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Published On: Thu, Jul 16th, 2020

Debugging Errors: Donald Trump and Nigeria’s alternative fact

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By Hussein Adegoke

Trump is a political disruptor. His personality doesn’t tow in the laid-down ethos and ideals famous with democratic governance. The conventional politician would build castles in the air but Trump is different.
I think Donald J. Trump, the 45th American President, would go down in history as a disruptive but honourable President.
He is always the unusual politician, who speaks from the heart. I have followed him from quite some time now, since his electioneering campaigns of 2016 till date, and I have largely been thrilled by his audacity. Truly, if you care to know, only a few people like him exist in the world.
A host of people are afraid to speak their thoughts, so they keep mute always and speak their emotions to only themselves. A number of others would speak falsities and not from their truest minds, for fear of being shunned and being hit by an impatient world. I might have only consented to a little of Trump’s opinions, truly, as he’s drawn into controversies more often than not. And as a matter of factly, he is often inaccurate with his alternative facts. But the fact that I put my thoughts together on what most American truest believes are, through the “horoscope” of Trump’s sputters has endeared the man to me even more. If Trump says, for an instance, that Africa is a “shit-hole”, I could only infer that this is also the whisper of many Americans he represents; those who would speak only behind my back.
Trump is a political disruptor. His personality doesn’t tow in the laid-down ethos and ideals famous with democratic governance. The conventional politician would build castles in the air but Trump is different. I once saw or in fact, have seen him countlessly, almost getting into a fisticuff with news reporters who would be females. It was all due to his weakness in hiding his truest feelings about people. It is unfound in the world that we live that somebody was not beautiful and you would say it to her face that she is not. This is what Donald Trump’s personality represents. He dares even the chameleons. I know every one of us has been unconsciously trained to detest one form of truth or the other so that if it happens that we are confronted with some bitter truths, we are quick to dismiss those candid opinions. We crucify our truth-speaking friends who should become more bosom to us for speaking the truth. Well, It’s a different ball game entirely if these “friends” were telling some lies.
Several lies have been told about us, Africans and Nigerians alike, while yet we are silent and not bitter. But it took just for Donald Trump to call this place a “shit-hole” and heaven was to be let loose. Maybe anyone who would contest that “opinion” of his about us need to firstly visit the Florida and Oklahoma, the States of California and New Jersey, in the country that Trump resides and get back to the rustic city of Lagos Mainland, Nigeria, to inform us about a more factual comparison. We would need you to tell us that Trump’s remark then was only a hate speech with no single iota of truth. Please, if you can’t afford the trip, do see the movies. Oh! Sorry! Those ones would be fantasies. So, try to switch on your TV set, at least, and watch behold the fascination of Trump Towers.
One should even be fair to this POTUS even if to shut the eyes to my naturality perception. We must recognize him as a child born into opulence; an individual who would have barely troubled all through his life; and rising to become President at 71. Such personality should have no blames not in the least misrepresenting squalors for urbanism. Even Nigerians who were birthed abroad and would come home for vacations wouldn’t reconcile our epileptic power supplies with what happens in their homes of yonder. They are prone to believing that each time there was a power failure, the world was coming to an end. How then do you convince these lots, not even Trump this time, to say our place is not as the “Americans” called it?
About Africans who visit abroad, about the matters that should arouse our interests more; about the wrong labels Nigerians get, no one is belling the cat. Almost no African leader I know of is blazing the trail of campaign that “we are not bad people”. Though our plumage may be black and some of us might be bad, it is not to say all of us are scamps. From Mexico to Sao Paulo to the American States, there are varying degrees of serial killers, astonishing figures of human abusers, drug traffickers, goods smugglers, cybercriminals, etc. We don’t, because of these horrible kinds of people, tag the lovely Americans and Europeans “criminals”. We don’t, because George Floyd, a black American who suffered brutality and death recently, and in the hands of a racist Police, declare all Americans as “racists”. These are the realities we should deal with, as African Leaders and ditto Americans.
To be fair to Nigerians as we were to Trump, albeit there should be no justification for criminality, we may want to advocate that the indigent life that SOME countrymen living in the Nigerian diaspora today have been subjected to, back home, before they left, is what is responsible for their misdemeanors. Every person who had, at one time, experienced hunger to try to dare the consequences of the law at one time or the other would most likely behave the same way even after becoming comfortable. He would be seeing breaches in security measures. The story of Hushppupi, the Nigerian cyber scammer who was exposed recently, and still standing trial, is so close to us and handy. According to some narratives, “Hush” used to be from a generation of paupers; one whose “father and father’s father” was as bitterly poor as a church mouse. We can start to imagine what kind of absurdities a growing lad of Hush’s tender age would have indulged in, to salvage his family’s horrendous plight. This is not to dignify penury. There are numerous impoverished Nigerians that are yet humble and hardworking.
The lesson we should take from this is that the “Nigerian Non-Hushpuppies”—a term I coined I have contrived to imply countrymen and women who are humble and diligent in their various legitimate trades—are not deserving of the wrong stereotype of “scammer”. They should not bear the brunt of the few who have chosen to be involved in shady deals and illegalities. They should not be subjected to “special” scrutiny and unnecessary harassments at checkpoints, check-ins, departure lounges, bank arenas, etc., while boarding or abroad. Lately, some Nigerian residents in Dubai, UAE—the place Hushpuppi lived before he was nabbed—have complained bitterly about how opening bank accounts in the UAE, has become one hell of a hassle. Again, recently, I read about a clerical job in Dubai that was available for “ALL African men and women, except Nigerians”. Gosh! This is cruel, unfair, unfound, and baseless. The last time I checked, the UAE is rich enough to afford any cost that comes at beefing up its security outlets should it consider them too weak and too porous to deter crimes. This is the way serious nations go, not that they loop every Jick and Harry into the gloomy scheme of things simply because they share their identities with a degenerate fraudster.

Hussein Adegoke is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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