Nigeria in the eye of Donald Trump’s storm – Magnus Onyibe

Nigeria in the eye of Donald Trump’s storm – Magnus Onyibe

The loquacious king of hate speeches, and US Republican Party presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump known to have insulted the female gender, Islamic religion, Mexicans, Chinese, British and blacks amongst many others, seems to be doing everything obnoxious to attract media focus and has finally, to use the street lingo ‘called out’ Nigeria.

Yes, the xenophobic property mogul and reality show host, who derives pleasure in demonizing any and every person, country, culture and race that tickles his fancy, has finally narrowed down his vicious attack from blacks and Africans by accusing Nigerians of stealing American jobs.

At a recent campaign rally, in Wichita, Kansas, the crude and rude Donald Trump lashed out at Nigerians by spewing one of the most ignoble speeches made by a person of his stature against any country or race since Nazi Germany’s Adolph Hitler’s notorious hatred for the Jews that culminated in the holocaust – the most notorious genocide in the history of mankind.

According to Donald Trump “We need to get the Africans out (of USA). Not the blacks, the Africans, especially the Nigerians. They’re everywhere. I went for a rally in Alaska and met just one African in the entire state. Where was he from? Nigeria! He’s in Alaska taking our jobs. They’re in Houston taking our jobs. Why can’t they stay in their own country? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because they are corrupt. Their Governments are so corrupt; they rob the people blind and bring it all here to spend. And their people run away and come down here and take our jobs! We can’t have that! If I become president, we’ll send them all home. We’ll build a wall at the Atlantic Shore. Then maybe we’ll re-colonize them because obviously they did not learn a damn thing from the British.”

Now, some Nigerians have argued that Nigeria deserves Trump’s insult because Nigerians, as the fear mongering populist demagogue, Trump alleged in his outburst, could be found working in places as remote as Alaska, USA stealing American jobs. My counter argument however, is that Americans are equally in far flung places like Eket, in Akwa Ibom and Excravos in Delta State in Nigeria where Exxon Mobil, an American oil major and others have been prospecting fit crude oil/ gas for many decades, yet Nigerians are not cursing them out for taking their jobs like Donald Trump is doing.

It’s a such an irony that Trump who has often boasted that he made his billions building and selling luxury real estate  properties to Arabs, Russians, Chinese and other affluent people from all over the world is now so anti globalization that he is threatening to build walls shutting out non Americans from the so called ‘God’s Own Country’ just because he wants to win votes by playing to the gallery of angry rightist Republicans who are riled by the seeming drop in US erstwhile Olympian position of influence in world affairs.

Although, fellow Republicans, including the well respected Governor, Nikki Haley of South Carolina have denounced Donald Trump’s scape-goating of people, religions, races and countries just to gain cheap popularity, the United Kingdom, UK which has also been at the receiving end of Trump’s caustic tongue, is now considering a law in parliament to ban the anti establishment renegade politician, Trump from visiting England.

It is worthy of note that the Wichita unwarranted ranting on Nigeria is not the first time that Donald Trump would cast aspersions on Africans in the course of his inglorious run for the presidency of the USA- a country that was founded by immigrants and whose foundation is structured to welcome and integrate peoples from all over the world with legitimate quest for the proverbial American Dream.

It may be recalled that in a speech at Indianapolis, at the nascent stage of his campaign , the un orthodox Trump had similarly alleged that “some Africans are lazy fools only good at eating, love making and stealing.” In his warped views, “The best they can do is gallivanting around ghettoes… Look at African countries like Kenya for instance, those people are stealing from their own government and go to invest the money in foreign countries.”
At that point in time, Trump only specifically mentioned Kenya because that country was in the news for the wrong reasons and it also happens to be the country of the father of President Barack Obama, Donald Trump’s political archenemy.

Trump is now focusing his publicity seeking antics on Nigeria via the diatribe about Nigeria and as a result, our nation is bearing the brunt of the corrosive Trump phenomenon since our country has overtaken Kenya as the embodiment of corruption and bad governance in Africa, due to the salacious details of the disbursement of the $2.1 billion allocated for arms procurement now dubbed Dasukigate (diversion of defense funds into political campaign slush funds) which has recently become headline news items in the global media.

As evidenced by Trump’s vituperations, it is Nigerian authorities that vicariously and inadvertently gave the reprehensible and petulant Trump the ammunition to shoot down Nigeria by raising so much negative dust about the integrity and leadership abilities of the immediate past administration which has attracted and magnified more public opprobrium and odium to Nigeria than respect.

What this implies is that the image we project in the public arena is what is used  to define us as either human beings or as a nation and this validates the popular saying ‘Be careful what you do to me because it might end up happening to you’.

That also explains exactly why I have in previous media interventions emphasized the need to reduce tension in the polity to engender enabling environment for the urgently needed development of our dear country.

Specifically, I had recommended the toning down of corruption rhetorics and the parlous state of Nigerian economy while making a case for our leaders to roll up their sleeves and fight corruption fiercely but quietly and at the same time pursue progress and development with greater vigor.

According to the renowned American human rights activist, Martin Luther King whose birthday is celebrated with a public holiday in the USA January 18, annually, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The underlining reasons for my pacifist advocacy are hinged on the fact that I’m concerned about the potential backlash such as the current cyber warfare threat against Nigeria by the amorphous group Anonymous, which has vowed to hack into Nigerian databases with a view to exposing sensitive details to the public but I never envisaged that Donald Trump would leverage on the unfortunate incidents of financial malfeasance in Nigeria to further his nefarious ambition of becoming the next president of the USA.

From the facts on the ground, the authorities don’t share my sentiments about keeping injurious information away from the public arena as evidenced by the mind boggling figures such as the N1.34 trillion naira allegedly stolen by just 55 people between 2006 and 2013 that Information and Culture minister, Lai Mohamed just released in a media briefing. I’m not with the minister on that initiative because rather than burnishing Nigeria’s image, it is my belief that such exercise could serve the negative purpose of painting Nigeria with tarred brush as more often than not, it’s mainly people like Donald Trump and cyber warfare group, Anonymous that end up exploiting such ruinous  information, as it were, from the horse’s mouth, to hurt rather than help Nigeria.

One of the first casualties of the dissemination of such negative information about Nigeria, apart from Nigeria based businesses and economy, are the hordes of professionals in the Diaspora like aeronauts in NASA, intellectuals and scholars in higher institutions as well as the myriads of doctors, architects, lawyers, accountants, nurses and engineers engaged in honest jobs in their various locations abroad but who now face the risk of being held in contempt or treated with disgust by being disrespected, jeered at or derided owing to the ‘sins’ of a few bad eggs (55 people that stole N1.34tr) in our society, if Information minister’s figures are to be taken seriously.
Needless to state the obvious, which is that apart from the gloomy global financial atmosphere, the admission of massive corruption and mismanagement of Nigerian economy by government and the related tension in the socioeconomic environment of Nigeria, have combined to negatively affect the flow of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI into Nigeria since companies that engage in country rating etc, rely to a large extent on information in the public arena to form their opinion.

In conclusion, my humble appeal is that we take a more holistic approach
to the war against corruption viz-a-viz the long term development prospects of our dear country so that we can recognize the collateral damages that some unmeasured utterances and unguarded actions could cause the future of our nation and thus moderate our actions accordingly.


Magnus Onyibe, a development strategist, futurologist and former Commissioner in the Delta State government is an alumni of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston Massachusetts, USA, sent this piece from Lagos.


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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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