True leaders will rise in Nigeria

President Buhari’s picture sourced from http://www.nairaland.com

The world is always in need of a leader, it could be you. Are you getting prepared? Remember, when good people refuse to lead, bad people will!

Did you watch the European championship final last Sunday? Prior to the match, we all thought the mercurial Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) would take all the glory as usual and win the final for his country. Some people even went as far as predicting he would score an unlikely hat-trick to usurp Antoine Griezmann’s tournament record. But what happened? The unpredictable happened. Ronaldo got injured in the 8th minute.

Then an unlikely captain and leader arose in person of Nani. In fact, an unlikely match winning goal came from the boot of Eder, the least expected hero! Eder, a player who started playing professionally in 2008 with Académica, a local Portuguese club. In comparison, Ronaldo as at 2007 had won the UEFA champions league with Manchester United and was already an established superstar. In fact, that same 2008 when Eder was just starting his professional football career, Ronaldo was busy winning a Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of
the Year awards, the first of many.

But Ronaldo couldn’t save the day on Sunday, an unknown Eder did. The Portuguese football team coach, Fernando Santos was quoted by Skysports to have later said of Eder’s exploit, “When he came on he told me he would score. The ugly duckling went and scored. Now he’s a beautiful swan.”

Some people will say “this is football,anything can happen.” But to me, this is not just football, this is life! Be ready for shocks and surprises.

Between 2014-2015, Nigerians(including me) rallied round in support of Muhammad Buhari’s candidacy. What has he done so far? His government, in the most unexpected manner, has created untold hardships on ordinary Nigerians. It’s the worst in terms of citizens’ welfare since Sani Abacha’s dictatorial rule which ended through his untimely death in 1998.

The corruption fight by the Federal government is laudable and for the first time in decades of history, corrupt politicians are being held accountable for stealing public funds. But where are the monies received so far? How long before someone else steals the monies if they’re not converted into good public use with visionary plans? In the same vein are allegations of witch-hunt and insincerity in the corruption fight. Clearly, it looks so. There are many corrupt men in the government. “Nemo dat quod non habet”, you simply can’t give what you have not. Corrupt men have no moral or legal right to hold fellow corrupt men.

Apparently, President Buhari is not the leader we all envisaged. We’ve all received the shocks of our lives from the sudden and provocative removal of fuel subsidy and high cost of kerosene which leaves the poor man no breathing space. Consequently, there is higher cost in price of transportation and food yet, state workers are being owed not less than 5 months salaries in over 25 states out of the total 36. Yet electricity supply is almost at level zero while tariffs have been increased nationwide. What should the poor man now do? Commit suicide or die of hunger?

Mind you, a hero will arise in this country one day. Quote me, the people will rise up! A leader will rise from Nigeria who would liberate not only the most populated black nation in the world but Africa at large. A leader will soon rise up whose political dimension is cosmopolitan, whose ideology is liberally democratic and who genuinely loves people.

A leader will rise who is not sectional in thinking, who’s neither tribalistic nor ethnocentric and harbors no hate towards people who are not his kith and kin. A leader will rise up who isn’t interested in enriching his own pocket and his family alone. A leader will rise up who really means business and would hit the ground running. A leader will rise who really wants to help solve world problems.

Of these, I believe.

Source:

http://www.skysports.com/football/news/19692/10498236/eder-reveals-cristiano-ronaldo-predicted-he-would-score-euro-2016-winner

Eder and Ronaldo’s joint picture appear courtesy Skysports

President Barack Hussein Obama: A sellout and major mistake

I write full of disappointment! Full of anger and distraught towards our supposed role-model, angel of light and perfectionist who has proven to be unworthy of those good qualifications. President Barack Obama rode on the back of the goodwill of good people in the world in 2008, there was massive support for him. After hundreds of years of oppression of black people in the United States of America, all we wanted was a representative on that presidency seat.

As Sal Bommarito succinctly puts it,
“… to elect an African American president was a huge and very inspiring event for the country, I thought. Finally, after 200-plus years of discrimination and repression, a black man became the most powerful person on the planet. African-Americans rejoiced when this man was elected — they had a true role model. Well, the president has disappointed on this front as well.”

