Former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will, tomorrow, deliver the Nnamdi Azikiwe University convocation lecture at the institution’s 11th convocation ceremony. The lecture, titled Leadership and the challenges of national unity in Nigeria holds at the university auditorium by 1:00pm. Ribadu was the pioneer EFCC chairman, the government…
As the world remembers the events and personalities of 2016, one man, who would easily pass for the person that made the greatest impact in the outgoing year, is the United States President-elect, Donald Trump. For the upset he caused in the US presidential election, he is the star of 2016.
Trump may not be my hero. He may not be my role model. He may not be a man in “whom I am well pleased.” However, he made history in such a dramatic way that the story of 2016 will not by complete if he does not get an elegant mention and page. He could pass, figuratively, for a thunderbolt or tsunami, which swept through the world and left an indelible mark.
Yes, Trump broke a record. He shattered dreams. He made a mess of bookmakers. He made liars of “prophets.” He ignited a movement, set the United States on fire and left many bewildered. He gave meaning to the slogan, “Yes, we can,” turning it to mean, “Yes, I can,” at a time when the odds weighed heavily against him and when only a few gave him a chance.
Indeed, it is unbelievable how a billionaire businessman, without experience in partisan politics, a man considered as “uncouth,” a man who talks “any how,” as Nigerians would say, a man who was castigated, maligned and dismissed, could produce an unexpected result, in an election, which the press and the majority gave his opponent. This shows the stuff Trump is made of. It shows his resilience, tact, determination and audacity.
Like him or hate him, Trump is the hero of 2016. He came into the United States presidential race as an underdog and ended with an outstanding achievement. To be sure, despite his billions in dollars and his chains of businesses, Trump was an outsider in the race to the White House, for obvious reason. Hitherto the presidential election, he had never run for any elective office in his life. He never held any appointive office in government. He was not close to the US Presidency, as he never met President Obama one-on-one, for close to eight years, except after he won the presidential election. He was never seen as a presidential material among the Republicans. Therefore, coming straight for the Presidency, in his first attempt at elective office, was seen as a huge joke.
In the Republican Party primary election, therefore, he, first, recorded victories after victories, from state to state, to the consternation of many. Indeed, other aspirants stepped down for him midway in the race. And he clinched the presidential ticket of the political party through which icons like Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford and others came to power.
In the presidential election, Trump showed an “audacity of hope” (apologies, President Obama). Against former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, ably supported by President Obama, the US Presidency and a high percentage of the US press, Trump ran against the tide, as it were. This is moreso, since members of his political party, the Republicans, did not support him much. In fact, many Republicans came out to condemn him, after the sex tales broke. He was mocked and derided. He was labelled a man who thought the US presidential race was a “reality show,” a “loose cannon” and a “liar.” He was accused of sexual misconduct, with legion of women coming out to tell tales of how he touched them inappropriately. He was taunted over tax payment, with the request for him to release his tax papers. He was presented as a cheat of a businessman.
All these could make a man lose self-confidence. But not Trump. He overcame them. His disposition, depicted in his book, “Think Like a Champion,” could have been his motivating factor. He moved on, warding off the toga of incompetence and perversion. He ran a campaign on issues, harping on what Clinton did in office and what she could not do. He concentrated on what he perceived to be Clinton’s shortcomings. He focused on Obama’s failures. He worked for winning Electoral Collage votes, which matter in the presidential election. He had boasted that he would win the states that command high Electoral College votes. And he did. Indeed, his strategy paid off.
Trump, in his campaign, dwelt on what he thought the US majority would want to hear: Immigration, terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism /radicalism, economy and foreign policy. He made Mexico an issue, harping on Mexicans’ rapid migration to the US and vowing to build a wall at the US-Mexico border to stop this. He attacked China and more or less called the Asian country an economic terrorist. He took on Britain. He aligned with Russia, okaying Moscow’s anti-terror campaign in the Middle East. He sent shivers down the spines of the international community, with what he said and his posture.
From January 20, 2017, the world will see a United States president, who is unpredictable. In fact, Trump’s unpredictability makes him an enigma. The world and the US are not sure what he would do. He has shunned the security briefing required of him, even as he awaits his swearing in. He has attacked the United Nations. He has picked, as cabinet members, people who opposed him and from across political parties. He has kept the world figuratively guessing.
Trump has proved to have the courage to confront challenges. He confronted Obama and the US establishment. He faced world leaders, who talked disapprovingly of his candidature. He faced his opponent, Clinton, squarely, to the point of near intimidation. He is a man, who cannot allow his opponent to have the last say, as shown recently, when President Obama said he could have defeated Trump were he his opponent in the presidential race. Yes, Trump had fired back that he could have floored the President, were they in the same contest. Trump is a man who always has an opinion on something. His views may not make sense, but he takes a position, which I consider the hallmark of leadership.
This year, Donald Trump is a phenomenon. His footprints are in the sands. However, as to whether he would be a good president is a matter of conjecture. Call him a maverick, iconoclast or non-conformist, one thing that is for sure is this: Trump stunned the world this year. He is my Man of the Year.
LASTLINE: I wish my fans and ardent readers of The Sun Happy New Year and fulfilling 2017.