The Road from ‘Only’ to ‘However’

The Road from ‘Only’ to ‘However’

This post was penned by Pius Adesanmi as a Facebook post. It is a product of the recent viral news of the Ondo State-based victim of antigay violence, the young man who was murdered for having sex with another man. Check on it.


In December 2015, a gay man was lynched in Ondo by folks who claimed that his homosexuality was such a serious cultural contravention that only jungle justice and murder would assuage their sense of cultural injury.

Unhappy that they were not part of the original mob that murdered the gay man, many Nigerians have been making a pilgrimage to the dead man’s Facebook wall to curse him and justify and rationalize his murder – when they are not gleefully sharing photos of his bloodied head and prefacing the shares with superiorist moralizing.

The slightly saner among Nigerian humanity are condemning this murder but only after introducing caveats, qualifications, and ‘conditionalities’ in order to establish a cultural soft landing for their condemnation:

It’s so sad that the guy was killed. I condemn the murder. However, he was gay…

The coarsening of Nigeria’s attitude towards the sanctity of human life is part of the decay of our core that I decried in B’Aja Ba n Gbo, but it did not start with the “howevers” with which we now qualify the orgies of murder and massacres that have blighted the Nigerian present, placing another question mark on our membership of 21st-century civilization. Before there was “however” in our culture of qualified reaction to the taking of human life, there was “only” – we started the journey with “only”.

Come with me to 1986. The tyrant, General Ibrahim Babangida, was at the beginning of his declaration of war on the Nigerian education system – a war that has been sustained ever since by the Nigerian elite. Babangida faced serious resistance from Nigerian students. During one such student uprising on the campus of Ahmadu Bello University, Babangida sent tanks to the campus. The soldiers were ruthless. Yes, there was ABU Zaria before there was Tiananmen Square in China.

Nigerian newspapers started to headline the numbers of ABU students mowed down in cold blood by Ibrahim Babangida’s soldiers. As in all things Nigerian, each newspaper had a different figure. The divergence in figures notwithstanding, it was incontrovertible that students had been killed on Ibrahim Babangida’s watch.

The fact of murder was not as important to ABU Vice Chancellor, Professor Ango Abdullahi, as the politics of murder. The man went on national air to complain about the exaggerated figures of murdered students being bandied about in the media. “Only four died!” he screamed and scolded Nigeria. He didn’t remember to mourn “only four” of his students that died. Today, Ango Abdullahi and Ibrahim Babangida are “elder statesmen” in Nigeria.

Ango Abdullahi’s “only”, his privileging of politics over the fact that even one of his students had been killed by Ibrahim Babangida’s soldiers, is a significant moment in our long journey to collective inhumanity and decay. That journey would take several turns and bifurcations, leading us to a moral and ethical impasse which makes the definition of a thief totally impossible in Nigeria. In our national morality, one man’s thief is another man’s Chief.

We moved from the “only” of Ango Abdullahi to the “however” of ethnicity and religion in our national instinct to theft and corruption.

This explains why I, Pius Adesanmi, could go to Nigeria today and rob a bank in broad daylight, certain that there will be no consensus over my action. He is a Christian? No wonder all these Muslims are accusing him of theft! Nonsense! Do Christians steal as much as Muslims? See their Dasuki! Pius Adesanmi, carry go jaré! Wait a minute, he is not only a Christian, he is also Adebola Adesanmi o. No wonder it is only Igbos and Hausa-Fulani folks that are screaming and calling him a thief! Nonsense! We wii not take eet! Pius Adesanmi, ride on!

In essence, once you determine that the thief is from your ethnic or religious neck of the woods, you introduce a “however” somewhere to absolve him and muddy the waters in terms of clear-cut definitions of theft and corruption.

That ‘however’ is what we have now transplanted from the province of corruption to the province of human life. I have watched in despair over the last couple of weeks as the processing of gory massacres in our national life is subjected to a brutal politics which makes murder uncondemnable without hedging and qualification for so many of our folks. I have watched in consternation as Nigerian dead bodies – murdered by fellow Nigerians – are declared unmournable on the altar of identity and politics.

It is unacceptable that we have reached a low in national life which subjects murder to ethnic, religious, and other identity scrutiny before deciding which human life is mournable and which is unmournable.

The Agatu were murdered. Hundreds of Agatu murdered on their own soil. And you hear fellow citizens introducing “however” to qualify anything they have to say.

“It is sad that they were murdered o…”

– However, why are Fulani herdsmen mentioned in connection with the massacres?

– However, it appears the numbers have been exaggerated.

– However, I feel that my ethnicity and religion are being scapegoated in the attribution of responsibility for the Agatu massacres.

Notice that in all these ‘howevers’, our friend is yet to mourn any Agatu dead. He is yet to say that the murder of just one Nigerian is unacceptable and should be condemned on the fundamental basis of humanity instead of subjecting it to stupid ethnic and religious forensic analysis.

Pro-Biafra protesters are being shot at and murdered by soldiers of the Nigerian state. You hear the same rhetoric.