Tragedy is when you leave important things to attend to frivolity. President Obama has been spending the rest of his last one year of presidency, meeting with Hollywood celebrities in the White House, showing them around in a relaxed manner. Does this mean United States of America has no more challenges in its coffers? Come on, this is the world’s most powerful country! I don’t think Vladimir Putin is currently dining with celebrities in the Russian state house. We all know Obama rode on the back of these celebrities to office and their support & consequently their fan’s support gave him the needed votes, most especially the black and latino communities who listen most to Jay-Z, Jeezy, Nas et al. But if President Obama feels he needs to show his gratitude to these guys he can’t ignore the plight of millions other miserable Americans who aren’t celebrities.

Under Obama’s presidency, there has been more concerns about the mistreatment of migrants in USA than under any other President in American history. History has been good to Obama but he has not been good to history. He came at the perfect time, but instead of being that man, instead of returning the great favor bestowed on his lowly character he has decided to be a catalyst for repression. When you remain silent in the face of oppression & decide to keep mum then you are on the side of oppression. This president came into office with the impression of being on the common man’s side but he has failed, he’s no friend of the common man after all.

If I had read President Obama’s political book, The Audacity of Hope as at 2008 when it was released, I wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic as I was about his candidacy for president then. In the book, he appeared smart, intelligent & a visionary but then he showed how much of a politician he can be. President Obama is someone who would say whatever you want him to say even though he has his own reservations. He’s just like the rest of the other politicians, he’s not a saint after all.

In the Audacity of Hope, he spoke twice about Nigeria and it was not in good light. This is the biggest & most blessed country in Africa and the supposed “African-American” President Obama has no regards for its people. On page 168 he talks about USA depending on oil coming from Nigeria & other large exporters of crude oil & questioned how America’s $800 million goes into the hands of “the world’s most volatile regimes.” According to President Obama, “it doesn’t matter whether they’re despotic regimes with nuclear intentions or havens for madrassas that plant seeds of terror in young minds – they get our money because we need their oil.” President Obama has shown he cares not about what happens in Africa, millions can die but America will not budge, that’s what he’s saying. He had the temerity to also allege that USA’s dependence on oil from Africa & Asia undermines their national security. I’m an African, a Nigerian and I’m not a terrorist! Nigeria is not a threat to world security. What’s the President really insinuating, is George Zimmerman and his cohorts Africans or aren’t they threats to America’s national safety? Statements like these will always fall from the mouth of an African-American President who doesn’t see himself as an African, who has more sympathies for his white brothers than his true family. That’s why he can’t understand that Africa isn’t America’s problem, it’s the other way round.

He referred to Nigeria again on page 319 of the book, claiming that “countries like, India, Nigeria, and China have developed two legal systems – one for foreigners and elites, and one for the ordinary people trying to get ahead.” If Obama wants to berate African and Asian legal systems, what about the Judge who set George Zimmerman free to roam the streets after murdering young Trayvon Martin based on race prejudice? What of the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri recently?

What about all the injustices that goes on in USA daily, human rights encroachments in the supposed citadel of democracy? What about the oppression of black people in America which claimed the lives of great men such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., young men murdered in their prime? What about Tupac Shakur’s political murder in 1996, which was made to resemble a gang or music rivalry but no arrest has been made till now? President Obama’s USA isn’t perfect and its even more imperfect and vulnerable under his regime. Obama is going to leave that seat worse than it has ever been economically since the great depression in 1929. Politically, it is the worst in the history of the country. The country is tensed and the world, consequently is tensed. ISIS is a new phenomenon, the tentacles are worldwide and it is a result of President Obama’s lack of political will.

