-By Simon Kolawole
How can a peaceful protest end up with killing and maiming, burning and looting in a matter of days? For those of us who have seen plenty “peaceful” protests in our lives, it is not too hard to explain. The moment you hit the streets and fail to read the road signs — so that you will know where and when to turn, reverse or park — you are at the risk of losing control of the steering wheel. You will end up carrying all kinds of passengers — thugs, hoodlums, gangsters, cultists, politicians and all manner of opportunists. In fact, you may unwittingly provide cover for state agents to target the assets and possibly the lives of perceived opponents and rivals. So it goes.
In the best of times, peaceful protests can go awry — much less in these hard times, with oil prices down, government revenue falling, the currency losing value, prices of goods and services rising, and, to add fuel to the fire, COVID-19 taking our breath away. A majority of the people are already bleeding and groaning with the removal of subsidies on petrol and electricity. And with the huge population of unemployed, underemployed and unemployable youth, we knew all along that an uprising was a strong possibility at some point. That a peaceful protest against police brutality, tagged #EndSARS, would spark off this massive carnage was what we probably did not budget for.
With the protests infiltrated by rogues, the anarchy was inevitable. My biggest fear was military involvement. Those who witnessed the massacres by soldiers during the pro-June 12 protests in 1993 and other riots under military regimes would agree with me that it was not a pretty sight. I was praying that troops would not be called in to quell the #EndSARS protests. But I was wrong. On Tuesday evening, soldiers invaded the Lekki ground and started shooting. Initial reports said there was a massacre, although there is yet no identified victim: no names, no addresses, no relatives; just grainy videos with tailored commentaries. Hopefully, we will have a much clearer picture soon.
This is my “executive summary” of the #EndSARS campaign. It started as a genuine protest on social media. It went to the streets. Government saw the danger and accepted the five demands of the protesters. Police disbanded SARS. States set up judicial panels to probe police brutality. Despite getting these concessions, protesters remained adamant. Then came the partisan and sectional dimensions — with #BuhariMustGo and #EndNigeria added to the hashtags. Mayhem started. Looting. Shooting. Lynching. Curfew. Then Lekki happened. And President Muhammadu Buhari, silent for so long, finally addressed the nation, basically declaring: “The fire next time!”
After Buhari’s broadcast, I could see defeat on the faces of the youth. Many started tweeting about relocating to Canada, declaring a total loss of faith in Nigeria. #ItIsFinished began trending. This is sad but I would like to appeal to the Nigerian youth not to give in or give up. The #EndSARS protest did not fail. For one, the protesters got the government to act on their demands — which is a major victory by any definition. SARS has been disbanded. I can bet that whatever police unit replaces SARS will come under stricter scrutiny. Judicial panels have been set up. We expect to see the murderous police officers face justice. Police reform is now an imperative. These are big wins.
Moreover, the youth have shown that they have the ability to organise. These are the same youth we condemn for voting more in Big Brother Naija than in general election. We have often described them as lazy, entitled and obsessed with Instagram, fast cars and bling. By starting a campaign against SARS and taking to the streets to protest police brutality, they brought the country to a halt and attracted international interest. Everybody started paying attention to them. We started celebrating the coming of age of our youth. Older people started scrambling to associate with the cause. Ladies and gentlemen, this is surely a positive development. Let’s not discard it.
What next? According to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released before the 2019 general election, the youth — described as those between ages 18 and 35 — made up about 51 percent of the 84 million registered voters. If you expand the age bracket to 50 years (to accommodate other young Nigerians like me), the figure jumps up to 81 percent. That is mind-boggling. What the youth should be thinking now is how to use these humongous figures to bring about new things in Nigeria in 2023 — rather than flee to Canada. They should realise Canada was not built in a day. Its people fought hard to build the country with their sweat and blood.
Just a brief journey into Canada’s history: there were two rebellions against “bad governance” between 1837 and 1838. The rebels were arrested after the uprisings and put on trial. Samuel Lount, one of the organisers of the Upper Canada Rebellion, was publicly hanged. He is regarded as a martyr till today. Over 100 rebels were sentenced to life imprisonment. What the rebel leaders wanted was political reform. They had a common agenda for Canada. Even though they paid the ultimate price, Canada was never the same again. Reform came. Today, Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world. But Canada was not always like this. People paid the price.
