Published On: Mon, Nov 14th, 2016

Trump’s Victory And Nigeria: Promises The President-Elect Won’t Keep – By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones


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If a mock election for the United States presidency was conducted in Nigeria, like it was done in some other countries like Kenya, I doubt if the former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton would have got up to a quarter of the entire votes. Truth is, majority of Nigerians, especially those professing Christianity and those disenchanted by the present government in the country, were strongly rooting for the emergence of the President-elect, Donald Trump.
The reasons for this ineffective support from Nigerians at home differ and the expectations, mostly unrealistic. For a Pastor friend who excitedly told me that he fasted and prayed for Trump’s victory even when all the pundits and pollsters gave the President-elect no chance at victory, he sees Trump as a God-sent leader, who will salvage the world’s biggest economy and most influential country from imminent moral collapse. This clergyman is particularly irked that Democrat Obama turned the Bible upside down by allowing gay marriage and legalizing abortion across the United States, and went ahead to try selling such dirty and Satanic ideas to the outside world.
As condemn-able as the gay rights laws and same sex marriage approvals are to the sentiment of an average African Christian, we may be taking our expectations too far if we believe that a Donald Trump presidency will reverse these laws with a wave of the hand, or by merely wishing it. Gay rights and same sex struggles predate the Obama presidency, and it can be said that the loudness of their demand during his presidency overwhelmed his obvious preference for a nod to same sex matrimony. While Obama did not hide his support for this controversial legislation, it is important to remind us that this would not have passed through the congress or through the many legislative and mass approval tests the law had to pass through, including the test by the US judiciary if the majority of the American people did not support it. Unless, a majority of the American population now sees this practice as no longer useful, Donald Trump’s wish alone cannot proscribe that law. This means that my pastor friend and his friends who have high hopes on the abolition of gay rights, same sex marriage, abortion and other such moral new tones by Donald Trump may have their hopes extended to eternity. One thing we must keep in mind is the fact that America works on strong institutions and not strong leaders or personalities. If Presidents could always have their ways, then, there wouldn’t have been a President-elect, Trump today, as President Obama would have done everything to ensure the victory of his Party in that election. But when a sitting President could not stop his appointee, the FBI director from making politically damaging statements that Hilary has come to blame for the faltering of her presidential campaign, culminating in her ultimate defeat, then those who nurse high hopes on Trump changing American lifestyle by merely wishing it, will have to be ready to be disappointed.
While Snopes, a fact finding website has confirmed that the story about Trump threatening to deport Nigerians en masse is fake, we may want to assume here that it is actually true and then tinker on the possibility (Especially as it is confirmed true that the President-elect plans to deport over 11 Million illegal immigrants, including Africans and Nigerians who have found their way into America.). As much as it is true that there are thousands of Nigerians nay Africans who are residing in the United States illegally, the American system is certainly aware of their presence in that country and may actually be comfortable with their stay there as long as they are not found to be security risks. Deporting such number of people will also require huge amount of money from the American tax payers, which can only be funded by the congress. No matter how beautiful this idea sounds, its success can only be guaranteed if the consent of the congress is secured.
We must take note that the US Congress does not just give its consent to the demands of the President, cheaply. They consider the American interest paramount and weigh the pros and cons of such moves well enough before giving their consent. In the case of this expected mass deportation of illegal immigrants, the US congress will also put into thought the fact that even though this eleven million immigrants are staying in their country, illegally, there are economic and social contributions they bring to the American nation that will be sorely missed, if they are deported, hence, the likelihood that Trump may be denied this consent. Be guided too, that the American President cannot spend any dime without approval granted by the congress. During the campaigns, there were lots of funny posts on the social media regarding this aspect of President-elect, Donald J. Trump’s campaign promise, with some commentators expecting the deportation of their relatives who have stayed too long in the White Man’s land. For this set of Trump’s Nigerian supporters, the wait may be eternal, as most of these people have long regularized their papers, while some have become legitimate citizens of the United States, thereby enjoying as much rights and privileges as even Donald Trump.
Some sadists among Trump’s Nigerian supporters are also expectant that the new American President will limit the rights of Muslims in the US and by extension, the world. This is mostly based on his recorded speeches in which he derided Muslims and outlined a plan to restrict further immigration of migrants from Muslim dominated countries of the world. Again, this is not one of those things he can do without the cooperation of the Congress. Donald Trump’s country is a country that operates on laws and others, and accord good regard to human rights. Majority of US lawmakers are aware that denying people visas based on their religious beliefs and the country of their birth is wrong and against human rights. The Immigration setup of the United States is not run according to the dictates of the sitting US President, but by laid down laws and procedures in the land. So, if you have any Muslim friend whom you think will not be able to enter the US because of Donald Trump, just wish such a person well and wait for his or her call from the Unite States, if he or she fulfills immigration requirements.
Those agitating for the secession of a section of the country, especially, my own people of Biafra are those probably most excited about Trump’s presidency. Even the long incarcerated leader of the vociferous Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has allegedly written a letter congratulating the President-elect, ceasing the same opportunity to remind him of the desire by the people of Biafra and other ‘occupied’ territories in the continent to be free. Some online supporters of Biafran secession have  gone ahead to christen Trump, a friend of Biafra, while some fake news websites had published a statement, falsely attributed to the President-elect, where he assured a supporter who waved Biafran flag during his campaign that as President, he was going to work for the freedom of Biafra by ordering a referendum in the country.
That some people believed this exposes our level of ignorance as a people. Nigeria is a free country with its sovereignty, just like America is. If an American President can order a referendum for a sovereign country such as Nigeria, then the Nigerian President can as well order the closure of US borders. Being candid, Donald Trump cannot even make any statement favoring the secession of Biafra throughout his stay in office as President. That will be a no go area for him. The Biafran issue is Nigeria’s domestic affair and no President of another country can openly take a stance for such move. Definitely, not America’s President.
The PDP is one of the first group of people to react to Donald’s electoral victory, with the Deputy President of the Senate shouting from the rooftops about the readiness of their Party to work with the new US President-elect. Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State also came out with a statement declaring Trump’s victory as the beginning of the end of the APC in Nigeria. Just how this will happen, is what I do not know, neither did he tell his audience. Donald Trump as US President can only work with his fellow Presidents across the world to achieve world peace and better humanity. Coming to Nigeria, the first person he has to talk to is the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buahri. If the PDP wants to establish any relationship with the President-elect, it has to be through the Republican Party and not through the office of the President of the United States as there won’t be any basis for that. The major way the Party can get back to power is through the votes of Nigerians, and not through any backhand deals with the President of a foreign country.
Some wishy thinkers have also nursed the hope that the Trump presidency will mean improved fortunes for the African continent. Those who nurse this hope, obviously do not know who Trump is. in the 70 years Trump has lived life and for the huge successes he has recorded in business and life, Trump has only visited an African country once. To Trump, Africa does not exist and he won’t dissipate energy pursuing programs just for the sake of Africa. Throughout his campaigns, Trump did not outline any foreign policy idea targeted at Africa. If anything, a Trump presidency may further suffocate African fortunes, if we have to always look the American way for help.
Republicans are known to be less peace-seeking than the Democrats, hence, the expectation that a Trump presidency will increase the pressure on terrorists may not be out of place. However, expecting a targeted attack on Boko Haram by the Trump presidency may not come as fast as we expect. Even though he is the Commander-in-Chief, the advice from US military and intelligence chiefs will mostly determine his actions or inactions as long war against terrorism is concerned.

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