The page 286 of The Audacity of Hope sees President Obama himself confessing to America’s sins of tolerating and aiding juntas and despotic regimes around the world, just to oust leaders who lean towards communism. USA aided Mobutu Sese Seko of Congo DR and the despot was visited by every single American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, only Jimmy Carter was the exception. What has President Obama done to remedy those ills in the Congo? Congo was in peace before America decided to interfere in their politics. The same problems created by his predecessors, one would have automatically expected an African-American President of the USA to make things right. Isn’t it an open secret that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered C.I.A to kill Congo DR’s first prime minister and one true legitimate leader, Patrice Lumumba due to his romance with the Soviet Union? Didn’t the USA aid Mobutu and Belgium in Lumumba’s eventual cold murder? What about Thomas Sankara, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed…? It’s about time the world puts America where it belongs.

No one really cared to check deeply the character of President Obama when he came in through the back door and took over with his cunning methods. Well, I wish people did as I’m sure most Americans have also seen the grave mistake committed by now. Unscrupulous politics can get you in power but won’t allow you have the best of administrations! Obama is afraid of White America. He’s too passive and lethargic to make any solid impact and I wonder why people didn’t see this on time. The man is such an accomplished con man who has succeeded in hiding his true colors. A president who never admits failure or mistake but claim misunderstanding or blame political opponents is not fit to lead. President Obama should learn to take responsibility for his shortcomings. Some of his “misunderstandings” of the situation has actually allowed the creation & widespread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. It’s simply a case of negligence by an irresponsible and passive leader.

Sources:

10 Ways Obama Has Failed as President

http://m.mic.com/articles/61019/8-reasons-why-obama-s-presidency-has-been-a-disappointment#.pvUmfDv9e

These 4 Miscalculations Will Define Obama’s Presidency

http://opportunitylives.com/three-major-problems-with-president-obamas-isis-speech/

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/amr01/3666/2016/en/

The Youth

About three years ago, my sister came back from church one Sunday to gist me concerning one young man who lived close-by & attended same service. The young man had attended church wearing a very big & multi-coloured sneakers, funny haircut & his pants were sagged. Everything was just wrong with that gentleman that & he made it worse by making himself look that conspicuous while wrongly dressed. Immediately I heard that story that day, I tried to do my own research on sagging (also called low-riding).

As Greg Mathis puts it, “sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are sometimes prohibited to prevent prisoners from using them as weapons or committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip-hop artists in the 1990s. It later became a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society.”

Taking these points in order of appearance, why would any right thinking being want to emulate prisoners who may never even leave their maximum security cells as a result of heavy crimes? Why can’t today’s youths listen to good music and pick out vital lyrics to nourish their souls, why be swayed by showbiz? Listen to your favourite artists’ lyrics well, any artist in 2015 not singing or rapping about world peace, love, life, reality, unity, freedom of mankind etc. isn’t doing good music & doesn’t deserve an audience! This isn’t the 90s when rappers just talk about shooting each other. Lastly, I’m a very unorthodox person & revel in being rebellious especially to defend a course I believe in. Yet, I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil just to gain the world. You can’t prove a moral point by being immoral or repugnant to the society. This single point took almost half of Revd. Martin Luther King’s messages while he lived! We have to show good example.

Few weeks ago, I was in a banking hall (of Guaranty Trust bank) as early as 8:30am trying to deposit some cash before travelling. Being a Monday morning, the bank was full of customers & we had to queue. This buxom lady walked in, climbing the staircase to the customer service desk. This young lady, wearing a black top & black leggings had her butt so embarrassingly visible that even ladies couldn’t help but look amazed. She wore no under-pant, everyone know how tight leggings are & this is coupled with her sexy shape. Worst of all was the skimpy black top. Sadly, the culprit cat-walked round the bank so innocently, unabashed, not badgered nor disturbed as she stole the ‘show’ with the public display. Thank God children can’t transact bills.

I believe there are two categories of youths, namely;
1. The ordinary ones
2. The intellectual ones
These two categories consist of young people who God has abundantly blessed like He did to every single one of His creation. Failure to utilise raw talents, widen horizons and develop as a human being is what makes the ordinary youth remain in a ordinary state. Meanwhile, there’s always hope as one could move (when not too late) to the intellectual state. The intellectual youths are the ones who have surpassed the ordinary and have left to consult their brains before making decisions. The intellectual youth is a thinking human being. Before he goes to party, gets drunk or is tempted to make mistakes, he reconsiders. He learns from his past failures.