What’s my point? The youth must begin to conceive a new political order and the role they can play in birthing it. The #OccupyOjota protests of 2012 helped in building the momentum that uprooted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from power in 2015 and installed the All Progressives Congress (APC). In 2023, the #EndSARS momentum can become a movement that will help uproot both APC and PDP from power and birth a new political culture where government officials will begin to pay less attention to the perks of office and more to their responsibilities to Nigerians. And I mean at all levels — local, state and federal. That would be the best legacy of #EndSARS.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it would be for Nigerian youth to unite in the quest for good governance! They can be more politically active. They can be more involved in choosing councillors, council chairpersons, state lawmakers, governors, federal lawmakers and the president. It does not mean only the youth will occupy these positions. In addition to contesting, the youth can engage with the aspirants and candidates, scrutinise them, advance the agenda of good governance, monitor the performances of those elected or appointed, and mobilise for recall or removal if they fail to deliver. Canada was not built in a day. Nation-building is not a sprint. It is a marathon.
I hope the youth have also learnt their lessons from the #EndSARS fiasco. One, you don’t go to war without visible leadership. You will end up creating anarchy and mob action. We can now see the consequences. Things completely went out of control and there was nobody to call the mobsters to order. Leadership is key in every life endeavour. Two, you don’t go to war without a plan. There should be Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C. I did not see any plan apart from “we no go gree o”. Three, because of lack of leadership and strategy, the protests continued when they should have been called off. Now over 70 people are dead. This is extremely disturbing and disheartening.
Four, you must take your wins and know when to retreat without surrendering. When SARS was disbanded and judicial panels set up, that was the time to retreat. That was the time to say: “We are suspending the protests. If nothing changes, we will return to the streets.” Some people were even demanding that Buhari should sign an “executive order” to show that SARS had been disbanded. It got that ridiculous. Some rejected the panels because there was no “youth” and declared a boycott. I have come to learn that boycott is not an effective strategy. Campaign for youth inclusion in the panels but mobilise to engage with the process and follow through to get justice.
Five, you must stay the message. Nigerians were united in the call to stop police brutality. It was nationwide. Contrary to the propaganda, there were #EndSARS protests in Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Adamawa and some other northern states. It was not a purely southern thing. Unfortunately, some people sneaked in their #BuhariMustGo and #EndNigeria agenda and things began to fall apart. More so, protesters started losing focus when they moved from the unifying agenda against police brutality and expanded it to an omnibus campaign for restructuring and ending corruption and bad governance. It is impossible to achieve everything at a go.
Finally, the youth must learn from their elders. As the Yoruba would say, no matter how many Gucci shirts a child has, he can never have as many rags as an elder. Some youth actually think the story of Nigeria started in 1999 or 2015. Actually, people have been fighting for a better Nigeria for 100 years. Our forefathers played their roles and left. We are still fighting for a better Nigeria. We cannot all adopt the same style and strategy. Ultimately, we need to engage constructively to change the rigged and warped system. From my little experience, starting a mass action without a strategy, without a fall-back plan, and without giving an inch can only lead to anarchy. Lessons learnt?
Letter to Governor Ademola Adeleke, by Tunde Odesola
Letter to Governor Ademola Adeleke, by Tunde Odesola
Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, November 24, 2023.
At the risk of being accused of ‘famzing’ the Osun State First Family, I will, nonetheless, stand at the Aisu Junction, off the Gbongan-Osogbo Road, which leads to a stretch of houses belonging to the Adelekes, open my mouth yakata and proudly declare myself a friend of the illustrious Adeleke clan of Ede.
My esteemed Governor, I have no relationship with you, but your eldest brother, the great Serubawon of Osun politics, Alhaji Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, even in death, remains an unforgettable friend, who humbly related with me, despite his towering political height.
Having friends in equal measures within the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress in Osun State, I’m like the swivel door that sees indoor and outdoor secrets, but which remains dispassionate because I’m sworn to the journalism creeds of fairness and balance called s’òtún, s’òsí, ma ba ‘bìkanjé.
