Nigerian challenger: Vote for me; I too oppose gay marriage

Muhammadu Buhari (Photo by Wikiregina via Wikimedia Commons)
Muhammadu Buhari (Photo by Wikiregina via Wikimedia Commons)

Anti-gay politics continued this week in Nigeria, as the presidential campaign of Muhammadu Buhari denied his opponent’s accusation that Buhari struck a deal with Western nations to repeal Nigeria’s new anti-gay law in exchange for supporting his campaign to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan.

“There is no relationship between General Buhari and any western nation concerning gay marriage and such pervasive orientations that are not in conformity with our cultures and values,” said Olayemi Success, national coordinator of the campaign’s Buhari Volunteer Network, as reported in The Nation and other Nigerian newspapers.

Buhari will not seek to repeal the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, Success said.

That law, signed by Jonathan in January 2014, provides up to 14 years in prison for anyone who enters into a same-sex marriage and up to a 10-year sentence for anyone who attends a same-sex wedding in Nigeria, makes a  “public show of same-sex amorous relationship,” or belongs to a “gay organization.”

Jonathan’s spokesman at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) campaign  accused Buhari on March 12 of striking a deal to repeal it if elected in the presidential election scheduled for March 28.

In a statement before Buhari’s latest response, Nigerian LGBTI rights activist Davis Mac-Iyalla, who had to flee to England for safety, said he saw some reason for optimism that the issue of gay rights is at least being discussed in Nigeria:

Davis Mac-Iyalla (Photo courtesy of LGBT Asylum News)
Davis Mac-Iyalla (Photo courtesy of LGBT Asylum News)

“Out of nowhere the issue of Same Sex Marriage has become a central battlefield for the two main political party in Nigeria.

“There is no reactions yet from the Nigeria LGBTI community who are still waking up to this shock. …

“It’s now very clear that the ruling party PDP and their religious allies sure have an agenda to win the next presidential election on the blood of Nigeria LGBTI.

“I don’t know what profit will come out of all this, but I do know that there is no bad press. Nigerians are now talking homosexuality again at every level.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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