Young people spend a lot of time these days watching the newest movie series (there is a new one everyday), getting addicted to the newest stimulant drug in town, engaging in frivolities etc. I’m a youth who has been there too and we’d only continue to lie to ourselves if we put the blame on the government or the leaders alone. I’ve seen more youths in the newly-opened cinema at the Shoprite mall (largest in the country) near where I live in Ibadan than I’ve ever seen in any classroom of study! The only classes I’ve seen near what I see in that mall were those philosophy and sociology classes and that’s because about 20 departments and faculties took them. I wonder, every year universities in the country reduce their entrance cut-off marks so as to allow people get in but millions still fail! What is wrong with this generation? In 2014, over 1.5 million wrote U.T.M.E. while only about 312,000 passed. It’s just sad.

I sometimes imagine what would have happened if I actually invested the time I spent drinking lots of alcohol ( then recuperating for nearly half the next day) into something much worthwhile like more reading or research. I’d probably own a billion dollar company right now. If only youths would do things that truly last and reward the soul, not ephemeral things! Since I was a kid, we noticed I was mostly active at night & usually restless when most people wanted to sleep. This made my sister (my dear godmother) tag me as a “nocturnal being.” It could be a medical condition but I really don’t care as it doesn’t affect me. Mother tried to get me to sleep in those early years by giving me sleeping pills but I always took the pills & still be wide awake for most part of the night. As I grew up, I had to learn to channel my insomnia into good courses, such as writing articles, notes & stories all night. I’ve grown to love me. I feel blessed to have a brain that rarely wants to sleep! Life is way too short for anybody to hibernate all year long anyways.

As the founder of Initiative for Ethics and Values Orientation, Alhaji Isiaka Kehinde rightfully posited recently, “there should be a refocus on the youth ethics as it the best practice all over the world. To achieve the change we desire, it follows that youths should first change their attitudes and be ready to join the change train without any delay.” There is need for a refocus on our objectives and values, the ethical values and decisions that we hold most dearly to our hearts.

We need a huge turnaround from a lacklustre system where the first indigenous mobile telecommunications company in the country, Globacom launched the Glo/Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) which provides high speed Wi-Fi at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and neglect provision of such in Nigerian schools! I find it hard understanding why big African corporations have to continue producing for the sake of financial returns alone. If we don’t train our children, they’d grow up to steal & then squander all the money we were busy saving! By now, I expect to see the corporate social responsibility of these corporations being met.

How many primary/elementary or secondary schools in Nigeria even have Desktop computers? How many pupils have operated a PC before or have been taught with such? All these contribute to failure in the education sector and lack of development of Nigeria and Africa at large. What about the war zones in Africa? Places like South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Burundi etc. Some of these countries being among the poorest in the world! I can’t but imagine the mental state of my fellow African youths in those regions. It isn’t their fault to be born there. How can we hope to end wars in the world if a large part are still being uneducated? Isn’t that a chimera already? So far greed & inequality exists, wars will always come.

The current Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza is vying for a 3rd term in office and this has already led to bloody protests and even a coup staged in the country. At least 1000 people have died and over 105,000 fled to neighboring countries. Next thing we saw in the tabloids would be the sight of the same president playing football with his friends. I didn’t believe the news till I confirmed and saw pictures. The president is ‘balling’ while his people kill each other for his own selfish ambitions.

Typical of human beings but not restricted to Africa alone. What of the erstwhile FIFA president, Joseph Sepp Blatter who is 79 years old? A man who has been at the helms of affairs at the apex soccer body since 1998 & still wanted to continue. As if there is not a more qualified & younger person in FIFA again. What is most painful is the corruption that has bedeviled the organisation. When old men are corrupt it has a more destructive power than even when young people are corrupt. You ask why? It’s because by then young people would have lost all confidence in the system, lost every sense of mentor-mentee relationship & ‘gone!’. Meanwhile once a young person who’s still agile decides not to care anymore, the result is always fatal. It’s partly evident in the terrorism trends around the world( ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko haram etc.). The youth are the future of any nation. We all won’t be free and truly liberated till we realise that.

