Connect with us

Strictly Personal

The cross dressing bill is dead on arrival by Inibehe Effiong

Published

on

The House of Representatives is considering a bill to prohibit and criminalize cross-dressing in Nigeria. It’s astonishing that our legislators are majoring in frivolity and dissipating legislative time on the mundane.
It’s neither necessary nor expedient. I’m flummoxed by the silliness and incongruity of this Bill. It is indeed distasteful, that at a time when the country’s existence is under excruciating crisis, our so-called leaders are seeking to legislate a dress code for Nigerians. If the Bill isn’t seeking to legislate on the dress code of Nigerians, what then is its purport?
First, it is impossible in this modern era, especially in a country that is supposed to be a secular and liberal democracy, for a law to define dressing by gender without ambiguity. Dressing in this age has become very versatile and flexible. To attempt to determine by legislation, what type of cloth a man and a woman should or should not wear, is the height of legislative misadventure and redundancy. It is not doable. The ambiguity will be too obvious.
Second, even if male and female dresses are capable of precise and definite definition and classification, can this Bill be validly brought within the legislative competence of the National Assembly? Should Nigeria have a federal law that regulates dressing for all Nigerians?
Only members of the Armed Forces and other security agencies can be made subject to a uniform national dress code. The NYSC can also do this. Likewise related agencies. Employers can also determine the dress code of their employees. Religious houses can also set their dress code.
The National Assembly cannot legally regulate dressing or prohibit cross dressing. I can’t see how this Bill qualifies under the enumerated legislative powers of the National Assembly under the Exclusive or Concurrent Lists under the Second Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
Third, “cross dressing” is a form of artistic expression. It is a mode of dressing adopted by entertainers. Irrespective of our differing views about the likes of Bobrisky, James Brown, Denrele and others, we cannot deny the fact that they are entertainers of some sort. To therefore attempt to deprive them of their chosen career which isn’t harmful to anyone is unacceptable.
A country like Nigeria with cultural, religious and ideological diversity, should be more tolerant and accommodating of people who choose to express themselves differently.
Fourth, Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of expression. Expression is not circumscribed to spoken or written words. People can express themselves in words, dressing and so on. This Bill if passed, will be subjected to serious constitutional challenge in court. I will not hesitate to test its validity in court in the public interest.
Fifth, this Bill is unwarranted and unnecessary. Cross dressing is still a very rare phenomenon in Nigeria.
How many cross dressers do we have in Nigeria? Can the sponsor of this Bill mention 20 known cross dressers in the country?. There is no cross dressing epidemic in the country. This Bill is seeking a cure a disease that is non-existent. Cross dressing isn’t harmful. Is it?
Sixth, this Bill is another sinister attempt to distract Nigerians from the palpable failures of this regime. We are currently witnessing the unabated slaughter of Nigerians without any serious effort by the government to address it. The economy is comatose. Inflation is rising. Our universities are currently shut. It is rather upsetting that rather than focus on these and other pressing national issues, our legislators are finding time to entertain themselves with a trivial Bill that will neither help their worsening image nor solve our problems.
I call on the sponsor(s) of this Bill to withdraw it and attend to important issues. This Bill is an attempt to introduce the primitive Taliban ideology into Nigeria. It is dead on arrival.
Inibehe Effiong is a Legal Practitioner based in Lagos.

Strictly Personal

Don’t cry for Mandela’s party; ANC’s poll loss is self-inflicted, By Jenerali Ulimwengu

Published

on

There is losing, and then there is losing. The loss that the African National Congress suffered in the recently concluded elections in South Africa is a loss of a special type. It is almost as if the erstwhile liberation movement willed this loss on itself.

This is Africa’s oldest political organisation, which, with its longevity and the special task imposed on it by history, became more than a party or a movement but rather became more like a nation — the nation of Black South Africans.

I mean, if you were a Black man or woman in South Africa and you wanted to identify as somebody who wants to be respected as a human being, you were automatically ANC.

True, this is somewhat exaggerated, but it is not very far from the truth. For most of its life since its founding in 1912, it always identified with and represented the people of South Africa, taking an all-inclusive approach to the struggle for all the racial, ethnic, and confessional groups in the country, even when the exactions meted on the country by the most nefarious ideology on the planet could have suggested, and did indeed, suggest a more exclusivist outlook in favour of the majority racial cohort.

It sought to unite and to mobilise energies nationally and internationally, and create a more equal society for all, that would be in sync with the most advanced and progressive thought of the world at different stages of its career. It became home for all South Africans regardless of colour, creed or social station.

Even after Apartheid was officially promulgated as the philosophy and practice of the national government after 1948, the ANC hardly veered from that steadfast philosophical vision. To galvanise adhesion and grow ownership, the ANC adopted strategic blueprints for the future, including the Freedom Charter of 1955, setting out the basic things the movement would do when it came into power.

