The 2019 presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ezekwesili, has taken a stance on issues concerning the LGBT community in Nigeria. She said, yesterday, during an interactive session in the United Kingdom, that social justice in her government will include members of the LGBT community.
In the interview with activist, Bisi Alimi, she was asked if the Nigeria of her dreams will include members of the LGBT Community. Her answer:
"I absolutely believe in the fact that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity. So, at the realm of public policy, it wouldn’t matter to me what your belief is...it’s basically the fact that equality of opportunity will define my time in government.
I believe that equality of opportunity offers everyone the right to live. It offers everyone the right to aspire. That will definitely be the way that I will run the government that I shall lead."
Here's why this is important: No other candidate in Nigeria has ever admitted to subscribing to the equal treatment of people within the LGBT community, and not eventually walked it back.
Another presidential hopeful, Donald Duke, retracted his indication of support after pressure from Nigerians on and off social media. In Nigeria, we still have the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, which sentences anyone who enters into a gay marriage to a 14-year jail sentence.
Ms. Ezekwesili, despite being a Christian, whose religious beliefs are no doubt contrary (as is the defence of every homophobic Nigerian), is putting the dignity of every human life before that. She still has her religious beliefs, but this is what it means to respect the dignity of every Nigerian.
Putting politics aside and whether we support her candidacy or not, that is the bare minimum that should be required of everyone who is vying for a leadership position in our country.