Permit me to clear the insinuation that the brouhaha drowning common sense in the State of the Living Spring, following your unwise sacking of the Osun State Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo, is related to your relationship with Chief Ramon Adedoyin, the proprietor of Hilton Hotel in Ile-Ife, where a postgraduate student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Timothy Adegoke, was killed in November 2021.
My investigation shows you have no such relationship with Adedoyin to warrant sticking your neck out for a murderer. I know that the son of a late Balogun of Ede, Chief Raji Ayoola Adeleke, can’t eat anything harder than plantain. Your round cheeks, chubby physique and break-dancing prowess should’ve told the perpetrators of the allegation that your passion doesn’t include murder.
If they allege that you danced on water or rolled on your head with your legs oscillating faster than a colonial ceiling fan, Osun people wouldn’t have doubted it. But it’s a lie that you want Ojo out as CJ because she jailed Adedoyin.
Going by the judgment of the Osun State High Court, and as the Lord lives, Adedoyin will die by hanging, a method designed to break the neck and choke a person to death as efficiently as possible. To get his comeuppance, the hangman’s noose will first encircle Adedoyin’s neck. He will be dropped a distance higher than his height through a trapdoor and the rope will hold his body in sudden fatal suspension, as the noose snaps the cervical spine that connects his head to his neck. He will die like a cockroach within a minute or two.
Your Excellency, I wish to tell you the truth in a way that Serubawon wouldn’t see me as being too harsh or not respecting our relationship. I’m torn between the devil and the deep blue sea. But I won’t sell my soul to the devil nor jump into the sea. I’ll tell the truth in a palatable way and keep under lock and key the horsewhip I used on that hemp-smoking monarch who banned Oro worshippers from practising their religion.
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By birth and residency, I’m a citizen of Lagos but by ancestry, I’m an Osun indigene. I deliberately stay away from Osun politics and seldom comment on statecraft except on highly unignorable issues like when the immediate past Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable Timothy Owoeye, bathed with blood in public. Owoweye is my friend but I couldn’t overlook his indiscretion. I wasn’t as miffed with Owoeye as I was miffed with the APC leadership that made him Speaker despite the bath in a pool of blood. Even if Owoeye was a victim of swindlers, the APC shouldn’t have made him Speaker.
Baba Bayo, I’ll give a few instances to show how differently Serubawon ran his show. He had given a car to the late highlife maestro, Ede-born Pa Fatai Olagunju aka Rolling Dollar, and had kept quiet about it. I was at the country house one day for an interview when he told me about the gift to Rolling Dollar. First, I was shocked that Dollar had no car. Second, I told Serubawon that the gift was newsworthy. “Tunde, shey o feel pe ka publish e?” he asked. I said yes. “Ok, let’s publish it,” he agreed.
The story made such a good read in PUNCH that Adeleke invited me to the permanent orientation camp of the National Youth Service Corps in Ede, where he donated cars, buses, motorcycles, sewing machines, grinding machines, deep freezers, etc to his constituents because Baba Dollar was present at the event. I had a lengthy interview with the octogenarian Dollar at the event.
Boda Nuru, you didn’t handle the CJ issue well at all. I’ll give you another example of how Serubawon handled a tricky case. While on a governorship campaign tour shortly after Osun State was created out of Oyo State in 1991 by ruthless ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, Serubawon’s convoy was halted by some supporters at a stream in a town (name forgotten). Serubawon, who had returned from the US to contest the election, said, “They told me to step out of the convoy and come into the stream to drink water so I could feel their plight. Tunde, I had to alight o. The road divided the stream into two. On one side of the road was the ‘good’ water from the stream while on the other side of the road was murky water in which people washed cars, motorcycles and clothes. I walked to the ‘good’ side, cleared the water with my hands and drank o, Tunde.”
He asked, “Do you know what happened after I entered my car? We moved away from the stream and I quickly told my people to get me antibiotics from the First Aid Box in one of our vehicles in the convoy.” “Did you have stomach upset thereafter?” I asked. “No, I was fine,” he replied, smiling.
