Some people believe that you have to be having mental problem to support or vote for President Trump of the United States. While President Trump is admired by many non-Americans, he has massive followership in Nigeria regardless of how he views Nigeria himself.
Remember that President Donald Trump had looked the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari in the face during a meeting and asked him “why are you killing Christians?” This was as a result of Buhari’s inability to handle terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and Fulani Herdsmen crisis that has been ravaging some parts of the country.
Also, recall that barely a month after Trump was elected as the United States President, Financial Times reported that he called Buhari “lifeless” after a meeting in April at Washington. This sparked a lot of reactions globally. Afterwards, Buhari was going to spend several months in hospital where some still believes he died and was cloned, a view held by a majority of Biafran secessionists.
Contrary to the publication, The Punch newspaper reported on August 2018 that President Trump had at the meeting commended the administration of Buhari and called Nigeria one of the most beautiful places on earth. Donald Trump has made an earlier comment where he allegedly called African countries “shithole”, this was before he said Nigeria is a beautiful country.
With the media largely reporting what would make Africans hate Trump, it happened to have had no effect on many Africans especially some Christians who are of the view that President Trump is God’s instrument of protection to the Christian faith regardless of what his shortcomings and excesses are. Just like the white Evangelicals in the United State, Trump has been supported by many Nigerian and African Christians.
On the American soil, many black communities do not think so well of President Donald Trump. On many fronts, some of their reservations towards Trump stems from the pictures the Democrats are trying to paint as Trump’s leadership has been consistently and fiercely attacked and criticised by Democrats and the left-wing.
Some of these people who do not like President Trump seems to be doing so only because they don’t like the person of President Trump, some believe he is not “Presidential” enough, he doesn’t play by the rules and he is ready to tweet anything, anyhow and anywhere as long as he feels like doing so.
President Trump is not your typical President who would want to sound politically correct, diplomatic or try to play around words and sound nice. He calls COVID-19 “Chinese virus” and is not nice with Islamist terrorists neither is he ready to come to the table and have a discussion with them. He would rather go after them to bring them down. He has also posted or tweeted certain things that have been flagged severally as fake news, conspiracy theory and so on.
I have interacted with some Nigerians especially those in the diaspora who don’t like Trump and would never vote for him again. Some of them believe that those who love Trump are simply being stupid while some have even compared him to President Buhari of Nigeria, they believe he is the American version of Buhari.
I have decided to outline a few comparisons which prove that many blacks are not grateful for Trump despite his achievements in the White House.
It wouldn’t be nice to use the present realities to criticize President Trump’s handling of the American economy. While the US economy was hit hard by the virus, we can’t explicitly blame Trump for it. The entire Europe was also hit very hard by the virus.
Before COVID-19, US economy improved greatly under the Trump administration. Although the improvement started with the Obama administration, Trump continued with the trend and there has been periods when it was much stronger.
While the US economy was hit by the biggest economic contraction ever recorded as a result of the pandemic, it has bounced back strongly though some losses are yet to be regained. US economy at the moment is the biggest quarterly increase ever recorded in US history, it is double of the previous peak of 16.7% in the first quarter of 1950.
Same cannot be said of Nigeria. A simple search on Google for the poverty capital of the world brings up Nigeria boldly. Since the emergence of Buhari administration, Nigeria’s economy has seen the worst decline and has exceeded India with the largest rate of people living in extreme poverty. Yet, Nigeria’s politicians, especially the senators are the highest paid lawmakers in the world.
About 86.9 million people live in severe poverty and this makes up about 50% of its entire population. While Nigeria is smaller than India in population, it keeps failing at lowering the rate of poverty.
In the last five years of Buhari administration, the price of food items has skyrocketed and keeps rising. A bag of rice that used to sell for 9,000 naira in 2015 has tripled up to 26,000 naira. Nigeria’s Minister for Finance, Budget and Planning, Zainab Ahmed acknowledged this.
As a result of the slowdown in the economy which was doing well under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigerians have given Buhari the unenviable title of “Baba Go Slow”.
TERRORISM/WAR/MIDDLE EAST CRISIS
Trump doesn’t talk soft, he talks hard and will not hide under the guise of diplomacy. Trump made many moves that previous leaders had been afraid to make, moves that had been thought would lead to war but eventually brought significant improvements.
He moved the American Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a move that many thought would ignite a war with the Muslim world. He also withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and ordered the killing of an Iranian general, Qassim Suleimani, another move that was believed was going to lead to war.
He also mediated for peace between Israel and two prominent Arab states, something many had thought was impossible without the creation of Palestine state. This is the same Middle East where other United States presidents had left volatile and battered.
Trump has proven that a United States President must not always talk soft, he has proven that hard talks and hard moves can bring about peace and security. The moves of Trump overrides conventional thinking, something that experts warned could blow up into war but has been proven wrong.
Under Trump, the Islamic State has lost its territorial caliphate. Attacks by them have grown very rare and their influence has greatly being reduced.
Same cannot be said in Nigeria, under Buhari, insecurity has greatly increased. Terrorism by Boko Haram have not only worsened, but other groups have also emerged stronger. Fulani Herdsmen have consistently attacked farmers living many people dead and kidnappers are having a fields day.
Because of Buhari’s sluggish attitude towards addressing Islamist terrorism, many people believe he sponsors them. Buhari is always eager to send forces after unarmed civilians and secessionists but remains weak in the face of terrorists.
While George Floyd’s case brought many challenges to the Trump administration, police brutality especially against blacks in the United States has had a long history in the US which precedes Trump administration. While the opposition used it against Trump, it wasn’t Trump’s making.
However, Trump has done so much for the black community. Before COVID-19, Blacks unemployment went as low as 5.5%. In 2019, the latest data available, the African-American poverty rate was 18.8% – which is the lowest on record, beating the previous year, since the official count began in the 1960s.
Under President Trump, black Americans have committed fewer crimes, their lives have greatly improved.
Same cannot be said of the Buhari administration in Nigeria. We have earlier pointed out that Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world, crimes have greatly increased of which became very evident during the #ENDSARS protest where hoodlums took advantage of the times to commit crimes which included the looting of properties, killings and so on. It was simply a reflection of how low Nigeria had gone.
COVID-19 AND THE ECONOMY
While the opposition media usually reports that Trump didn’t handle the economy in the face of the virus well it doesn’t seem to be the entire truth. A quick check shows that the economy of the Democratic States are the worst hit by COVID-19 while the Republican States are doing better even in the economy despite the virus.
Statistics by The Economists have noted that those in the Republican states are moving more, buying more and suffering less unemployment. This may have much or less to do with policies in a bid to control the virus.
Just like every other nation, Nigeria has its share of economic turmoil as a result of the pandemic but we are yet to see any improvement since Nigeria lifted its lockdown. Price of food commodities has continued to go high.
We can conclude that Trump and Buhari are in no way similar both in perception, policies and governance. While I agree that President Donald Trump has obvious flaws, there is a need to acknowledge and admit the good he has done for Americans and the Black community at large.