I wished to see the face of Prescient Barack Obama when Donald Trump secured the mandatory 270 electoral votes to become President-elect with Hilary Clinton trailing irretrievably. Like the PDP of Nigeria, the Democrats grew too confident and took the people for granted. They had believed they had America and the world by the tail. The emergence of Donald Trump has shown there is something misplaced with that sort of confidence.
For more than one reason, I did not want Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton to win. Yes, she was to make double history for herself, which I didn’t mind. She was to become the first female American President. And she would have also become perhaps the only woman whose spouse was also President, if not in the world, at least in the United States. Such sentiments also appealed to me but the bigger picture resonated with me more.
Why should Nigerians and Africans align with Democrats in the US? Have they aligned with the masses in Nigeria and Africa? No they have not. At a point, I was certain some iconoclasts had hijacked the Democrats. Look at it this way: President Barack Obama of the United States is half Africa, and half America. What has Africa get off that consanguinity?
Well…you do not wish away the President of the United States. Yes he did a lot for Africa, some claim. After all, he is our blood brother. He was in Ghana in the early days of his Presidency. What he said is now regarded as ‘The Obama Ghana Speech’ and summarized, he said Africa had got to work for strong institutions and not for strong personalities. That was a brotherly and presidential counsel, no doubt. But that was about all Africa got from Obama, their half-brother.
In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa, bringing together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power. Meanwhile his tenure has since verged into a lame duck presidency and with a President-elect from opposition Republican party, that project is as good as dead.
For Nigeria, the so-called giant of Africa, all Obama had for us has been contempt. First, he carried on with Nigeria as a pariah state and the most insecure place on earth. He denied Dr. Goodluck Jonathan access to arms to fight Boko Haram by refusing to sell to Nigeria and worse still, blocking Nigeria from purchasing arms from other countries.
In the dying days of his Presidency, the attempts by Goodluck Jonathan to buy arms even from black-markets were also blocked and the funds deployed for the purpose still stuck in a country like South Africa. In the end, Jonathan had to run to Venezuela for arms and because that country is an ally of Russia, it was counted as one of the cardinal sins of Jonathan, along with the Antigay Bill he signed into law. Such ‘sins’ of Jonathan provoked the international conspiracy led by Obama and Cameron, which ousted him from power and installed Muhammadu Buhari.
If that is trivial, let us consider other issues that make Obama rule no big deal for Africa. His government’s decision to violently remove Muammar Gaddafi is what unleashed disorder in Libya and ushered in a spillover that has engulfed Africa. Violent death of Gaddafi is part of what fuels insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries with the excesses in small arms freely circulating in the continent.
There is also a chance that the role the USA imposed on itself as the world policeman would abate. It has always been carried out with impunity but it got to the zeniths under Obama as seem in Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. The coming of Trump is likely to attenuate such global ambition of the US and focus the country more on its domestic problems. There is no doubt that the aggressive foreign policy of the US has been a drain on their emotions and economy for decades and caused it so much distraction.
Nigerians and indeed African Americans have been so emotional with anti-Trump sentiments for his stand on illegal immigrants. I do not think Trump is against legal migration. Most of his comments were stretched out of context in the western media, especially the CNN. Forensic interpretations of certain news coverage of the US election showed clear bias against Trump. It bothered on propaganda, which the democrats are used to and which David Axelrod, Obama’s campaign manager, transplanted for the APC in the Nigerian Presidential Election in 2015.
Trump was satirized with his ugly picture as representing Armageddon and the man to cause the Third World War and deploy the nuclear warheads and therefore shouldn’t be trusted. But Americans knew better and have spoken resoundingly in rejecting the propaganda and voting for the man who naturally connected with them.
Nigerians are so gullible and Americans are not. If it were in Nigeria, Clinton would win. But unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Further compared, there were several lessons to be learnt from the US election. There was no ballot box snatching, no killing, and no printing of result sheets for rigging. No arm-twisting and neck-bending for INEC to see the President’s body language. Their electoral system is truly independent and their people free to make their choice. That was how their votes counted and the election was not inconclusive.
In a system like that, winning an election is clearly in the hands of the electorates. All they need, as men and women of their nation’s future, is to try to understand the forces that forge their past and present. Most Americans do not even know where Africa is. They have never been here and most likely they would never be here. So, one could not but feel sorry for the many Nigerians and the rest of Africa who were making conclusive statements on how Trump would be trounced by Clinton based of tissues of propaganda dished out by the western media.
The key message of Trump was simple and there are reasons it resonated with Americans: he told his people, ‘Let’s take back our country from a corrupt establishment and foreigners who do not want the ordinary Americans to survive and thrive’. As a Nigerian, I understand the mostly unfounded apprehension. The United States is run by institutions, not exactly on the whims and caprices of their President, like in Nigeria. So, there are limits to what Trump would do, even if he is crazy enough to ask all African Americans and Muslims to leave the US.
Immigration in the US is tied to their laws and the right to stay in that country cannot be taken away by mere executive orders or fiats. Such existing laws will have to be repealed by the congress and fresh ones enacted by the same congress. There are enough congressmen and congresswoman to throw such crazy bills out and more than half of them democrats who will not be prepared to hand Trump easy passage.
But for illegal immigrants leaving the US, I am with Trump on that one. What is illegal is illegal. Many Nigerians have accepted illegality as a way of life and have been paying dearly for it. Insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria is powered by illegal immigrants. The killer Fulani Herdsmen are also said to be mainly illegal immigrants and if successive Nigerian governments have dealt with illegal immigration in Nigeria, terrorism and insurgency would not have been this bad in our country.
The Nigerians who are illegally living outside Nigeria, not just in the US alone, should be forced home to help rebuild Nigeria. Even those who are legally living overseas should think home and invest their wealth and skills in Nigeria.
Trump’s presidency, for me, therefore, should not and will not be such a disaster for Africa and Nigerians as propagandists have made it to appear. If not anything, President Donald Trump will force us to regain perspective and learn for once that there is no place like home and we need to salvage and build the Nigeria of our dream. The western countries we all run to were built by humans. The only difference is that they are not escapists like most Nigerians.