Mr Governor, the political empire you inherited from your late charismatic egbon was united, with the whole of Ede-North and Ede-South local government councils always behind him. Today, Ede, the home of professors, SANs, technocrats, business moguls and military generals, is not as united as it was during the time of Serubawon. For instance, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Mexico, Chief Adejare Bello; Brigadier General Abiodun Adewimbi (retd.), Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof Siyan Oyeweso, among others, are some of Ede indigenes who were part of the Serubawon political family but who are not with you today.
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Last born, you will recall that the father of Chief Justice Ojo, Balogun Osungbade, became the Balogun of Ede after your father, who became Balogun in 1976, passed onto eternity in 1993. However, Ojo’s purported removal was as shoddy as the removal of the Rector, Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Dr Tajudeen Odetayo, on July 11, 2023, and the removal of the Head, O-Ambulance, Dr Segun Babatunde, both of which started with unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
Baba B-Red, Serubawon, who was older than his immediate younger brother, the father of superstar singer Davido, Mr Adedeji Adeleke; his younger sister, Yeyeluwa Modupe Adeleke; and yourself, with a gap of two years between each sibling, wouldn’t have replaced Odetayo, who has a PhD with an Ede indigene, Mr Kehinde Alabi, who is less qualified than the rector, deputy rector and many other lecturers of the institution.
Mr Jackson, I pray your administration wouldn’t be remembered only for àlùjó, shaku-shaku and fàájì repete because your government appears lethargic to deep thinking. How do you explain, Your Excellency, that the petition written by one Comrade Damilola Esekpe, a director of communications of a faceless agency in Abuja, was what the Rt Hon. Adewale Egbedun-led Osun State House of Assembly used to decide the fate of Ojo? How? Also, the statement containing the allegations for which you suspended Ojo didn’t mention the agency that Esekpe works for in Abuja. And this was the statement used in deciding the fate of the CJ!? How more childish can a government be? The PUNCH correspondent in Osun State, Mr Bola Boladale, corroborated my investigation that the statement containing the allegations against Ojo, signed by Esekpe, and circulated by OSHA, didn’t say the agency Esekpe works for. How infantile!
This shoddiness strengthens the claim of victimisation against the CJ just as it raises an eyebrow at other sackings by the Adeleke government.
After he lost re-election into the Senate in 2011, Serubawon still went ahead to distribute hundreds of cars, buses, refrigerators, sewing machines, etc to his constituents. I asked him why he went ahead to distribute the largesse instead of returning them to the sellers and asking for refunds. He said, “Many of these people you see, their hopes depend on these things. I have promised them, I must fulfil my promise, win or lose.” That’s the largeness of Serubawon’s heart. He wasn’t petty and narrow-minded.
Justice Ojo isn’t a saint. If Adeleke wants to catch the annoying monkey, he should come with clean hands. Knee-jerk reactions to issues show immaturity and unpreparedness.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: @Tunde Odesola; X: @Tunde_Odesola.
Travelling through Nigeria in Tinubu’s yacht, by Tunde Odesola
Travelling through Nigeria in Tinubu’s yacht, by Tunde Odesola
Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, November 17, 2023.
By the Rivers of Babylon, there I sat down; yeah, I wept, when I remember N-i-g-e-r-i-a. Verily, verily I say unto you, these words that I write, are words of redemption and wisdom.
Therefore, I beseech you, brethren, to keep these words in your hearts, inscribe them in stones and scribble them on scrolls.
I exhort thee, keep the stones and scrolls, do not hide them under the bushel, set them on the hill for light to shine on them and bring people to know the truth, for only the truth shall set the land free.
Like the hands of a sinner spread wide on the cross, River Niger and River Benue divide the land called Nigeria into three unequal communities of the North, West and East. The Fulani dominate the North, the Yoruba have the West, and the Igbo populate the East. Each region and people had their strengths and weaknesses. The land knew peace.
But when political iniquity became official, and the supplications of the oppressed minorities rose to the ears of the Most High God, the portion of the land that flows with oil, milk and honey became gazetted as the Niger Delta, a vast treasure that was initially part of the eastern and western regions.
And the Lord regretted creating man because the heart of man was perpetually evil. So, the spirit of the Lord hovered upon the face of the waters, inspiring patriots to call traitors to repentance and justice.
