In some ways, Nigeria was better than Trump’s USA. Some years ago, when Donald Trump started advertising himself for political office, seeking first his party’s nomination and subsequently winning the nomination to become a candidate to the highest political office in the United States of America, I foresaw his end.
From the little we knew of him, I knew that the story of his presidency would only have one type of ending and we saw this a few weeks ago with him, first, refusing to concede defeat, then trying to rig the election and then staging an insurrection and he had no plan to vacate the White House.
If I knew him well enough, I would have asked him to relate to Nigeria because our country had perfected all those political jingoism over a period of fifty years, but he probably wouldn’t have been receptive to my suggestion, after all, he never liked Nigeria. Anyone with eyes could see that Trump was heading for disaster but several events leading up to his ultimate undoing sealed the deal.
One could say that he launched his political career on the bedrock of trying to bring down that of America’s first black President, Barak Hussein Obama, an action that went to shape most of his presidency. This he did with his incessant conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in America and as such not qualified to become a President of the United States of America. The black race loved Obama – Nigerians, Africans and blacks all over the world – therefore, Trump was already down one group willing to lend him an ear. That became the beginning of his undoing.
The second undoing came when he entered the race and during one of the presidential debates with his fellow Republican aspirant he was asked if, in the event he was not nominated, he would he work with whoever was nominated and his answer was a big NO. Again, he lost few more Nigerians that liked him because Nigerians have mastered how to cross carpets, roads and boundaries when seeking a political position. We seek alliances not only across the aisle; we forget families, towns, villages and constituencies while throwing our political ideologies into the ocean.
When Donald Trump became president, he decided to clean out the Black man’s legacy from the White house that was built by Black Slaves. Few Nigerians that liked him again did not approve of such actions, but still believing in their Yoruba adage that it was the white man that produced the pencil and also produced the eraser and that when you write with the pencil and you aren’t satisfied with the results, one could use the eraser. As such, Nigerians would have provided him with the right eraser that would have cleaned out just enough of his predecessor’s legacy that would enable him claim ownership of whatever is left. Fortunately, Kamala Harris – The United States’ First Female and First Coloured Vice President – will write her own legacy in ink making it difficult for the White man to erase.
The third big mistake that Donald Trump made was inviting the Russians to help with the election. Nigerians have so much experience with dealing with the Russians because, during the Nigerian civil war with Biafra, many of the western countries refused to assist Nigeria with war machines, Russia came to the rescue of Nigeria. Nigeria tried to pay Russia back with the Ajaokuta steel project and, 50 years down the line, the project is defunct. We could have saved him the stress by telling him from experience how tricky that relationship would be. Also, there was the love letter between Donald Trump and the North Korean dictator. This is another area we are knowledgeable about. It doesn’t work well in such a multicultural society. What Trump would have come to know, had he consulted with us is, that Nigerians don’t like dictators because dictatorship will interfere with our quota system, power and revenue sharing formula and may affect our geographical spread philosophy. There are other ways to dictate without being a dictator, just ask Buhari; Trump would have gained a lot from President Buhari.
Now, Donald Trump must be in regret for not collaborating with Nigeria before embarking on his political journey. He even wanted to rig the votes gotten from Georgia by asking the secretary of state to help with fake votes to overturn the Georgia State polls to his favour. Such amateurish moves only showed how much skills and resources Trump lacked in the field of election manipulation. We in Nigeria do not rig elections with our telephones; we carry ballot boxes, we thumbprint voters card, we issue voters cards to Children and infants, we use some professors to manipulate figures at collating centres – we do not leave digital footprint.
On regime change, which he also attempted, we (Nigerians) perfected the way we change administrations seamlessly, from General Ibrahim Babangida to Ernest Shonekan and Shonekan to General Sani Abacha. We also perfected bloody and bloodless coups. The only difference, which Donald Trump must know, is that those that attempted and failed were executed at the Bar beach in Lagos State. In fact, we also execute for hearing about one without reporting it. Major Daniel Idowu Bamidele was a Nigerian army officer who was executed by the government of Major General Ibrahim Babangida for failing to report an alleged conspiracy against the government, what is popularly referred to as the “Vatsa Coup”.
Donald Trump’s rebellion now known as an insurrection was so confusing and unbelievable that it reminded me of the lyrics of a Fela’s Song called – Confusion Break Bone -:
I sing about one street for Lagos
I take a copy how Nigeria be
One crossroad in center
LARUDU REPEKE (after each line)
Repeke Laru, Laru, laru, laru
Repeke Laru, Laru, laru
For Oju Eelegba”
For Oju Eelegba”
For Oju Eelegba”
For Oju Eelegba”
Moto dey come from-u East
Moto dey come from-u West
Moto dey come from-u North
Moto dey come from-u South
And police-ee man no dey for center
Na confusion be dat ee-oh
KPAFUKA NA QUENCH (Confusion kills)’
I think the reason for most of Fela’s philosophical songs was his view of the future. Donald Trump and his right wing allies around the world tried to tarnish the democratic structure practiced in many parts of the world. Although the structure survived as it has for many centuries, it is one that remains quite fragile. For the sake of democracy as we know it here in parts of Africa and if what we hear is true that you may want to run again in 2024, my sincere advice is that you come to Africa to make some friends that can school you in how best to win in a do-or-die way and possibly stay in power for life.
In the meantime, we can only hope that Biden’s administration and the subsequent ones will not only maintain but strengthen the structure of democracy thereby removing the confusion that Donald Trump created.