Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You are 23. How did you come to be a freethinker in a religious family, in a familial setting of 6?
Abiodun Sanusi: Yes, I became a freethinker through rigorous vigorous reading and thinking. Although I was very active in the Anglican church I attended with my family. Up to the stage that, I became an altar boy (an acolyte) and everyone in the hood including my family was happily expecting me to get into the seminary immediately.
I got out of the high school or the university when they discovered I chose to go to the university after high school, in fact, the Anglican church we attended sponsored my tertiary education by providing 70% of my school fee.
Jacobsen: As you became an atheist in your first year of high school, how did you go about making the transition from religious to non-religious?
Sanusi: Like I said earlier, I became an atheist through thinking, reading, debating, and doing a lot of research. I only made my transition known to friends and family through logical explanations and scientific and philosophical methods, which I always implore during conversations and debates and in my everyday activities by rejecting dogmas both local and foreign and by asking for proofs for everything including the Bible and Quran and even African religious creeds.
Jacobsen: You live in Lagos and study in Ogun state. Why did you pick geography and regional planning for tertiary education studies?
Sanusi: Yes. I picked geography and regional planning for so many reasons:
1. I wanted to become an astronaut and visit space to know if all NASA says about space and the universe was true.
2. I wanted to be the first African or black to visit space (I still look up to that though).
3. I opted for geography because I cannot afford the fee to study astronomy and there is no institution in Nigeria where I could study astronomy even if I could afford it except in the US or Russia and I cannot afford that.
4. I want to develop my environment through environmental science as I look forward to venturing into mainstream politics after school.
Jacobsen: As you are against oppression in any form, how do you fight this some activist work in Nigeria?
Sanusi: The first time I stood individually against oppression was during my final year in high school when I stood up to a teacher who was a notorious bully and I came out victorious although with a little price of cutting the grass.
But I was glad I saved the whole 12 (SS3) classes from being flogged severely with the cain and going through severe punishment for days or a week.
Now in the university, I have always stood against oppression since my first year and I sometimes pay for it with my grades (score reductions). Even now, we’re standing up to the school over the issue of stop and search at the school gate, which involves only the students who board the public shuttle.
As those who go in with their cars are never stopped nor searched at the gate, including the staff, a comrade was illegally arrested by the police 2 days ago, but was released yesterday after students went to the police station to plead as we were threatened with expulsion if we ever dare stand up to the school management against oppression.
There is so much I cannot say her,e but I am yet to be affiliated to any human rights organization as I’m yet to find a vibrant one (I’ll be glad if I could, especially an internationally recognized one).
Jacobsen: How can the international community support the atheist community in Nigeria?
Sanusi: The international community can help atheists and the atheist community in Nigeria by helping to sponsor human rights and atheistic campaigns and providing legal backings for freedom of thoughts, sex, gender, and every other thing, which should be personal and doesn’t affect anyone in any sane manner.
The homosexuals especially should be helped by helping activists worldwide including local ones to stand up for gay rights in Nigeria and Africa, and to sponsor and support youths as most of us can’t come out as an atheist because of rejection, especially financially and death threats in places like northern Nigeria.
Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?
Sanusi: I would be very glad if the international community could help promote atheism and human right through media campaigns like billboards and television programmes and radio programmes.
I will voluntarily gladly volunteer to host television programmes in favor of atheism and human rights including gay rights.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Abiodun.
Image Credit: Abiodun Sanusi.