It came to pass that there arose a mutiny within the Nigerian Army when some young, idealistic officers, mostly from the East, toppled the civilian government of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, a northerner, who was killed, and an easterner, Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, ruled in Balewa’s stead. The January 1966 coup broke the embankment that had dammed the river of hate and suspicion from flooding the country.
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Six months later, a countercoup executed mainly by Hausa-Fulani soldiers was nicknamed a revenge coup, in which Aguiyi-Ironsi was killed. The fallout of the countercoup fed fodder to the cannons of a Civil War, which boomed between July 6, 1967, and January 13, 1970, as crazed soldiers played football with three million Igbo skulls felled by battlefield bullets, ethnic cleansing and starvation.
In anger, the Lord God of Host turned his eyes away from the people and the land, and He allowed jackboots in military uniforms to chastise them with scorpions because the innocent blood of coup victims and Biafrans refused to drain into the earth.
Here are the names and surnames of the rulers of Nigeria after the Civil War, in order of their ascension. Yakubu, the son of Gowon; Murtala, the son of Mohammed; Olusegun, the son of Obasanjo; Shehu, the son of Shagari; Muhammadu, the son of Buhari; Ibrahim, C the son of Babangida; Ernest, the son Shonekan; Sani, the son of Abacha; and Abdulsalami, the son of Abubakar. All these rulers ruled in the Old Testament.
But Babangida was wiser than a snake. Indeed, he was a deceiver extraordinaire. His bright smile has the cooling effect of iodine on a fresh wound, before the stinging pain. For is it not written that Babangida’s regime was the bloodiest in the 63-year history of Nigeria as many soldiers died in alleged coup plots while 163 senior soldiers died in a plane crash on September 28, 1992?
“They got me,” were the last words of Dele Giwa, the Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine after a letter bomb blew open his entrails in his Ikeja home on October 19, 1986, shutting his eyes in brutal death. Giwa’s deputy and comrade-in-pen, Ray Ekpu, described the killing as ‘state assassination’, adding that the Friday preceding the Sunday Giwa received the letter bomb, he (Giwa) was grilled by the State Security Service, which accused him of ‘arms importation, planning a socialist revolution, doing a follow-up story on Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, who had been removed by President Babangida, and planning to employ a former Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Alozie Ogbugbuaja, who said the expertise of the Nigerian military top brass was in drinking pepper soup and planning coups. Ekpu said Giwa was only guilty of one of the four allegations, that is, planning to employ Ogbugbuaja.
After he annulled the June 12 presidential election won by MKO Abiola in 1993, and the backlash thereof was unbearable, Babangida planted on the throne, Sonekan, who was blown out of power by the hot air from the nostrils of Abacha. Abacha ruled for just four and a half years before karma handcuffed and flung him into the bottomless pit reserved for the shameless. Nothing confirms the looting of public treasury by successive Nigerian governments than the unending return of billions of dollars stashed in foreign countries by Abacha. Remember, Abacha spent just four and a half years in the vault and he became the Glutton of All Time!
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I am a full-blooded Nigerian. I have no family roots in Niger Republic like Buhari, or ancestrial link to Mauritania like Peter Obi’s presidential running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed. Nigeria is my only home. I feel anguish daily when my hands hit the bottom of my empty trouser pockets, groping for unavailable naira, whose value equals the clap of thunder to the deaf.
Hope is dead in Nigeria’s New Testament. The testament of the latest Republic. Obasanjo’s civilian government opened the floodgates of corruption in the electricity sector, the privatisation process and the National ID card scam. Governments, thereafter, stirred the broth and served the booty, strangulating the economy.
Sadly, the chickens are back home to roost. Now, everywhere you turn, cries of economic hardship have taken over the land even within the Emi Lokan ruling party. Curses have replaced compliments. But me, I thank God I still have my mind intact. Many Nigerians don’t. Whenever I see any of the corrupt clique of 99.9% Nigerian leaders – former or present – I say in my mind, “Look at this one, it’s only God that knows how much of Nigeria’s money that this thief has stolen. Ole!” Treasury looters know what Nigerians think of them but they’re just shameless and unperturbed because the river of justice in the land has frozen.