Let General Buhari Do It This Time!

Ever since General Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress(APC), about two weeks ago, a new air of excitement has come into the race for the apogee height of political leadership of the country come 2015. The battle is mainly between Gen. Buhari and the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who contests as the unanimous and undisputed candidate of his ruling party, PDP.
So outright, unarguable and undisputable was Gen. Buhari’s victory at the APC primaries that while he got nearly four thousand votes none of his fellow contestants got even up to a thousand votes though the primary election boasted of political giants of equal weight in person of former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, Kano state governor Rabiu Kwankaso and Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha. All these men, though consummate & seasoned politicians in their own right, what they lacked was the integrity, personality power, solid reputation, intelligence and the kind of love and respect Gen. Buhari commands from Nigerians!
More sardonic was the fact that Governor Rochas Okorocha even tried to appeal to the sentiments, hunches and prejudices of the youthful delegates at the APC convention in Lagos, by pointing out during his speech that he was the youngest of the contestants at 52 and thus, he deserved to be voted for! Well deservedly enough, his remarks were immediately met with jeers of ‘‘Arugbo la fe’’ from the crowd, which means ‘‘we want the old man.’’ Personally, I see no reason why the matter of age should always be brought into critical issues! This has continued to be our bane in Africa for years, the battle about who is older or younger! I’ve seen youthful politicians with all the hype of vibrancy, youthfulness and modern exposure who still performed woefully when given political power! A vital example might be former Imo state governor, Ikedi Ohakim.
I always make a statement within my close circle and I would make it public now. The problem I have with the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, is that despite him having been No. 2 man of this country for 8 years(1999-2007) under Olusegun Obasanjo, he did nothing to ameliorate the condition of ordinary Nigerians, he didn’t try to curb corruption, he was voiceless at a time when we seriously needed a voice to represent our collective national conscience, all he did was engage his boss then in a selfish battle of supremacy. Now, for the past few months he has suddenly become loud & vocal on social networks, especially twitter. This was another move by political hustlers of his coeval to in the die-minute associate with the youthful audience whom they initially sold-out their future while in government! I see this as a desperate move in his bid to become Nigerian President at all cost. But thanks to God, Nigerians are learning from past mistakes and this was seen in the free and fair primaries that saw Gen. Buhari victorious.
What endeared Gen Buhari to the hearts of many Nigerians are his passion and commitment to this great country which makes him still want to be President of this nation at age 72, when he could easily relax, watch tv and enjoy his pension. After all, he had tried to liberate Nigeria as military head of state in 1983 when he was just about 40 but the shenanigans disrupted his works. Gen. Buhari ran though unsuccessfully for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections and persistently enough he is in the bid for the 4th time, a bid which looks like his last move to lead a nation that is the bad mess of corruption, austerity measures, devalued currency, insecurity, erratic power supply, bad roads etc. Like my mentor, Femi Adesina, rightfully posited in his last Friday column on 19th December, 2014, ‘‘We need Buhari more than he needs us!’’
Look at Gen. Buhari’s records from when he was Military Governor of the newly created North-Eastern State during the regime of late Gen. Murtala Mohammed , Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources under then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976, head of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1977 till when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under General Sanni Abacha. His records were sparkling clean just like the white traditional attire he is fond of wearing.
Gen Buhari’s transparency and leadership qualities were top notch even as Military Head of state between 1983 to 1985. He is generally revered for his ability to keep the country afloat by making progress through discipline and sheer economic ingenuity by rejecting the IMF loan and refused to adopt IMF conditionalities to devalue our Naira. His government reduced inflation by refusing to devalue naira thereby, curbing imports of needless goods, curtailing oil theft and using counter trade policy to barter seized illegally bunkered crude oil for needful goods like machineries, enabling it to export above its OPEC quota. Can we compare Gen. Buhari’s government to our current President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that would quickly jump at any foreign aid without hesitating to look at the possible future consequence of such loans enslaving the country?
Gen. Buhari polled 12,214,853 votes to come close at second position to President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections. That he did under a tiny and politically fragile Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) and given the national strength of his current party APC, I see Gen Buhari tripling that figure come 2015. By now I expect the ruling party, PDP to know they are in for serious business against a very focused Buhari and APC and to put more salt to PDP’s open injury, the era of election rigging has gone in Nigeria and the electorates are ready to witness the freest and fairest general elections come next year. What the APC demonstrated at their convention last two weeks was also a sign of great things to come in Nigerian politics, that Nigeria can actually get things such as elections right!

