Does Bisi Alimi care about gay Nigerians?

Acclaimed Nigerian LGBT rights activist Bisi Alimi has made an “unapologetic” declaration to members of the Nigerian LGBT community that he is not fighting for them, but for himself.

The celebrity activist, who over the past years has worked hard to build his brand on the bedrock of being “the first man to come out as gay on national TV in Nigeria,” wrote on his Facebook profile that he doesn’t owe the Nigerian LGBT community anything, and that his activism has been for his own benefit.

It is still unclear why he made the statement or who suggested that he owes them anything. But many members of the Nigerian LGBTI community are outraged about his comments, particularly because Alimi over the years has claimed to be a voice for the Nigerian gay community. He set up the Bisi Alimi Foundation (BAF), a diaspora not-for-profit with an announced mission of “advocating for the equal rights of LGBT people in Nigeria.”

[Critical Nigerian activists say that Alimi refuses to collaborate with other initiatives or contribute to other activists’ work. “He comes to Nigeria with funders’ money, heavily guarded and stays at the best hotels,” one activist said. “He makes a lot of noise and doesn’t really do anything.”

Members of the Nigerian LGBT community complained that they have been exploited and are aggrieved by Bisi’s comments. Based on his latest words, they believe that Alimi took advantage of their plight and fooled them all into thinking that he actually cared meanwhile his true intentions was to exploit, and quite a number have since come forward to state that they knew all along that the intentions of his so-called activism is purely selfish, but that they never expected that he will just arrogantly throw it in their face.

The thriving online Nigerian LGBT media platform KitoDiaries condemned Alimi’s comments, and reminded him of his place and allegiance to the Nigerian LGBT community from whose struggles he has continued to benefit:

How can you even say you do what you do for you – and call that activism? How can you think you are fighting for yourself – and believe you are fighting for anything?! Because if that’s the case, then you are not fighting for anything, Bisi Alimi.

U.S-based Nigerian LGBT rights activist Edafe Okporo, who spoke to NoStringsNG, condemned Alimi’s comments, calling him a thief and asked him to return all that he has “stolen” from the community in the guise of fighting for them.

“You collect grants on their behalf [the Nigerian LGBT community]. Then you should be arrested and charged for being a thief: a person who steals another person’s property. You should be stripped of all your accolade as an activist. You are not a true leader. I am really in rage, the community has been exploited”

Others have hailed him for his comments, asking gay people in Nigeria to fight for themselves and allow Alimi to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor.

Alimi who also said that an LGBT community in Nigeria does not exist, has maintained that he hasn’t done anything wrong and has described all those who felt hurt by his comments as ‘failures.”

A fan of Alimi wrote to him on Facebook:

They forget you are human.. they probably think you are Moses and will part some sea for them to freedom. It’s not fair for them to expect so much.. your fight should inspire them to also stand up and they should find ways to work with you not against you …
Alimi replied:
Or maybe they need to find a way to deal with their own demon instead of looking for a saviour, I cant remember the last time I said I came to wash away their sufferings.
Whether Alimi’s comments were made out of spite or as a result of a bad day, it was completely wrong that someone in a position of leadership and with great responsibility will think that they are only accountable to themselves as well as display such arrogance and at the same time belittle those who look up to them.
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  • comment-avatar
    Ralph 1 year

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what he said but how he said it. He shouldn’t have made it public but it seems that a lot of people have been bugging him to help them for one reason or another. He has achieved what he wanted and most of us are looking up to him to help us since he’s an ACTIVIST. I don’t have anything against him nevertheless.
    #SkipItAndCarryOn

    • comment-avatar
      Muhammad 1 year

      Somewhat true; I think many things happen within than they happen outward.
      If I may add this is not a Bisi Alimi’s problem, many gay people I have came across with have the tendency to explode under some certain circumstances. We’re all volatile but can tet to work on our emotions.

      And for the self activism. I buy to Bisi’s part of the story; let us become our own advocate, let us all be activists, that way we can achieve more.

  • comment-avatar

    So typical of him.
    So selfish.
    So wrong of him to say all that.

    Return funders money since its clear you are not an LGBTQI activist.

  • comment-avatar
    John Adewoye 1 year

    Whatever led Bisi to make that statement it comes out to distaste of many Nigerian LGBTQI community.

    As an activist and gay Nigerian, I know how frustrating it was for me when people expect me to carry them but lying on the ground like the dead.

    Among other things people ask for include money, ask to be hooked up with rich people, ask for letter of invitation to visit America, etc. My headache with all these requests, is that the only effort they made is their coming to me.

    I have an organization but it “used” to be funded from my salary. I support asylum seekers. Those who took the risk and find their way to America after their lives were genuinely threatened or they determine to live in freedom away from bondage of bogus laws banning same-gender loving intetactions.

    Whatever pushed Bisi to make this statement is best known to him. l agree with him that we have no coordinated Nigerian LGBTQI community. He is one reason we dont have. In fighting for supremacy, classism, self-interest or egocentricism, manipulation and power abuse.

    If truely we need a messiah in Nigerian LGBTQI community, he’s yet to be born based on our inactive mentality or our active political stupidity.

    This issue affects the political ethos of Nigeria as a whole not just LGBTQI PROBLEM. Our politicians demonstrate that we are not their priority because of our dependency and in activity.

  • comment-avatar
    Tom Malanga 1 year

    Bisi is not unique. Here, in my local LGBT community in the U.S., we have a similar media whore “activist” who runs to the media (and the media runs to him) for statements whenever something newsworthy happens that is LGBT related. He (through his organization) takes money away from smaller charitable efforts to fill his pockets and lies about what he actually “accomplishes.”

    I saw through Bisi’s bullshit shortly after getting involved in the Nigerian community in 2016. What’s bad is that so many relied on his leadership. Now they know the truth.

    It reminds me of “The Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy discovers that the Wizard is a fake — she gets mad that she was lied to and put so much faith in him. But then she discovers that she herself had the power to do what she needed to do all along.

  • comment-avatar
    Muhammad 1 year

    I think if we misunderstood Bisi then we must not undermine how BAF have strategically placed LGBT Nigeria issue on the front media, let those who think otherwise continue from there. It will no longer be seen as starting from the scratch.

    Let us not jump into castigatigating our errors alone, let us celebrate our little efforts and build up from there.

    Bisi might not be the messiah you wish to see but he has done some great work we all can take as an advantage to solve the bigger problems.

  • comment-avatar
    Jonathan 1 year

    Under a brutally homophobic regime there, no doubt they work to isolate activists and create an “every man for himself” feeling, just to survive it.

  • comment-avatar
    Ruthless 1 year

    If you have net him, like I did, you would know that he is like that. No respect for him. Or his breath.

  • comment-avatar

    Let us all wear our shoes, brush them ourselves, tie or untie them whenever we like. Bisi, teaches us to own our lives. I worked with him, we struggled together to make advocacy the new inclusion strategy. Problem with the Bisi’s of this world is they think 1,000 years ahead of the curve. They preach a message of agency and autonomy. Once again, wear your own shoes! Thanks.

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