The economy is gasping. Fathers have turned to beggars, and wives have turned to harlots. Children are deflowered for a bite of Gala. Commodity prices reside in the sky. Yet, our President buys a $6.1m yacht, and our senators and representatives crave N58bn SUVs, all living the life depicted in Luke 12:19, “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”
Brethren, look closely at the pictures of their merriment, the voter is missing. So, tell me, what does it profit a voter, who supports bàráwò candidates, and is dehumanised after elections?
When the earth brimmed with iniquity, Noah stood up to be counted for righteousness. He built a three-deck ark with gopherwood and ushered in two of every kind of living creature, including the members of his family.
When Nigeria brimmed with escalating prices of goods, soaring foreign debts, double-digit inflation, and starvation, Tinubu, lawmakers, ministers and members of the ruling class tightened the belts harder on the masses. To cater for the insatiable gluttony, they have demanded underfunded federal universities to submit 40% of their meagre IGR to a federal purse which, characteristically, would lack accountability.
You don’t need righteousness to enter the presidential yacht. You need a brainless head and a soulless body. You need to make money your god and not flinch to proclaim all the seven colours of the rainbow black – like our judges who sell elections like pure water hawkers in traffic snarls, smashing and grabbing, kówó sá ti pe.
I thank God I have my mind intact. In my mind, I can see Noah in his robe, hewing wood and fetching water, sweating, sawing and nailing. I can see him clutching a bell, trekking the length and breadth of the land, calling the people to come and enter the ark. Noah’s ark is for salvation.
Tinubu’s yacht is for enslavement. He doesn’t need gopherwood or God’s directive to build his yacht, he needs dollarhood. He doesn’t need the masses inside his toy, he needs his people.
Barely a month left in 2023, the year of his election, Tinubu has bought a yacht for himself, SUVs for lawmakers, with the $2.176 trillion 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Act he signed a few days ago, and the masses are left wondering ‘is this not the ‘son’ of Abibatu Mogaji, who claims to build modern Lagos? Emi Lokan doesn’t only mean ‘it’s my turn’; it also means ‘I’m badly hit’. Ask the Yoruba.
True, it’s Tinubu’s turn but the masses are badly hit. True.
Since Tinubu performed so well in his first year, may he sail safely in his yacht and perform much better next year.
Email: email@example.com; Facebook: @Tunde Odesola; X: Tunde_Odesola.
Why Nigeria and others must not sign the LGBT agreement
Why Nigeria and others must not sign the LGBT agreement
NOVEMBER 15, 2023, might be a tragic day for Africa and the entire Caribbean and Pacific region. It is the day set aside by the European Union (EU) to pressure or coax African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries into signing the deceptively and euphemistically crafted LGBT agreement between the EU and ACP countries. You may be well aware that over the past few months, several meetings have been convened between the EU and ACP parliamentarians aimed at getting ACP leaders to sign the controversial LGBT agreement. For example, a crucial meeting between the EU and ACP Ministers took place in Brussels on November 28, 2022, to potentially exert greater pressure on ACP Ministers to persuade ACP heads of governments to sign the contentious LGBT agreement. Another meeting with the same objective took place from June 19 to 28, 2023, in Brussels. The aforementioned meetings ended in a deadlock as ACP parliamentarians and leaders vehemently opposed the signing of the LGBT agreement. This is why we are shocked to hear today that November 15 has been scheduled for signing the offensive LGBT agreement. The pertinent questions are: Have ACP heads of government compromised their earlier stance on this matter and now agreed to sign the controversial LGBT agreement? If so, why? Did African leaders consult their respective parliaments and their people before agreeing to sign the agreement? Why is the African media not reporting the LGBT negotiations between the EU and the ACP countries since 2021?
