(CNSNews.com) – President George W. Bush, rather than President Barack Obama, will be best remembered for a legacy of having helped the African people, a Nigerian civil rights activist and attorney said on Tuesday.
“President Bush will really be remembered as the president who had the most impact on Africa of the last three presidents,” said Emmanuel Ogebe. “I think they’re no doubt about it.”
Ogebe was responding to a question by CNSNews.com at an event at the Washington-based Family Research Council, focused on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and in Africa.
CNSNews.com had asked him to expand on his remarks about Bush having helped Africans by establishing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), while Obama has promoted homosexual rights, including same-sex marriage, on his African visits.
In his prepared remarks Ogebe, who was exiled to the United States from Nigeria, said Bush’s visits to Africa made a difference to countless people on that continent.
“When President Bush visited Africa he launched an initiative – a presidential emergency program for AIDS relief, which was meant to help combat a major pandemic that was taking so many lives,” Ogebe said.
“And for many of us who were there, who rejoiced to see what President Bush did. It was sad for us to see President Obama go to Africa and for the second year running his primary objective was sexual imperialism, where he was calling on Africans to legalize gay marriage.
“One doesn’t even want to go into the questions of how antithetical that would be to the very notions and the very programs that President Bush was trying to implement,” Ogebe said.
When asked to expand on his contrast of the impact on Africa of the Bush and Obama presidencies, Ogebe responded that each had very different priorities.
“The point I’m trying to make is President Bush actually did something that was relevant to the crisis that was facing the continent at the time,” he said.
“When you show up and you’re saying to the people of Africa ‘You need to legalize gay marriage’ – I had a lot of Africans say, ‘Well, when our presidents go to America we don’t say to you to legalize polygamy even though we have a lot of polygamy in Africa and we think it’s a great idea, but we don’t come to your country and tell you to do that.’”
Ogebe referred to Obama’s recent visit to Kenya where he lobbied for homosexual rights.
‘And the president of Kenya [Uhuru Kenyatta] said to him, ‘Well, Mr. President, thank you very much for your kind thoughts but this is really not an issue for us,’” Ogebe said.
“I’ve been asked when I testified in Congress ‘What is happening with the persecution of gays in Nigeria?’ Ogebe said. “And I said, very frankly, no gay person has been killed in Nigeria but you have thousands of Christians being killed.”
“We need to prioritize here,” he said.
Ogebe argued that Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are really the same enemy, and he does not understand why the U.S. is providing so much more funding to fight ISIS in Iraq ($3 billion, according to Ogebe) than it is to Boko Haram ($5 million, according to him).
Boko Haram, he said, has killed many more people in Nigeria.
“It actually doesn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever,” Ogebe said.
Boko Haram earlier this year pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Bush launched PEPFAR in 2004 with an initial goal of treating two million HIV-infected people in 15 hard-hit countries, 12 of them in Africa, and caring for 10 million infected people and AIDS orphans.
By the time Bush left the White House the program was widely hailed as a success, even from quarters otherwise highly critical of Bush.
The program continued and was expanded under the Obama administration, which has not always appeared willing to acknowledge its predecessor’s pioneering contribution.