A Re-reading of the Nigerian National Anthem in the Wake of Homophobia
This is not a rhetoric. No smart, cheeky, wizened, politically-correct, erudite tract can change our course from the path we have charted as a country. Our president is a bastion of surprises. I still can’t fathom how appending his signature to an anti-gay bill is congruent with the issues of our political milieu.
He must have scratched out his signature fully clad in his Ijaw regalia, shook hands with important personnel and, maybe, stood at attention to listen to that fine musical composition that imbues us with heady pride and belly butterflies of Nationalism.
When the news of the signed Anti-gay bill reached me, I was numb and sad and lethargic. I felt a searing visceral pain. I sang and reflected on the Nigerian National anthem.
…Guide our leaders right…
Nigeria is in a fucking democratic mess. Boko Haram is ravaging the north. Oil bunkering is rife in the South. Our refineries don’t function.Our president’s praise-singers are yelling his towering achievements on Twitter. Incessant power outage is still a problem. People still die in droves on our roads. Health care is non-existent. Major political parties are having internal crises. But this is the apt time for our president to sign an anti-gay bill.
…Help our youths the truth to know…
The American Psychiatric Association threw out Homosexuality from her glossary of mental illness 41 years ago. Yes, homosexuality in western history has been a thorn in the flesh of modern thought. It grew from a moral sin to a mental illness to a grudgingly accepted way of live. This happened within the span of a century. Perhaps development cannot be rushed; perhaps civilization cannot be hastened. Perhaps Nigeria and the other thirty-seven or so African countries are way way way behind their time.
…To serve our Fatherland with love and strength and faith…
Why have we chosen to label homosexuality as an alien culture? Christianity and Islam are arguably also alien culture. We are first human beings before we are Christians or Muslims or Atheists or Pagans. And what happened to good old tolerance? Let’s not forget that good old rape and paedophilia are still rampant in our societies and nothing is being done about them. Are we blind or just retrograde thinkers?
…And living just and true…
Hypocrisy is a wondrous tool. It is a thespian brand of self-righteousness, perhaps man’s greatest flaw. Hypocrisy is ubiquitous, accessible like the air we breathe. Hypocrisy is a defense mechanism subconsciously called up to cover foibles. He who is without sin is he who is not caught. He has every right to cast the first stone. Our lawmakers are not saints. The Masses are not saints either. This is even beside the point; our National sovereignty is not backed up by any religious injunction. But Jonathan visits the Redemption Camp for blessings in his capacity as president. Hypocrisy is our medium of expression.
…One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity….
Finally, we have become a homophobic state, flaunting our national conviction against LGBTIs, like the flash of a girl child’s red underpants in public. And we are satisfied. I hear a deep communal sigh of relief. It issues from church spires and mosque minarets. It spills all over the news dailies and social media timelines. President Jonathan’s decision to sign a bill against a cowered minority is welcomed by a decisive majority. We have successfully trampled on the fundamental human rights of a minority. This, too, is democracy, synonym for a tyranny of a majority.