One thing is certain. If the ACP governments succumb to the EU’s intimidation and sign the LGBT agreement, it will spell doom for the ACP countries. Why? Because the agreement is primarily aimed at the homosexualization and LGBTization of ACP countries. This agreement, which takes the form of a treaty, is deceptively and deviously worded to impose the EU’s LGBT agenda on ACP countries. This is why ACP countries must unanimously rise up and resist the signing of this agreement. Why? Because once the agreement is signed, it shall automatically override their Constitutions and national sovereignty of the ACP countries. In contrast to the Monroe Doctrine, Nigeria operates the Dualist doctrine under international law. Consequently, by virtue of section 12 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, a treaty signed by Nigerian political leaders does not have the force of law in Nigeria until it is ratified and domesticated by the National Assembly. However, the LGBT agreement has been so craftily worded that once signed by Nigeria and the ACP countries, the agreement automatically supersedes their respective domestic laws and establishes LGBT as their new law.
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It is unbelievable that the West has elevated the barbaric act of inserting a penis into the anus or fingers into the vagina as a civilizational value. The anus is meant for waste elimination; waste comes out from the anus. However, today, the West is trying to teach us the opposite. Regrettably, the West is attempting to convince us that engaging in anal intercourse is a form of statecraft that supersedes more important matters.
As far as the EU, the U.S., and many parts of Europe are concerned, any country not endorsing the practice of inserting a penis into the rectum is seen as not fulfilling its international obligations. The LGBT countries may appear as stars that reflect light, yet they are waterless clouds carried away by the winds of eroticism, uprooted and twice dead. They resemble fruitless trees in late autumn or wild waves of the sea, casting off the foams of their vomit in public. What a shame! Where has public shame gone?
For example, U.S. President Joe Biden has made LGBT rights the centerpiece of American foreign policy. This is why Biden has ordered that the American flag be flown alongside the LGBT+ flag, portraying America as an LGBT-friendly country. The US government is now persecuting Uganda for enacting anti-homosexual laws in Uganda. In his recent remarks, Biden has claimed that LGBT rights are universal international law. He does not seem to understand that international law is binding upon the consent of nations. He is unaware that the consensus reached at various United Nations Conferences is that the laws passed in every developing country, including Nigeria and other African nations, must reflect the diverse social, economic, and environmental conditions of the country, while respecting their religious, cultural backgrounds, and philosophical convictions.
Therefore, Nigeria should not sign the LGBT agreement on November 15 or at any other time. The same applies to other African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Instead of succumbing to the EU’s veiled intimidation and blackmail to sign the agreement, they should assert their sovereignty and walk out on the EU on November 15. Nigeria is a sovereign country, as are other African nations, the Caribbean, and the Pacific countries. We should not be dictated to by the EU. We are no longer under the tutelage of our former colonial masters. If the EU decides to stop providing financial assistance due to our refusal to sign the LGBT agreement, they may proceed to do so. However, we cannot yield to the EU’s cheap blackmail and sign the agreement. In any case, LGBT practices are illegal in Nigeria, and likely in all African countries except South Africa. The concept of same-sex cohabitation or marriage is abhorrent to Nigerian and African sensibilities. Above all, it represents a complete departure from African civilization.
I have recently participated in a conference in London organized by world-class public intellectuals. Renowned psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson and others who spoke at the conference expressed concern that Western civilization has eroded. Speaker after speaker at the conference lamented that the West has lost its history and culture and emphasized the importance of preserving one’s civilization as a significant investment in this life.
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In the feverish pursuit of LGBT sexual pleasure and slavish freedom, the West has lost its core values and identity. Should African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries join the West in this madness? No, we must stick to our own values and traditions. It is suicidal to import practices and lifestyles that are alien to Africa and seek to impose them as laws, all in the name of observing international obligations. It is obvious that the EU has no respect for the religious and philosophical convictions of the African and Nigerian people; otherwise, it would not have been stampeding us to sign the LGBT agreement. Come to think of it, the EU lacks the locus standi to seek to impose on African countries aberrations that are alien to the lifestyle of the African people. Laws are made in consonance with the values of a people. Every country is interested in protecting what it holds dear or its cherished values. The EU has no right to dictate to us the kind of laws we should enact for our people. LGBT is not our value. Gay marriage is not our value. Neither is transgenderism our value. If the West is sinking to the bottomless pit of human civilization with LGBT and transgenderism, it should sink alone; it must not seek to sink together with the African, Pacific, or Caribbean countries.
