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Features: Nigeria Got It Right: Thank You Mr. President
Jan 17, 2014


During a family meeting, the father of the house announced that after consultations and seeing how other families were faring, he and the wife had decided that every child of the family must  go to school. Those who were not of school age must bear it in mind that when they come of age, they must go to school. The punishment for contravening the family law was that the family will not feed you until you change your mind to go to school. Some of the neighbours were livid. “This is injustice!” “Why must you starve your children simply because they refuse to go to school? Where is their right to choose?” “What if any of them wants to become a mechanic or a carpenter?” The man answered, “This is my family and they are my children. They bear my family name. I have a duty to train them well.”  One of the boys who never liked school took it up with the father. “Daddy, I am 19 years old now and according to the constitution of the land, I am no more a minor. I have my rights and I am going to enjoy it now”. In annoyance, the young man stormed out of the house. When he returned 4 hours later, the gate was locked against him. When he knocked on the door, the father answered through the window; “I thank God that you know the constitution. I also know my rights and what the constitution says and does not say. So I am exercising my right. I decide who comes to my house and who does not”.    

 Nigeria is right. The National Assembly got it very correct. Thank you Mr. President of the Federal Republic for signing into law the Anti Gay/Lesbian laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What is the problem of the rest of the Western world on this matter? The people of a nation decide that a particular way of life is not good for them. They make a law against it to guide their way of life and other nations are angry at them. These laws will not be enforced in their own country but Nigeria. Is there something about this way of life of Homosexuality that they are not letting us know? Whose agenda is it? Haba!

Definitely a country is not an institution for teaching of morality but every nation must be built upon certain moral principles. The founders of America, the driving force of the Western ideals at the moment established their country on the principles of prayer and freedom. Ronald Reagan said to Americans on January 26th 1984 “We are a nation under God. I have always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way… George Washington believed that religion, morality and brotherhood were the pillars of society. He said you could not have morality without religion”. That was why they chose as the motto of the United States of America “IN GOD WE TRUST”. But it seems that all these have been forgotten by the current generation of the American citizens. They know the difference between freedom and license only in the dictionary.

From the first time this law was first introduced in the Nigerian National Assembly and the many public hearings and memoranda were received on it, the Nigerian Parliament, especially the Nigerian Senate led by the Senate President has never hidden its passion to see it passed. In the debates and threats from the international community, organizations and partnering agencies, the Nigerian Senate stood like a colossus. I remember the President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator David Mark saying, It is against our religion and culture in Nigeria for a man to marry or have sexual relations with another man and the same with women. If any country feels otherwise, we have no apology. When they threatened to withdraw international financial support to our programmes and projects because we have refused men to marry men and women to marry women in Nigeria, Senator Mark speaking on behalf of  his colleagues in the parliament said, To hell with your aids. After all, if this country was properly arranged, we should be giving aids to other countries not receiving from them. Waooooo! What a patriotism! It was one of the moments I stood up before my television set, clinched my right fist in power salute to the Nigerian Senate and shouted David Mark’s Idoma traditional title “Okpokpowulu k’Idoma”. And the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not disappoint us. He did not succumb to the threats. He signed the bill into law. Yes! The Nigerian nation was also built on the principles and morality of our fathers, the cultures of our people and the fear of God. Nigeria is a deeply religious country. We do not just mouth it, we live it. It is God who has kept us going. It is not the strength of our currency, or the volume of our crude oil. It is rather the oil of anointing on this nation! It is the potency of our daily prayers. In every government house, in every office, in every establishment in this country, prayer and Masses are daily said and encouraged. The government structure encourages it. When a Muslim becomes the head of the government of the nation, Islamic prayer activities are daily and weekly reported from Presidential Villa. When a Christian becomes a head of government, Christian prayer activities are also reported from the Villa. The Senate president is a Catholic Christian and daily Masses are offered in the Chapel in his Apo Mansion. Every state government house in Nigeria has chapels and mosques to encourage devotion to God. This is because we believe in what Ben Franklin, at the time they were struggling to draft the American Constitution said to those who were working with him that “without God’s help, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”  Nigerians would not just want to pray and pretend to believe in God, despite the many personal and community atrocities against God and each other, we still avoid what is corporately avoidable. This is one of such. All religions believe and speak against it. Even religion apart, to common sense it is repulsive. If gays and lesbians should accept that they are deviants and that they need help, it is understandable. What religion and common sense cannot understand and accept is the pride and arrogance of that clearly repulsive maddening way of life which they call orientation. It is no sexual orientation but pervasion. That is what the people and government of Nigeria are saying and the world should listen to us.

The first few days after I arrived in the United States of America the first place I went, I did not believe what I saw on the Television in the night. For the first time in my life, I saw women and young girls appearing on the television advertising themselves as prostitutes and soliciting for patrons. I complained to my American friend who told me that that is why they believe that the nation is in trouble. It is freedom taken too far. Nigerians and Nigerian governments have being fighting armed robbery, kidnapping, religious extremism, violence. If Boko Haram is religious extremism, Homosexuality, gay and lesbian union and pornography are sexual extremism that is detrimental to the society. We shall also fight it with same venom. Lagos State and other state governments have being fighting against nude clubs, parlours and bars. This is also commendable. Are there Nigerians who love going to these places, of course! Some are even government functionaries and elected members of government structures and political appointees. That does not make it right. And every government in Nigeria is fighting against it.

General Romulo was once the Filipino Ambassador to the United States of America. He also received the American Medal of Freedom for being a friend of the USA in their time of war. When he was going away from Washington after his tenure as a diplomat there, he gave this farewell statement. “I am going home, America. For seventeen years, I have enjoyed your hospitality, visited every one of your fifty states. I can say I know you well. I admire and love America. It is my second home. What I have to say now in part is both tribute and warning. Never forget, Americans that yours is a spiritual country. Yes, I know you are a practical people. Like others, I’ve marveled at your factories, your skyscrapers, and your arsenals. But underlying everything else is the fact that America began as a God-loving, God-fearing, God-worshiping people, knowing that there is a spark of the divine in each one of us. It is this respect for the dignity of the human spirit which keeps America invincible. May you always endure and, as I say again in parting, thank you America, and farewell. May God keep you always, and may you always keep God”. God has always kept America and the rest of the Western world but it seems that they are no longer ready to keep God, and they want to help Nigeria to lose God too. And I will finally end it with a last quote from my friend, Ronald Reagan, “America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will become just one nation under”. God bless Nigeria.

By Rev. Fr. Ojaje Idoko

Director of Pastoral Affairs, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria  

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