Poem on Nigeria

It is a land flowing with milk and honey
Where the vegetation is lush and evergreen
All the year round
A land surrounded by oceans
Where calm waves make ripples
Over the surface of the sea
Where peace and harmony holds sway
A landmass inhabited with great people
Right from the seat of authority in Abuja
To the home of solid minerals in nasarawa
Peacefulness permeates the landscape
Passing through the gateway state in Ogun
Known for its craft and industrial nature
To the sunshine state in Ondo
Where the sun shines on all the produce
To produce a bountiful harvest
We finally reach the heartbeat of the nation
Whose capital is the home of crystal and tradition
Where the king is highly revered and honoured
Now to the state that has a big heart in Delta
Where you are fed different delicacies like the oha soup
Warri, where the unique and indigenous waffi
Originated from
What about the liberal state, Kaduna
Where trades in clothes and gold go on
Even the centre of commerce in Kano
Anambra is the home for all
Where you can dwell in ecstasy
Adamawa is the highest peak of the nation
Akwa-Ibom is the land of promise
Yes, a promise of hope
The land is fertile and full of rich promise to the agile
Benue, the food basket of the nation
Where the mango is as big as coconut
Bayelsa is the glory of all lands
Yobe is where the young shall grow

They say you’re still crawling on your feet, Nigeria
They say you’re corrupted among the comity of nations
Yet I look at them for their obvious ignorance
Because they have failed to notice the inherent qualities
In a single entity of your caliber
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That you’re the only nation after independence
That still has your unity intact since independence
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That the rule of law is being upheld
That the wicked and arrogant are being reprimanded
They have forgotten in a jiffy
How you hauled the banking system
And rid it of corrupt officials
They’re comparing you to America
Which started on a shaky ground
Worst in corruption more than you in their hey days
But has now become stabilized 250years after
But, Nigeria you’re only 50
The cynics have forgotten
Even though they hold that magical box called handset
That you have arrived in the world of global communication
What about the oil-rich Niger Delta
That has provided our foreign oil reserves
They have forgotten and I’ll remind them
That you’re the giant of Africa
They have failed to see
The historic sites nestled amid rivers and rainforests
Even the breathtaking mountain vistas
Even the miles of pristine beaches
The exotic national wildlife reserves
When tomorrow comes
You’ll still take your place
Among the comity of nations
You’ll occupy your glorious position
Our youth shall be proud of her heritage

Twitter: @tom_olas
Facebook: tomiwaolasiyan

Nigeria passes law banning homosexuality

President quietly signs new legislation outlawing homosexuality and imposing prison terms of up to 14 years for people prosecuted under the new act

A new law in Nigeria, signed by the president without announcement, has made it illegal for gay people to even hold a meeting. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act also criminalizes homosexual clubs, associations and organizations, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail.

The act has drawn international condemnation from countries such as the United States and Britain.

Some Nigerian gays already have fled the country because of intolerance of their sexual persuasion, and more are considering leaving, if the new law is enforced, human rights activist Olumide Makanjuola said recently.

Nigeria’s law is not as draconian as a Ugandan bill passed by parliament last month which would punish “aggravated” homosexual acts with life in prison. It awaits the president’s signature.

But Nigeria’s law reflects a highly religious and conservative society that considers homosexuality a deviation. Nigeria is one of 38 African countries – about 70 percent of the continent – that have laws persecuting gay people, according to Amnesty International.

The Associated Press on Monday obtained a copy of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which was signed by President Goodluck Jonathan and dated Jan. 7.