“It is sad that they were murdered o…”

– However, they were pro-Biafra protesters.

– However, it appears the numbers have been exaggerated.

– However, blah-blah-blah

From “only” to “however”! My fear is that “however” will not be the end of our journey to inhumanity. Unless we do a serious national soul-searching – we have a National Orientation Agency that is moribund – we shall arrive at a situation of such debasement of our humanity that we shall react to murder with “worrever!”

Hundreds of Nigerians were massacred yesterday?


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I recently took a trek down memory lane, remembering those days of my past as a gay Nigerian, fresh out of my teenage years. Wait, I was eighteen or nineteen.


  1. Kenny
    March 14, 06:20 Reply

    When I first saw news of this incident, it was on Bisi Alimi’s instagram time line, I was sick to my stomach and then I was sad, very sad. The comments on that guys Facebook page are just horrible. And there was something about burning down his partners house and looking for him so the same judgement can be passed unto him. This country is sick, very sick. ?

  2. Mandy
    March 14, 06:22 Reply

    The day we get to ‘Worreva’, that should be the day God should strike this country down the way He did Sodom and Gommorrah.

    • chuck
      March 14, 11:38 Reply

      Lol. These murderers think they are acting in that god’s interest as expressed in his religion

  3. DI-NAVY
    March 14, 06:41 Reply

    I was so happy on my way to church when bae sent me the story,I almost threw up. I was so scared with these thoughts running through my mind ‘where’e my country headed’? It’s quite obvious that we’re moving backward kin reasoning, so barbaric of us. The most excruciating part of it was that this incident has happened since 2 weeks now and everyone kept mute about it, why???? Because he was gay and he’s nobody but an anti-Christ.
    When you peruse comments regarding to this, you’ll regret why you were born African, more especially Nigerian. We are so wicked and we base our callous judgement from the bible. I’m sick and tired of this every lynching shenanigans seriously. Na to port go abroad sure pass. May his gentle soul RIP.

  4. Greg
    March 14, 07:20 Reply

    na to leave Nigeria remain! there’s no hope at all!

  5. ambivalentone
    March 14, 08:36 Reply

    I think I am now at ‘whatever’. I never even got thru ‘only’ and ‘however’. The situation in this country can numb one into shock into jadedness. I saw the story yesterday and I didn’t wanna read it. I just didn’t.

  6. bruno
    March 14, 08:43 Reply

    this fucked up my Sunday.

    it’s funny these people think homosexuals are some depraved beings when they are the real monsters who have lost all touch with humanity because of their stupidity, ignorance and religious brainwashing.

  7. Delle
    March 14, 09:31 Reply

    Seriously, Nigerians are cold-hearted and very foolish. You are so quick to condemn homosexuality whilst diving into murder…really? A murderer would rather be spared than a gay man in this useless country. This story, after reading it, ruined a very promising day for me. I don’t know how people would be so devilish! I hate this country.
    My Hollandia Yoghurt drink, formally #50 is now sold for #70 and yet this is what bugs them? Nigerians should realise that God isn’t stupid. That same God they are so quick to run to and use as a yardstick for the most stupid things, isn’t a fool. You want your country to develop with all these jungle justice being carried out incessantly? What a joke! Just so you know, Buhari has no hand in our plight…we are the sole cause of the horrible situation in this country.

  8. Oturugbeke!
    March 14, 09:39 Reply

    I cried when I saw the news and photos yesterday… That could have happened to any of us here on KD. Even the allegedly posh ones and those who go out of their way to sound well read on here… Sad way to meet ones end.

    • chuck
      March 14, 11:39 Reply

      Insecure about your education?

      • sensei
        March 15, 11:44 Reply

        Chuck that was hardly necessary. There are bigger issues on ground don’t you think?

  9. Chandler B.
    March 14, 09:45 Reply

    Now all I’m thinking is if only I could get and learn how to use a handgun. I’d be charged for murder every time and I’d plead my case with self-defense. The comments from this happening show that there are some people that words and reasoning can’t change. I know, I know, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind, and two wrongs don’t make a right and other bla bla bla. But I’m losing hope and I’m tired of talking. Our case calls for ‘aggressive evangelism’. Talk and legal activism would only have a chance if we have law enforcement on our side, even if its to bring perpetrators of jungle justice to book and still arrest us for 14years. I am weakened by this but my resolve is stronger: I WILL physically hurt any homophobe that tries BS with me.

  10. Max 2.1
    March 14, 09:49 Reply

    “Gay acts” aren’t committed alone, so I wonder why only one individual was murdered and not the two of them. Could it be perhaps that the society decided that one’s life was more important than the other?
    It was really a horrifying story to read, but what was more horrifying was the comments that followed on the blogs that posted the news. Nigerians are barbaric and wickedness lies deep within the hearts of men here, that’s all I can say..

