By Sonnie Ekwowusi
Senator (Mrs) Biodun Olujimi’s abortion Bill suffered a stunning defeat on the floor of the Senate last week. The Bill is 6 years old. It was born in the Senate in 2010. And since then it has never left the Senate. Senators in the previous Senates had sponsored the Bill only for the Bill to be thrown out for lack of merit. Irrepressible Senator Chris Anyanwu sponsored the Bill in the 7th Senate but again the Bill was rejected for lack of merit. Now the controversial Bill has staged a comeback in the 8th Senate through Senator Olujimi and has again suffered defeat for lack of merit. We thank God for the defeat of the Bill. I want to thank former Zamfara State Governor Senator Ahmed Sani for brilliantly pointing out that the Bill violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. I want to equally thank Senators Adamu Aliero, Rufai Ahmed, Emmanuel Bwacha and others whose Nays eventually paved way for the defeat of the Bill during its Second Reading. I will advise people applauding the Bill to carry out just a little research or a little reading on the politics behind the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill from the United Nations in New York, United States, down to different African countries Nigeria inclusive. If the applauders of the Bill will heed this advice and investigate the Bill as aforesaid, I am sure they will have a re-think on the Bill.
To begin with, the title of Bill, the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, is very deceptive. The title of the Bill might sound laudable, but it is simply a euphemism for promotion of abrasive western lifestyles that threaten our existence here in Nigeria. Agreed, the Bill contains some laudable sections on the socio-economic and political empowerment of Nigerian women and protections of the rights of the widows and all that but the offensive sections of the Bill are so weighty and damaging that they outweigh any merits of the Bill. The most offensive aspect of Senator Olujimi’s Bill is that the Bill seeks to incorporate and enforce in Nigeria the provisions of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women 2003 (otherwise simply called the Maputo Protocol) and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). You will recall that attempts to domesticate Maputo Protocol and CEDAW in Nigeria by virtue of Section 12(1)(2)(3) of the 1999 Constitution have consistently been met with stiff oppositions at the National Assembly. With due respect, I am not sure Senator Olujimi understands the larger negative implications of incorporating Maputo Protocol and CEDAW into our copious laws. I will hereunder explain how the incorporation of Maputo Protocol and CEDAW into our laws will, inter alia, bring about the automatic legalization of abortion in Nigeria. I will also explain in this piece how section 12(c) of Senator Olujimi’s Bill legalizes abortion in Nigeria. That is why I have appropriately entitled this Bill Senator Olujimi’s abortion Bill. I will also humbly and respectfully submit that the Bill contains coded words and phrases to legalize homosexualism and lesbianism in Nigeria and by so doing will render the Nigerian Anti-Gay Law inutile, ineffectual and null and void. Finally, I will offer solution: I will give my candid opinion on what to do with Senator Olujimi’s Bill and whether or not the Bill should be amended and re-presented as the Senate President is proposing.
I don’t know why we cannot learn a lesson from history. Apparently those pushing Senator Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South) to sponsor the Bill forgot to inform her that a similar Bill sponsored by Senator Chris Anyanwu in the seventh Senate was similarly defeated for lack of merit. Is Senator Olujimi not aware that a similar Bill was sponsored at the Enugu State House of Assembly a couple of months ago and was also defeated for lack of merit?. When will our legislators learn that Nigeria is not yet ripe for the legalization of all these crazy foreign lifestyles such as abortions, gay rights, transgender right, free-animal-sex right and all that nonsense. Coincidentally, on the very day Senator Olujimi’s Bill suffered defeat, the Ohio Supreme Court handed down a decision that the citizens of Ohio should stop using words such as “husband”, “wife”, “father”, “mother” because they are gender bias and not gender neutral. In many parts of America and Europe they are now abolishing separate “Male toilet” or separate “Female Toilet” because they claim that it is gender bias and not gender neutral.
So we should be wary of importing the Western radicalization of the concept of equality between men and women into Nigeria. This radicalization goes back to the French Revolution down to the era of Communism. In her book, the Globalization of the Western Cultural Revolution, Marguerite A. Peters argues, and, I agree with her, that the post-modern approach to the issue of equality finds its echo and application in the struggle for gender equality and that has led to a deconstruction of gender disparities. Using Marxist categories, radical gender feminists argue that women must resemble and behave like men by all means. They argue that womanhood destroys women, and, that domestic chores which women carry out at home make them inferior to men. They advocate for masculinisation of feminism and feminization of masculinity. These strange ideas are causing a lot of madness in America and Europe at the moment. Shall we join them and become mad ourselves? I do not think so. We in Nigeria are a different people. If the rest of the world is becoming mad we cannot join them. I think our greatest challenge in Nigeria is that we are yet to come to terms with the Western Cultural Revolution holding the world to captive at the moment. Those conversant with United Nations documents or declarations or United Nations deliberations will attest that the United Nations does not come out in plain language to legalize abortion or homosexuality. It does so through a camouflaged or coded or dodgy language. Many of us do not understand that the over-bandied phrase “gender equality” does not mean the normal equality in dignity between a man and a woman. Perhaps we are yet to appreciate that in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom and many countries comprising the European Union and even in some Asian countries, the phrase “gender equality” is given a very subjective and pejorative interpretation to mean equality for a number of “genders”. The phrase “gender equality” is another euphemism for legalization of homosexuality and lesbianism. “Gender equality” seeks to mainstream homosexuality and lesbianism into all spheres of society: schools, businesses, churches and so forth. Unfortunately the words “gender” and “equality” are not defined in the interpretation section of Senator Olujimi’s Bill. So, what does Senator Olujimi mean by “gender” or “equality”? As we speak, there are about seven (7) genders recognized at the United Nations. There is male gender, female gender, gay gender, lesbian gender, transgender female, transgender male and bisexual gender. The list could be endless. That is why the Yogyakarta Principles declare that “human sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse” This implies that any government that limits a person’s same-sex expression or preference is violating that person’s human right. That is why those who criticize same-sex relationships are accused of suffering from homophobia and sponsoring hate language and are currently being sent to jail in the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries.
Unfortunately name-calling has become a pastime in Nigeria. Some link the defeat of Senator Olujimi’s Bill last week to the Northern agenda to control Nigeria. They say that the Bill was defeated by Northern-Muslim Senators who do not believe in progress. I beg to disagree. The Northern Senators who defeated the Bill were merely acting according to the dictate of their good consciences. The fact remains that Senator Olujimi’s Bill is a bad Bill. Apart from the fact that the Bill is replete with vagueness, ambiguities an imprecision of all sorts, many sections of the Bill seek to impose the damaging western lifestyle on the Nigerian people. Agreed, culture is dynamic: we have to jettison certain Nigerian customs and tradition that portray Nigerian women as mere chattel owed by men. But at the same time we must hold glibly to our identity as a people as enshrined in 1999 Constitution.