In the face of intransigence on the part of the Boers, the ANC saw the need to alter strategy and accept that armed struggle was inevitable, and launched the MK (Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation) to spearhead armed insurrection.)

Though MK was more effective as a propaganda tool than a fighting force, it did the job of getting the white minority in the country to realise that their lives of comfort were numbered as things stood, and that it made more sense to seek some form of accommodation with the Blacks.

Once that was effected, even those Whites who had been diehard supremacists suddenly realised, with regret, how stupid they had been all along: Not only were these Blacks, long considered subhuman, not only fully human but also corruptible—just like the Whites.

And so the White establishment set out to work on their old enemies, corrupting them to the core with the luxurious goodies that up to then the nouveau riches had not imagined, with things like the erroneously termed “Black Empowerment”, a programme designed to yank from the bosom of the people a handful of individuals with sufficient appetites to make them forget about the Freedom Charter.

Probably more than anything, it was this that spelled the start of the demise of the ANC. In the past, we had seen former freedom fighters in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau scramble into the blinding lights of Lourenco Marques, Luanda and Bissau, to be destroyed by the perils of Original Sin.

But South Africa was different in that the erstwhile oppressors simply took even the former “terrorists” by making them filthy rich, detached from the depressing realities of the masses of their people, by making them, in effect, traitors. So much so that when the workers at Marikana went on strike against a company owned by the current president of the country, the latter had absolutely no qualms about sending in the police to kill scores of protesters!

Now, the phenomenon of two sitting presidents being replaced by their party is spectacular in itself, but it belied a body politic that was groaning under its dead weight of sleaze and factionalism.

It may seem to some observers that the only thing that kept the various hungry factions together was the white-run oppressive system, and that after this was replaced with money-making cabals of ex-comrades, we found an ANC that was ideologically bankrupt and politically rudderless.

Now the ANC has to deal with the electoral result that has denied it an absolute majority for the first time, its crimes and misconduct have caught up with it. It has been sent to a political purgatory to atone for its sins, but while there, it must choose whom to work with among its sworn enemies:

Will it choose the DA, a lily-White party whose feeble attempt to ‘bronze’ itself with the recent choice of Mmusi Maimane as its head failed miserably? Will it rather be Jacob Zuma’s MK party, which is shamelessly an ethnic outfit bent on rehabilitating a misfit who has been disgraced multiple times as a rascal and a thief? Or could it be the EFF’s Julius Malema, whose day job has become, for some time now, to lambast the person of the current president and chief of the ANC?

We shall see.

Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jeneralionline tv. E-mail: jenerali@gmail.com

Continue Reading

Strictly Personal

Appraising 25 years of return to democracy, By Jide Ojo

Published

on

Last Wednesday, May 29, 2024, marked exactly the silver jubilee of Nigeria’s return to civil rule. However, the celebration has been shifted to June 12 in commemoration of the 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola which the military junta of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled. It was the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, who did that. In a tweet posted on his X handle on June 6, 2018, Buhari said inter alia “Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day. We have also decided to award posthumously the highest honour in the land, GCFR, to Chief MKO Abiola. In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12, 1993, was and is far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1.”

Chief Abiola’s running mate, Babagana Kingibe, was also awarded a GCON. Furthermore, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), a tireless fighter for human rights and democracy, and for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 election was posthumously awarded a GCON. Buhari said further that, the June 12, 1993, election was the freest, fairest and most peaceful election since Nigeria’s independence.

1999 to date has been described by political historians as the Fourth Republic. Recall that the First Republic was between October 1, 1960 and January 15, 1966. The Second Republic was between October 1, 1979, and December 31, 1983, when the military struck. The Third Republic was between 1990 and June 23, 1993, when IBB annulled the June 12 presidential election. Thus, the Third Republic was inchoate and inconclusive as it was aborted without a president being sworn into office. Out of Nigeria’s 64 years as a sovereign nation, 29 years were administered by military junta.

How has Nigerian democracy fared under civil rule in the last 25 years? Poorly. Leadership remains a bane of Nigeria’s progress. Although there are 11,082 elective political offices in Nigeria, the occupiers have been more concerned about personal aggrandisement than selfless service. That is why our elections are heavily monetised and prone to violence. Politicians, more often than not, adopt the Machiavellian principle of ‘the end justifies the means.’ They do all they can to compromise the electoral process and manipulate it to their advantage. For instance, campaign finance laws are breached as they spend far above the legal spending limits. Though there are copious laws against electoral violence with stringent penalties, the masterminds and the arrowheads more often than not do not get caught while their minions who get caught are bailed out of detention without prosecution.

If the Independent National Electoral Commission should publish the list of those successfully convicted for electoral crimes in the last 25 years, most Nigerians will be surprised at the infinitesimal number. This has sustained the culture of impunity in our electoral process. Little wonder INEC has been in the forefront of asking for the setting up of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal. Will Nigeria’s devious political class allow that law to be passed? That will be political hara-kiri!

