As a writer and journalist, I work from fact, my understanding of necessary truth, and a sense of responsibility. This is the case with my report of a novelist and state First Lady’s curious comments on her son’s threat, in ethnic diatribe, to gang-rape a Twitter User’s mother.
Personally, I find the threat offensive and the comments despicable. Professionally, I find them irresponsible enough to warrant the wording with which I reported them. I wrote the report fully aware of my choice of words, and I intended and still intend for it to be available online, and for people to read it in full understanding of my words.
I have always condemned and will continue to condemn, with personalized vigor, sexism and misogyny, and every instance of gendered violence and politicized responses to them. It is part of my wider commitment to ensuring social and moral accountability in my three-year-so-far work in literary journalism. And I take this stand painfully aware that, day by day, mainstream spaces of honest critique disappear in Nigeria due to political pressure and reasonable fear. But more than in any other capacity—even more than as a former academic—I understand as a young man living in this country, with its attendant anxiety, that we need such spaces, especially if they could be used, in however strongly worded language, to demand that society, including highly placed women, treat women better.
I have done a lot of public advocacy and hidden activism in upholding such arenas in the African literary scene. I will continue to do so.