It was unclear why the law’s passage has been shrouded in secrecy. The copy obtained from the House of Representatives in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, showed it was signed by lawmakers and senators unanimously on Dec. 17, though no announcement was made.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States is “deeply concerned” by a law that “dangerously restricts freedom of assembly, association, and expression for all Nigerians.”

Former coloniser Britain said, “The U.K. opposes any form of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.”

A statement from the spokesman for the British High Commission, traditionally not identified by name, said the law “infringes upon fundamental rights of expression and association which are guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and by international agreements to which Nigeria is a party.”

The British government last year threatened to cut aid to African countries that violate the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. However, British aid remains quite small in oil-rich Nigeria, one of the top crude suppliers to the US.

Washington-based Human Rights First urged President Barack Obama to “consider all avenues for response,” saying leaders such as Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, will be watching.

“This law threatens the very livelihood of LGBT people and allies in Nigeria, and sets a dangerous precedent for persecution and violence against minorities throughout the region,” said the organization’s Shawn Gaylord.

The motivation for the Nigerian law is unclear, given that the country already has one making homosexual sex illegal. And gay people were not demanding to be married in a country where being gay can get a person lynched by a mob. In parts of northern Nigeria where Islamic Shariah law is enforced, gays and lesbians can be legally stoned to death.

Some have suggested the new law in Nigeria and the proposed one in Uganda are a backlash to Western pressure to decriminalize homosexuality. Several African leaders have warned they will not be dictated to on a subject that is anathema to their culture and religion.

Yahya Jammeh, the president of Gambia, has said homosexuals should be decapitated.

In June, Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, argued with Obama about the subject at a news conference. Sall told the AP afterward that other countries should refrain from imposing their values beyond their borders.

“We don’t ask the Europeans to be polygamists,” Sall said. “We like polygamy in our country, but we can’t impose it in yours. Because the people won’t understand it. They won’t accept it.”

Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, has not publicly expressed his views on homosexuality. But his spokesman, Reuben Abati, told the AP on Monday night, “This is a law that is in line with the people’s cultural and religious inclination. So it is a law that is a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people. … Nigerians are pleased with it.” Abati said he has heard of no Nigerian demonstrations against the law.

The few Nigerian gays and human rights activists who tried to give evidence last year during the debate in the House of Assembly were heckled and booed until one broke into tears and another could not be heard.

Nigerians are the least tolerant nation when it comes to gays, with 98 percent surveyed saying society should not accept homosexuality, according to a study of 39 nations around the world by the U.S. Pew Research Center.

Under Nigeria’s new law, it is now a crime to have a meeting of gays, to operate or go to a gay club, society or organization, or make any public show of affection.

In a recent interview, Makanjuola, the executive director of the Initiative For Equality in Nigeria, had said: “If that bill passes, it will be illegal for us to even be holding this conversation.”

The law now says, “A person who registers, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies or organizations, or directly or indirectly makes public show of same-sex amorous relationship in Nigeria commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a term of 10 years.”

Anyone convicted of entering into a same-sex marriage contract or civil union faces up to 14 years imprisonment.

Some critics have suggested the anti-gay law was designed to distract attention from Nigeria’s many troubles, and to win Jonathan favor with powerful churches that influence voters. His party has fractured ahead of 2015 elections over his expected plan to run for re-election.

Nigeria is enduring an Islamic uprising in the northeast that has killed thousands of people, deadly ethnic-religious clashes in the center of the country, and renewed militancy in the oil-rich south, where activists are demanding a bigger share of oil wealth, which is now being squandered by widespread corruption.

Makanjuola said those who will suffer most under the new law are poor gay Nigerians. Many rich ones have left the country, or say they will fly elsewhere to have sex, she said.

The court of the European Union recently ruled that laws such as Nigeria’s could provide grounds for political asylum.

A statement by the Nigerian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Intersex Diaspora urged lawmakers not to make them refugees.

Criminalizing same-sex relationships “turns us into asylum seekers in other countries,” it said. “We visit home with trepidation because at home we have to live a life full of lies and deny who we are for us to be accepted. Why do we want to keep subjecting our citizens to such psychological and emotional torture?”

Culled from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk