unfortunate man is just hypocrisy on the part of many Nigerians. Some claimed it is not just about him not knowing the web address of his organization, but about him calling his boss “My Oga at the top”?

But really, what is so shocking about a Nigerian calling his ‘oga’ erm… sorry, boss, ‘My Oga at the top’?

Truly, I am baffled by all this melodrama, it seems to me like Nigerians would seize at any opportunity to try and forget the hardships in their life by focusing on inconsequential things. And most times, Nigerians pounce on vulnerable preys to make a meal of, just to forget their own miserable existence.  The famous ‘suffering and smiling’ song of late abami eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, comes to mind here.

Ok, let’s look at this again. The man said “My Oga at the top” during a TV interview conducted in Nigeria by Nigerian journalists, for a Nigerian audience. Since when is ‘my oga at the top’ an alien language Naijas do not understand?

Speaking from personal experience, for a decade, I was an Assistant Secretary of the then progressive, respected labour organisation, Nigerian Labour congress. And for about 6 years out of these 10 years, I was Executive Assistant to the then Nigeria Labor Congress president, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who is presently a second term governor of Edo state. Staff members usually call him Pressi or Oga. My late comrade, Olaitan oyerinde, who was his Special Assistant alongside his duty post as International officer of the congress, also used to call him “oga”. Whenever we were discussing him or making his itinerary, we would say things like ‘You know pressi no go like that”, or “Oga dey office?’ Even long after he was elected governor, I still called him Pressi. More than 90% of the staff refers to him as Oga, and that tradition still extends to the present president. Would it really be so shocking if one of the senior staff members in a relaxed interview referred to him as “My Oga”? Would that necessitate a viral online attack and a call that the person be relieved of duties? Would that necessitate being suspended or sacked from duty? Truly Nigerians, I am struggling to understand the rationale behind the attack!

Why is a Nigerian official referring to his boss as “My Oga at the top” now a case of bully and harassment? I recollect that even comrade Adams Oshiomhole used to joke and refer to me as “My Oga” whenever we attend International Trade Union Congress meetings because I was the Chairperson of the ITUC Youth committee and also a Vice president of ITUC. At the international arena, I was his “Oga” and he would say that even during NEC meetings. So what really is the big deal about someone saying “My Oga at the top” on a Nigerian TV interview?

Is it really a case of inefficiency as so many are now touting it to be? Just a few days ago in London, I attended an event where three diplomats from Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana were the plenary speakers. While the representatives of Ghanaian and Kenyan ambassadors answered their questions without much palaver, the Nigerian ambassador representative was busy praising his ‘Oga at the top’ although the question he was asked had nothing to do with praise singing.  When he was called out on his asslicking hypocrisy, he turned very aggressive, which of course is typical Naija behavior to cover ignorance. 

Anyway, that man is still our representative at the Nigerian embassy in London, he was a total disgrace at the event and there are many more like him in power. They are political appointees benefiting from the decaying nature of our rotten democracy.  At least if we wanted to make a case sample of inefficiency by making someone a scapegoat, there are many that would fit the bill. Why go after a man who really has not committed any serious blunder in this particular case?

Also, many Nigerian women refer to their husbands as “My Oga” which is basically an endearing term. I never liked the term “Oga” when used to refer to a partner. I understand the power of language and how subconsciously we start believing and internalizing words which we normalize through everyday use. I have no problem using “Oga” to describe my immediate boss because after all, ‘oga’ in Naija parlance means ‘boss’ in English language.

Also, when Naija men want to take style find out whether you don marry or still dey single, they would say stupid things like “Your Oga dey try o, see as you dey shine” or “How your oga?” Most often than not, I give such people an icy stare that says “How much more stupid can you get”? Trust Naija guys to make retorts like “Rude girl, no wonder you never marry” and /or “who wan marry you sef, you think say I wan toast you?” Lol!
Anyway, not to digress too much, abeg, why una dey hang this man because him no know the full name of his organization’s website and for calling his boss “My Oga”? The irony is that many of those laughing at him can't even construct a flawless sentence in English language, just check out their nefarious comments on facebook, twitter and naija gossip blogs.

Seriously I would be surprised if 85% of senior officials in Nigeria know their organizations’ website address. Abeg, ask the Nigerian ambassador to UK what is the High commissions’ web  address, I’d really be surprised if he got it right. This is not just about public officials, even within the private sectors in Nigeria, the ‘Ogas’ do not bother with the IT section of their organizations, that is why they hire IT personnel mostly young guys (ladies hardly get IT jobs in Nigeria) to design the website and tweet to the world about their services. The real ‘Ogas’ have no time to seat on the internet facebooking, tweeting and posting on websites, they are too busy negotiating contracts and bringing in money to pay salaries. In most cases the first and last time most of them saw their official website was when the smart guy who suggested the website idea to ‘Oga at the top’ got the fat contract to develop the site (but commissioned an IT geek whom he paid a meager sum to do the job) finally showed the oga the finished product, with special focus on ‘Oga’s’ picture in his flowing Agbada and owambe cap, occupying half of the website page.

 Abeg Nigerians, stop your hypocrisy, websites is not that big a deal in Nigeria, especially with the older generation and organizations. The older generation is not obsessed with online usage as the younger generation. This is one reason why most offices have young people managing their IT departments. This does not mean the geeks get to be Head of Public Relations overnight; you leave that to the old guys/gals who have paid their dues and earned their promotions.  Of course I know in Niaja, it is the case of ‘who you sabi’, which is unfortunate, but truly, you do not just come out of school to be H.O.D of a public or even private organization, you’ve got to work through the ranks and garner the necessary experience, and in some cases, kiss some ass. The older generations who have worked and served their way to the top are struggling to fit into this internet age. It does not mean because they do not speak the ‘’ language or tweet like a bird, they are useless to their motherland.

I know that there are groups whose members do not know their organizations websites name by heart. There are organizations websites that I actually designed myself but whenever I want to send the name out for reference, I counter-check to make sure I have not made any mistake in the name I typed out. So really Nigerians, why are you getting all twisted over this non-issue and making a big deal out of it? Are you so short of fun and laughter in your life that you had to pick on a man to collectively bully and make fun of?

Bullies are basically emotional cowards and one thing I know for sure is that many Nigerians are not just hypocrites they are also emotional cowards. Stop being a bully, just grow up.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Order your sizzling copy of 'Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality is Not Un-African! on Amazon. Thanks!

 About the book
 Sexuality rights remain a controversial issue in many parts of Africa; it is not just a controversial issue but also a taboo subject. 

Many countries in Africa still criminalize homosexuality. Sodomy laws remain part of the criminal laws thereby making it legally possible to persecute sexual minorities. For example Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ghana all have laws under which homosexuality can be prosecuted. In South Africa, where the constitution recognizes same-sex relationships, gays and lesbians are often attacked, molested and persecuted for their sexual orientation.

Many African societies do not provide enabling environments to discuss sexual orientation issues. Homosexuality has been condemned by many African leaders as Immoral, Un-African and a 'White man's disease'.

In Nigeria, lawmakers are resurrecting a version of a widely condemned anti-homosexuality bill. Nigerian Lawmakers in a bid to rally popular support needed a scapegoat and the LGBT community provides an easy target. 

Poverty, corruption, unemployment, lack of security and the growing menace of Boko Haram are some of the many problems bedeviling Nigeria as a nation. Rather than focus on these urgent problems, Nigerian lawmakers decided once again to come in a 'straight' mass orgy of corruption to bully the gay minority; a cause always guaranteed to provide the otherwise unpopular lawmakers with cheap, majority support. When will they stop discussing who is sleeping with whom and start making laws to move this underdeveloped, oil rich nation forward?

In the book FREEDOM TO LOVE FOR ALL: Homosexuality is not Un-African, Yemisi Ilesanmi takes a critical look at Nigeria's 'Jail the Gays' bill. In this interesting collection of her articles on Nigeria's Same Sex Marriage Prohibition bill, she makes a brilliant case for LGBT Rights as Human Rights and effectively debunks the myths surrounding homosexuality in Africa.

Yemisi Ilesanmi also raises concern on what she termed 'The deafening silence of Nigerian Human rights activists on the homophobic bill'. She sheds light on homophobia in Nigeria and the forces driving the 'Jail the Gays' bill in Africa.

She wrote: "I wonder why it is not considered politically incorrect to ask if Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals or Transsexuals have equal rights as heterosexuals. If we are agreed that no one should be discriminated against, why are we still debating if Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals are entitled to Human Rights? Last time I checked LGBTs are people too! Well, debate is good because in some countries like Nigeria, many are yet to be convinced that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals are actually human beings."

About the author:

Yemisi Ilesanmi is an experienced advocate, trade unionist, human rights activist and a passionate poet. She holds a Masters of Law degree in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights.

Yemisi Ilesanmi writes and speaks on a range of issues including workers rights, gender and sexuality issues. She is a passionate campaigner for equal rights, social justice and poverty alleviation.

The promo video gives a glimpse into the sizzling contents of the book 'Freedom To Love For ALL: Homosexuality is Not Un-African'. You can order the Paperback or Kindle version on any of the Amazon links below. Your copy of the book is only a click away! Thanks.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Why “Thank God I am still better off than some” is a selfish prayer and attitude.

Since being forced into the unemployment market, I have noticed an increase in people telling me to be thankful to God that I am still better off than others. Of course they know I am an atheist, but believers eagerly pounce on any opportunity to tell atheists that 'God' is great. I have even been told that the rough patch I am going through is God’s way of showing me he is the Almighty God, and he wants me to recognize it , go on my knees and accept him as God and only then would he make my path smooth again. LOL! OK, I won’t even go into the childishness of such a God, the morality of anyone who thinks such a God deserves to be praised or why God takes on the personality of his believers/creators. That is a story for another day. Now, let us not divert too much, the topic for today’s discussion is ‘Why “Thank God I am still better off than some” is a selfish prayer and attitude. Here is an analogy to get us started.

In a village, lives an all powerful king who has the powers to make all things happen. He is famed as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, he could grant every heart desire if he so wished. Villagers often gather in his golden palace to praise him, pray and give thanks to him.

The king’s golden palace has many pews; villagers are seated according to their ranks, with the most favored seating in the first row.

Those seated in the front pew thank him for the opportunity to cruise in private jets with him. Since they believe the more you thank him for favours you enjoy, the more favours you get in return, they also make it a duty to thank him for making them better off than those in the lower pews.

Those seated in the second pew thank him for the opportunity to go on rides with him in fancy cars like limousines. They pray that he elevates them to the front pew so they could cruise with him in private jets. They also thank him for making them better off than some other villagers.

Some seat on the third row and thank him for the opportunity to walk with him. They pray that he grants them the chance to ride with him in fancy cars or even fly with him in private jets. They also thank him for making them better off than others.

Some seat way behind and thank him for allowing them to have a seat in his presence.  They pray that they get to walk with him, ride with him and fly with him. They also thank him for making them better off than other villagers behind them.

Some stand with no place to seat. They hustle to catch a glimpse of the great king. They thank him for at least giving them good pairs of legs to stand in his magnificent presence. They pray to him to elevate their rank to seat, ride and fly with him. They also thank him for making them better off than those behind them.

Some crawl to see the all powerful king in his golden palace. They thank him for blessing them with good eye sight to behold his magnificence. They pray to him to elevate their rank so they could stand with him, ride with him and fly with him. They thank him for not making them blind and for being better off than some others behind them.

And down and down the rows it goes, with everyone having one thing or the other to pray and hope for but never forgetting to thank the all powerful king for making them better off than someone else down the line.

One day, there was an accident that involved many of the villagers. Many of them were affected, some fatally, some very gruesome, some not as gruesome as the others. The accident had varying effects on the villagers. Someone who was in the front row was demoted to the fourth row, he could no longer fly with the all powerful king, he couldn’t ride with him, he couldn’t seat with him but at least he could still stand and see him, some other person involved in the accident was not that lucky, he lost his leg, so he could no longer stand on his feet to see the powerful king. Another one lost his sight, so he could no longer behold the powerful king, and with the tragedy came demotions to the back rows.

Suddenly a villager thought about all the changes and lost opportunities and asked why they couldn’t just ask their all powerful king who was after all omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent to make everyone equal.

Why did there have to be rows in his palace segregating people?

Why didn’t the king create a palace big enough to accommodate everyone equally?

Why must there be villagers who ride with the all loving king and those who cannot?

Why wouldn’t the king treat everyone equally?

Why must there be people who are worse off than others?

Why must the villagers thank this omnipotent God in whatever situation they are in?

Why couldn’t they pray to the king to make everyone equal?

The villager with the brain wave explained to everyone that equality would mean the segregating rows would disappear, everyone gets the same treatment and no one ever has to be demoted because there won’t be anything known as demotion. Accidents, economic recession and all other factors that could cause demotions could be erased with just a click of the king’s omniscient finger. So the villager with this brain wave wondered aloud why they couldn’t just ask their all omniscient king to make everyone equal.

