Nigeria’s Awkward Relationship With Priorities

The year 2016 has seen Nigeria take the highest prizes in hilarity and pettiness. Almost everything is a joke around here. If you see it any other way, you’re probably going to end up dead from hypertension. Naw, don’t do that to yourself because ‘it just ain’t worth it.’

Our priorities as a country are simply messed up. Minors are routinely kidnapped and forced into marriage by monarchs old enough to be their grandparents, and we have no problems with it. Carry on, Emir! But when two adults of the same sex  decide to be together, all the law enforcement agencies resurrect from the dead, pursuing the ‘criminal homosexuals’ from state to state all over the country for engaging in ‘illicit sexual activity’.

This brings to mind the illegal reportage on Linda Ikeji’s blog of the private wedding of a Nigerian-born man, who got married in the United States to his American lover. Linda Ikeji without permission illegally acquired pictures from the wedding and posted on her blog, eliciting unbelievably hateful remarks and comments from her homophobic followers. The outpouring of hate from Nigerians who had no relationship whatsoever with the men was overwhelming. Listen to Eric:

“I felt lost. I still get a terrible feeling in my stomach just a week and a half later. I hate being helpless. How could our tiny, personal wedding in Rochester mean so much to hateful people on the other side of the planet that they would find us on the internet so they could harass us?”

These same Nigerians condone all the unbelievable crap thrown at them back home. These hypocritical bunch live right next door to pedophiles and rapists and extremely corrupt government officials who continue to rape them with impunity on a daily basis. And even after the men contacted the ‘notorious blogger‘ directly via email, requesting that their pictures be taken off the blog, she completely ignored their request, and till date the post remains on her blog.

Recently two women were declared wanted by the police over alleged lesbianism. They were pursued all the way from Lagos to Port Harcourt. Indeed our police can be very zealous, just never about the right things. In their reports, the police used words such as ‘dastardly act’, ‘criminal activity’ to describe something as mundane as sex between two adults. I have no words to describe the kind of disgust and shame I feel for my country right now.

Do not forget that earlier this year, our ignoble Senate threw out a bill proposing gender equality in the country, on the flimsiest grounds. The Gender Equality bill, which could have changed the lives of millions of Nigerian women and girls, was killed off for unbelievable reasons such as, ‘most of its provisions were in conflict with the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria’, and ‘it will contradict the provisions of the Sharia Court of Appeal which is part of the 1999 Constitution’. Why on earth should a supposedly ‘secular’ country integrate an obsolete, violent Sharia Law into its constitution in the first place? This country seems to be a badly plotted horror movie.

These same lawmakers find the promoters of MMM more threatening to the existence of the nation, and have ordered a crackdown on their activities. At this point, you should not be surprised by the unrivaled pettiness of our ‘hallowed chambers’. It’s ‘how we roll’.

Now the Jigawa State governor, Mr Badaru, who in August released 280 million Naira for the 2016 hajj operation (he also empowered 200 women with 600 goats), plans to build 3 mosques in each of the 30 constituencies of the state, making a total of 90 mosques. 90 mosques! What the hell? What is going on, people? Jigawa State is one of the more educationally deficient states in the country. Yet, their greatest need at this point is more mosques and more visits to Mecca. Who needs schools or hospitals or jobs? By now, you should either be laughing hysterically at the joke called Nigeria or crying uncontrollably at the wanton foolishness displayed in high places.

To crown it all up, the lead character of this sitcom relaunched a ‘war against indiscipline’, 31 years after he first introduced it, recreating a ‘task force’ that will supposedly ensure orderly queues, clean streets and punctual meetings across the country.

Without mincing words, Nigeria is simply a country without direction, without a national consciousness, and confused about its priorities. Ayo Sogunro’s tweet summarizes this long epistle in a few words:

Redeemed Camp causing traffic is a social problem. Two men kissing is not a social problem. Our progress is fixed by how we define problems.

It is saddening that we have accepted these conditions of living unconsciously, and do not demand or even expect better from ourselves and our leaders. We rationalize the most unthinkable things and vilify the normal. Until we stop the lies we tell to ourselves  everyday and face our reality, nothing might change, really, and we’ll just keep going in circles.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Richard says:

    I quite agree with you but for that criticism on the relaunch of War Against Indiscipline. I see nothing wrong with that if only it’s carried out effectively.
    As for all other points mentioned, trust me, our country is the best place on earth for religious Hocus-Pocus, state of the art hypocrisy and all its concomitance.

    1. Deji says:

      Well, thanks for reading Richard.

      Why do we have the Police and the quintillion other law enforcement agencies?

  2. femistrange says:

    I am really happy you wrote this post. I often wonder about this particular topic. If we look at the country as a whole there are pressing issue such as electricity, water and communication yet the priorities are always elsewhere.

    I had no idea about the gender equality bill. That is quite sad.

    1. Deji says:

      I’m glad you agree. Thanks for reading.

  3. cyebog says:

    I can’t help but agree with you. We’ve lost it as a nation. We don’t have priorities set in order to take us out of the quagmire we found ourselves.

    My colleagues who are supposed to be educated cant understand why rape cases should be given priority to anti-gay bill. They cant understand why churches should be taxed.

    Religion has caused more harm than good.

    Nice peice you wrote there.

    1. Deji says:

      Thanks, Cyebog. You’re absolutely right. We’ll keep talking, working, and hoping.

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