  11. Chizzie
    March 14, 10:04 Reply

    I would’ve preferred a stand alone article or post to focus more on the particular incident that happened in Ondo, than using this to pitch other issues.. Which in ways takes out the gravity of what was done. The fact is, a man was brutally murdered, for having what was in essence consenting sex with another adult. The fact that it was with the same sex should never have warranted his death especially since the law, however draconian it is, has already made provisions for punishing folks who engage in same sex.

    I get what Pius is saying but LGBT struggles are unique, they are often unprovoked and unjustified and nothing ever happens to ppl who perpetuate harm to members of LGBT in this country. Comparing this to the recent Agatu massacre , and a host of other Nigerian issues that date back to 1986 doesn’t sit well with me, like I said it it gives leniency to the incident and makes it seem like it’s another macabre day in Nigeria.
    There should be an entire post dedicated to what happened.

    That said, the incident that happened in Ondo, reaffirms how dangerous it is to be gay in Nigeria. Nigerians will kill and have killed at even the slightest allegation or accusation of being gay. So for those seeking fame, on a platform that I’m sure many involved in the lynching and murder of the alleged gay man in Ondo, visit daily, should be cautious. Onyx, ponder on this incident, and ask your self in all honesty whether your safety and well being is worth the buffoonery you have chosen to make of yourself

    • ambivalentone
      March 14, 10:41 Reply

      This does not deserve ‘stand alone’ status. We have to tackle the problem at its root 1st. Nigeria is notorious for infringing on human rights whatsover. You do realise that at the base, whatever rights being fought for are human rights??? Right to live, to be recognized as living and respected? NO ONE is safe. Not Onyx, not that female doctor brutalised in Ife, not that guy on Channels news who on refusing to enter d police van for walking d street, Not the farmers of Agatu who had only said ‘ur cattle are damaging our crops’. When we start to respect humans as humans, we will proceed from there. Until then, as Sogunro says, everything in Nigeria will kill u.

      • Tiercel de Claron
        March 14, 13:17 Reply

        Bless you.
        Some have already jumped on the wagon of religion this,god that.Truth of the matter is,unless and until Nigeria and Nigerians get pulled,by force or whatever means,into the 21st century from the 16th wherein they reside,there’s very little to hope for for anybody,be you gay,bent,straight,crooked,tall,short or whatever.
        Everyone’s involved,everyone affected.Jungle justice in Nigeria don’t affect gays only.I’m sure one or two of you KDians have witnessed,and probably supported,the lynching n burning of that young man accused of stealing recharge cards,that old woman accused of witchcraft,that man accused of having made off with someone’s genitals in the market.Can go on on,but the question is if we deemed mob actions appropriate for such people,why should that of gays be any different?

  12. Geeluv
    March 14, 10:09 Reply

    I’m still shivering…. bathed with fear. OMG!!! what do I do now??? I think I should start thinking of the possible ways of leaving this country… maybe I should consider that Libya route to Europe cus nothing is working here… No job… No light… No road… No peace… now my Life is being threatened… #LibyaHereIcome#

  13. Absalom
    March 14, 10:17 Reply

    Pinky is doing the best he can under the circumstances, but I agree with Chizzie that a standalone post would have been best. We shouldn’t even have any other posts on the blog today; yesterday was such a black day in the LGBT community. I have been in tears all night and I still can’t stop crying.

  14. posh6666
    March 14, 10:21 Reply

    Surprisingly on a page I follow on ig a lot of them were against the killing but of cos there will be a few assholes.One of the dumb comments was that “No man is born gay and he believes people partaking in it were in it for monetary gains and that gays are even worse than animals cos even animals dont sex same sex” I was so livid at this statement that I knew if in real life I saw the useless person that made that comment and was in a position to save his life I would most likely allow him to die!

  15. Bade
    March 14, 10:46 Reply

    They’re all against lgbt because of a book from 2000 years ago. According to them” God made Adam and steve”
    While the Bible in Genesis tells us that God made “male and female,” does this really mean that all males and all females need to end up with opposite sex partners?
    When talking about “what’s natural,” in the beginning, the first humans did not wear prescription glasses to see, use wheelchairs to get around, or attach prosthetic limbs to enhance mobility.
    Some people still believe there’s hope for lgbt in this doomed country where a 14 year old is being kidnapped and impregnated and the kidnapper is being charged while two guys caught having sex had to pay with life and properties.

    • Delle
      March 14, 14:36 Reply

      Azin ehn! A country where murderers and kidnappers are given more respect than two consenting men having sex is doomed. Why the issue of homosexuality seems to be so horrifying to Nigerians baffles me

  16. sensei
    March 15, 11:52 Reply

    Here comes the broken record.

    Now that this brutal event has come to our knowledge, I hope it serves as a wake up call. If this does not make us band together, if it does not make us even more determined to make a headway, if this is not reason enough to make us ignore side issues and focus on the real issues, then these deaths would have been in vain.

    It’s okay to weep. I did too. But practically speaking, weeping is useless. Can we have more agreement in the community, more acceptance, more mentorship and guidance for the young, more creativity in strategy?

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