united States President Donald Trump was upbeat with his America-for-Americans campaign in the days ahead of his presidency. It was his desire that America should return to its citizens and not become a beehive of activities for illegal immigrants and religious bigots, who would replicate the near eternal wound of 9/11 to a nation yet to recover from the deep economic and social wounds of that time. Trump rode on the wings of that campaign to the White House. But he soon found that you couldn’t always have your way as President in America. His presidential order to restrict people from some countries easy access to America was shot down at the courts. But the people gave him their votes because they wanted their nation back. We wait to see how that pans out in a world increasingly becoming what has often been described as a global village. An event in Ukraine will be seen across the world as it happens and with pictures. Anyone with a mobile phone can send the event via his social media access and the thing stands a good chance of going viral. When Britain voted to leave the European Union, the Prime Minister, who stood for remaining in the union, resigned, saying Britain needed another leader who would be in sync with the people. Brexit, as it is known, virtually cost him his position. He did not think they should leave and there were indications that the action may not have been well thought out.
In the African continent, South Africa now holds the broom to sweep out other nationals from their country. Their searchlight is on fellow Africans, a sad commentary for a nation ravaged by apartheid rule between 1948 and 1991. There was white supremacist rule, where the black majority was barred forcibly from the levers of power, to the advantage of the white minority. The African National Congress, the party in power there today, fought the battle of its life in a struggle that threw up heroes like the late Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Steve Biko and countless others, who literally staked their lives to ensure that their nation’s back was not broken by apartheid. Nigeria played a critical role in holding the back of blacks in that land during the apartheid struggle.
Shortly after Mandela came out of his 27-year sojourn in prison, Nigeria was his first port of call. I recall going to see him at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where he came with Winnie, before they became estranged. South Africans have forgotten that part of history, which is why they now attack other Africans in their land for allegedly taking their jobs. I do not know how the Nigerian, who set up a barbing salon or the one who deals in car parts in South Africa, displaced indigenes from jobs. The tongue-in-cheek response from the South African government implies tacit approval of the attacks. Those at the forefront of these attacks may be oblivious of the existence of South African firms in Nigeria and there are also unruly young people here who could pull off retaliatory attacks. It was good the authorities here stopped attempts at attacks on some South African companies in Nigeria.
President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr. Bala Kaigama, called on the Federal Government to recall the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa. He said there seemed to be connivance between the government and security agencies in South Africa to perpetuate the killing of innocent Nigerians and Africans in order to take over their property. The TUC insisted in a statement that “if killing and maiming of Nigerians is the sacrifice required for us to maintain a cordial relationship, we are not willing to take it anymore.”
Also the president of the Nigerian Union, South Africa, Mr. Ikechukwu Anene, said more shops belonging to Nigerians and other Africans were still being looted in that country. The attacks have begun to ebb but it speaks volumes that South Africans should be at the pivotal point of this go-back-to-your-country move, a clear indication that history teaches nothing to some Africans.
All the talk about globalisation turns to ashes in the mouth for Africans.
Sad commentary for African brotherhood, a dream the Kwame Nkrumas and Nnamdi Azikiwes of the continent nurtured. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya had the dream, too, although his was tainted with his ambition to rule. The point in the matter is that needles are daily being put at the middle of anything that unites the continent. In many books, including Alex Harley’s classic, Roots, it is evident that black people across the world have their roots in Africa.
Trump, the helmsman in the US, lately began a strange entry policy that saw people with valid travel documents turned back at the airport. The courts shot down his first travel ban against some countries but he has not relented in his America-for-Americans policy. It may well keep Nigerians in America permanently estranged from home, given that you may leave for good if you step out. The policy still unfolds, which is why Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, has told Nigerians to stay away from the US, except there were extremely compelling reasons for such trips. She said Nigeria was aghast at what was unfolding and had to watch where the wind was blowing and not hasten to react. President Trump gave an inkling to his moves when he broke his campaign train and flew to London to congratulate those who made Brexit come to be. When Europe was on the verge of converging under the auspices of the European Union, Britain pulled out of the union, preferring to hold unto their pound than the continental currency, the Euro, which was the medium of exchange across Europe. Trump liked Brexit and seemed to be on the move to take America out of the world or out of some countries. Such moves defeat the concept of globalisation and further shrinks the world.
The impression is that South Africans do not want Nigerians in their land, a deterrent for our people who may want to go there and earn a living. If the bug of imitation catches on in other nations or national pride comes to the fore, nations may shut their doors on others. Trump, a businessman whose products are made in many parts of the world, including China, ought to know that ExxonMobil, a top oil firm in Nigeria, is an American outfit. Many South African firms operate here and have South Africans at the helm, which is why no nation should behave as though it were self-sufficient.