Earlier this month, Oby Ezekwesili, a Nigerian activist, former Cabinet minister and 2019 presidential candidate, participated in an event at Chatham House titled “Next Generation Nigeria: How to Foster Inclusion, Social Justice and Opportunity for All.” The official announcement suggested it would be a pretty tame affair, but one brief exchange with a Nigerian audience member kept Ezekwesili’s name in the headlines for days afterward.
At one point during the event’s question-and-answer portion, Bisi Alimi, a prominent Nigerian LGBT activist who fled to the U.K. more than a decade ago because of threats to his safety, asked Ezekwesili for her views on LGBT rights. “Considering the fact that we’re talking about inclusion and social justice,” he said, “does that, in your program, include people like me who were driven out of the country to be a refugee in this country?”
In response, Ezekwesili was broadly affirming but conspicuously nonspecific. “I absolutely believe in the fact that everyone is entitled to equal opportunity,” she said. “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 run the government that I shall lead.”