Happily, at the time of writing, Namibia had pulled out and sworn that it will never sign the LGBT agreement. It is not unlikely that other countries will follow suit and pull out from signing the agreement or signal their intentions to refrain from signing the agreement. In refusing to sign the agreement, Namibia said that the agreement is “not in line with the Namibian Constitution, its legal framework, nor its intended relations and cooperation policy.” It also said that the agreement does not have a definition section to ensure that all parties understand the terms of the agreement and what they entail. According to Namibia, the agreement “refers to a commitment to the full and effective implementation of future outcomes of Beijing and ICPD review Conferences that may bind parties to future processes and outcomes that cannot be predicted at the present moment.” Namibia also complains that the agreement “may elevate non-binding agreements/strategies/initiatives, progress, and processes to a legally binding position or treaty status.
Nigeria should follow the good example of Namibia in this regard and refrain from signing the agreement. Other ACP countries should follow suit. The resolve of Namibia to exercise its national sovereignty and refrain from signing the agreement is praiseworthy. To sign the agreement is tantamount to giving the EU a blank check to fill any amount of money it likes on it and cash it in a bank. Namibia is right. The agreement is a Trojan horse. Apart from LGBT, other provisions of the agreement legalize transgenderism, human capital reduction, and queer behaviorism in a country that signs the agreement. By signing the agreement, a country consents that its children should be taught how to practice “safe”-sex, “safe”-abortion; how to do masturbation, kissing, hugging, penis touching, vagina touching, and how to avoid getting pregnant through sterilization, and so forth, all in the name of sex education or Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). It is obvious that this agreement specifically targets the children of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific for corruption and destruction. The agreement threatens to undermine the national sovereignty of the Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific countries that are parties to the agreement. It is targeted at overriding their domestic laws and constitutions as well.
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In the light of the foregoing, the African Parliamentary Forum, in conjunction with African lawyers and some notable African NGOs, organized the first-ever African Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Family Values and Sovereignty in Entebbe, Uganda last year. The conference’s communique later gave birth to what has been christened as the Entebbe Declaration. The Entebbe Declaration has not only unequivocally rejected the LGBT agreement but has also urged the ACP governments not to sign it. Annex 1 of the Declaration states as follows: “WHEREAS the ACP-EU treaty’s supremacy clause invalidates provisions in any existing treaty with which it conflicts, thereby also violating the national sovereignty of countries and the integrity of regional and sub-regional bodies, including the African Union and the integration of regional economic communities. WHEREAS the ACP-EU treaty violates cultural and religious values and undermines the integrity of African family values by mandating the implementation of sexual and reproductive health services and “Sexual and reproductive health and rights” (SRHR), deceptively requiring the legalization of abortion, prostitution, same-sex marriage, special LGBT “rights,” and child sexualization. THEREFORE, we collectively urge all heads of African ACP States not to sign the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and urge their respective parliaments and legislatures, which are the national law-making bodies of African States, to refuse to ratify this deceptive treaty.”
In conclusion, the EU should leave ACP countries alone in this LGBT matter. Life is about living and letting live. The EU should allow ACP countries to make their own decisions. Practices like LGBT lifestyles cannot be referred to as “human rights”; otherwise, deviant behaviors such as embezzlement of public funds, graft, scams, murder, theft, terrorist attacks, human trafficking, and so forth could also be referred to as “human rights.” You may be aware that as far back as June 29, 2016, the prestigious and highly esteemed European Court of Human Rights, sitting in Strasbourg, France, delivered a historic and unimpeachable judgment that LGBTQ+ is not a human right. The court, which is the highest court in Europe, held that “marriages” entered into by people of the same sex cannot be considered as marriages. As important as this judgment is, the liberal media, such as pro-gay CNN or pro-gay BBC, and others refused to report it.
Therefore, following the good example of Namibia, Nigeria, and the other ACP countries, we must not sign the LGBT agreement. The truth remains that when democracies lose their constituting philosophical and legal principles—when wrongs are described as “rights,” and the tools of law are deployed to do and justify evil—democracies metamorphose into LGBT totalitarianism.
***Sonnie Ekwowusi is the chairman, Human & Constitutional Rights Committee, African Bar Association.
Why Nigeria and others must not sign the LGBT agreement
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