So, since many of Nigeria’s political leaders ‘bought’ or procured their electoral victory, their loyalty does not lie with the electorate but to themselves and their rapacious political class. Because of the heavy spending on elections, the primary objective of Nigeria’s political class is to recoup their investment with super profit. Thus, there is a nexus between unbridled political spending and corruption. The truth is that if all the political officeholders were to live and survive on their basic salaries, there would be so much left for infrastructural development and good governance. However, while they are quick to show us their pay slip, the humongous amount they receive as allowances, estacodes and kickbacks are never mentioned.

Does it not occur to you that nobody will spend billions of naira to contest for a political office only to collect a sum of money that will not defray his or her political expenses? The truth is that not all politicians are bad but the good ones are very few. According to the former American President, Abraham Lincoln, “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good.”

I watched a vox pop conducted by a lady in the United Kingdom asking Nigerians in that country if they would like to get £100,000 and move back to Nigeria. All the respondents said no to the offer. She probed further why they didn’t want to come back home, and unanimously they said it was because of our leadership problem. They all fingered leadership as Nigeria’s number one challenge. The irrefutable fact is that Nigeria is a crippled giant to borrow the words of renowned Professor of Political Science, Eghosa Osaghae. Yes, while I admit that we are not where we used to be, we are at the same time not where we ought to be. For many years, Nigeria laid claim to being the biggest economy in Africa but today we are number four after South Africa, Egypt and Algeria according to the International Monetary Fund.

Twenty-five years into this Fourth Republic, we have had seven general elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023. We have also had five presidents namely, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari and the incumbent, Bola Tinubu. Two political parties have ruled at the centre; the Peoples Democratic Party which governed from 1999 to 2015, while the All Progressives Congress has taken over the leadership mantle at the centre from 2015 to date. Unfortunately, whether you’re talking of the APC or the PDP, or the three tiers of government namely, federal, state and local; what is common to all of them is poor governance. All the development indices that are pointing south are a cumulative non-performance of all the former holders of political offices and the incumbents. As we say, governance is a continuum.

I have said, time and again, that no individual has the magic wand to turn things around for the better in this country. The President, being the overall boss should work collaboratively with state governors and local government chairpersons. However, the president must lead by good example so he can serve as a moral compass to helmsmen and women at the sub-national level. I’m not comfortable with the spending spree of our political office holders who luxuriate in ostentatious lifestyles with their families while the majority of my compatriots languish in poverty.

Nigeria’s political leaders should imbibe the culture of prudence in the management of public finance. The borrowing binge should also stop. Many in the executive arm holding political offices are indulging in reckless borrowing under the guise of funding developmental projects. At the end of the day, there is nothing much to show for the huge public debts. It is important to block revenue leakages and stop oil thefts. It is an act of selflessness, not selfishness, of our political officeholders that will lead the country out of its current economic doldrums.

Continue Reading

EDITOR’S PICK

Tech5 hours ago

Airtel Kenya expands 5G network to 39 counties, 285 wards

Airtel Kenya has announced an expansion of its 5G network to 39 counties and 285 wards in the country. The...

Metro5 hours ago

Zambia: ‘Though I made mistakes, you can’t compare my tenure to Hichilema’s’ —Ex-president Lungu

Former Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, has admitted that though he made mistakes during his reign as president from 2015 to...

Sports5 hours ago

Osimhen in big trouble following outburst against Eagles coach Finidi George

Super Eagles and Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, has found himself in big trouble with Nigerian football fans following his outburst...

Metro13 hours ago

‘Your sacrifices will not be in vain, you will smile soon,’ Tinubu assures Nigerians

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has, once again, assured Nigerians that the hardship and pains they have been made to go...

Video15 hours ago

Video: ‘History will judge you harshly’, South Africa’s far-left opposition accuses ruling ANC

In his speech in reaction to the parliamentary coalition which brought President Cyril Ramphosa back as president, Julius Sello Malema,...

VenturesNow17 hours ago

Nigeria’s inflation increases to a record 28-year high in May

According to official figures released on Saturday, Nigeria’s annual inflation reached a record 28-year high of 33.95% in May, exacerbating...

Culture1 day ago

UK returns looted historic Ugandan artifacts on a three-year loan

The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom has agreed to return 39 traditional Ugandan artefacts which were looted from...

Metro1 day ago

Zambia: Apex Court sets July 8 to rule on Lungu’s eligibility for elections

Zambia’s apex court, the Constitutional Court, has reserved ruling on a petition challenging the eligibility of former President Edgar Lungu...

Tech1 day ago

Egyptian startup Potcast Productions raises funding to upscale offerings

Potcast Production, an Egypt-based innovative company that specializes in podcast production, has announced securing an an undisclosed pre-seed funding round...

Sports1 day ago

Lost to Europe: Players of African descent who will light up Euro 2024

Europe’s elite football tournament tagged Euro 2024, which kicked off on Friday, will see close to 50 players of African...

Trending