The other villagers were taken aback by this suggestion. They wondered if that would actually be a good idea. The villager with the brain wave took it further and wanted to know why other villagers thought it was not a good idea to ask their all loving king to make everyone equal.

Is it because somehow they love being in the first row?  

Is it that they love the privileges they have over others, because even if they are just in the third or fourth row, there is still someone they are better off than? 
Does being 'favoured' somehow gives them a sense of privilege and power, which makes them aspire to be even better off than everyone else?

Is it that asking the king to make everyone equal would mean the loss of power, privilege and ego?

Would it mean the loss of pride they feel at being the most loved favorites of the king’s subjects?

Are these decent, noble feelings or just selfish feelings?

The villager with the brain wave suggested that if all the villagers chose to ask their king to make everyone equal, no one ever needs fear demotion or accidents which means everyone gets to benefit from the situation. But the villagers dismissed his logic as blasphemy and the rants of a fool.

Now, input this scenario with religious believers who sincerely believe that their God is all powerful, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, whom they claim love every of his creature. When believers find themselves in difficult situations, they often say things like:

“Thank God, for not making me one of those people that are worse off than me.”

ThankGod I survived that accident even though some people died, some were disabled, but I only got off with a scar, thank you God for loving me that much”.

Hmmm…how much more selfish could that sound?

Ok, if you believe that this God is all powerful and answers all prayers, why not just ask him to remove all accidents? Why not pray to him to remove pains, diseases, inequality etc. Oh, please don’t tell me this all powerful, all omnipotent, all loving God who you claim created this magnificent universe in just 7 days, is still angry because Adam and Eve ate a forbidden fruit that made them discover knowledge!

Oh, this all powerful God is still so hurt by that fabled act of disobedience that even though he slept with the virgin fiancĂ© of another man,  to give birth to his son, who actually is himself, so he could appease himself for the original sin committed by Adam and Eve,  yet somehow he is still so hung up about the eating of the forbidden fruit that he would continue to allow pain, suffering, hunger, accidents, diseases, children dying of cancers, children starving to death all because he still couldn’t find it in his all powerful,  omnipotent,  omniscient, all loving heart to forgive the human race for the original sin of Adam and Eve.

This omnipresent God will continue to visit the sins of the fathers upon the sons and on generations unborn because Adam and Eve gave in to the seduction of a talking snake to eat the forbidden fruit which he had commanded them not to eat?

Thus he has prepared an everlasting burning hellfire for those who do not worship him the exact way he wants to be worshiped. He keeps the furnace of hell burning , so he could finally throw everyone who did not thank him enough into everlasting hell fire, in the meantime he takes as much time as he wish for his famed second coming as he is still busy accumulating  candidates for his burning hellfire.

Do you truly believe this God has a moral ground to stand on?

Do you think this egoist you are thanking for making you better off than others deserve to be thanked?

Are you taking moral lessons from such a being with such low moral code?

 Ok, you lost your job, on your way home you passed a homeless person living on the floor of the train station and you thought well at least you are still not homeless. So you got home, knelt down and thanked God for making you better off than the homeless person. Does this God preen and pat himself on the back for being good to you?

Do you preen and feel like the favored child of this God, at least more favored than the homeless man? 

Is favoritism a good thing?

Should a loving Dad, King or God practice favoritism?

Should a decent person demand favoritism?

Should a decent person not feel sad that even though they are in a bad situation, there are actually people who are worse off than they are?

Is it something to be proud of that we are better off than others, especially when it is not due to any fault of those worse off?

Each time you seat at your bountiful table, do you thank your omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God for not making you one of the starving children in Africa?

Should a decent person who has a magical deity who could make all things right not be concerned about making this world a better place for all rather than thanking this God for making them better off than others?

Yes, it is good to appreciate our positions in life; it is good to be grateful for what we have and what we can do. I appreciate that I can see and admire the beauty of nature, that I am in good enough health to walk, skip and run around without aids. However I do think it would be utterly selfish of me to thank an all powerful God for making me better off than others, rather than ask my all powerful God to make others be able to enjoy everything I also enjoy.

"Thank God I am better off than others" is not a prayer of appreciation, it is simply another way of saying “Thank you God for making me better than others” AND THIS IS A VERY SELFISH ATTITUDE.