Says Uwazuruike never betrayed Nnamdi Kanu or Ndigbo National President of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chekwas Okorie is trying to put out the fire ignited by supporters of the Indigeneous People of Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu and those of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Ralph Uwazuruike. In this interview with SaturdaySun, Okorie explains why the…
Without saying so in many words, those who innovated democracy as a form of government were so clear in their intent. Subject to strict adherence to certain stipulations, the end product of any democratic exercise must be embraced by all. Even if the victor is a fool, a fraud, a dullard or warmonger, he is the man with the people’s mandate until he is removed through a repeat democratic exercise. By the way, the democratic exercise generally contemplated and recognised is as obtains in civilised societies part of which, no matter how irritating or distasteful, Africa is not.
It was always on the cards that the outcome of the (recent) American presidential elections would reverberate all over the world, no matter who won, although not many reckoned with the possibility of victory for the Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump. So blind to reason is that political prejudice, especially in Nigeria, that in any American election, only Democrats must rule just as in Britain, only the Labour Party is good for the Commonwealth countries. On this occasion, admittedly, partly deriving from his antecedents, Donald Trump alarmed the world throughout the campaigns. Unfortunately, American majority backed him to emerge the President-elect, as successor to outgoing President Barack Obama.
That is democracy in action unless, of course, the system is meaningless. The omnibus atmosphere of gloom being whipped around Donald Trump is, therefore, worthless as long as he won the mandate of his fellow citizens.
Incidentally, it has emerged in Nigeria’s interests that Donald Trump won the elections, in view of the violent protests, which erupted against his victory or specifically his person. Noticeably, Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate, who lost the elections, has not condemned the protests. Did she, therefore, necessarily instigate the protests? Certainly not. But the same Hillary Clinton was in Nigeria after the 2011 presidential elections, echoing the blackmail of the ruling PDP that CPC candidate instigated the post-election violent protests. In fact, Hillary Clinton only stopped short of directly naming Muhammadu Buhari, as the man behind the protests.
Such protests anywhere in the world are ever spontaneous, especially this time, showing that in expressing post-election grievances, Americans are not more civilised that Nigerians, or in another way, Nigerians are not more barbaric than Americans.
The only reason it emerged in Nigeria’s interests that Donald Trump won? Yes. But generally, what emerged in Nigeria’s interests was that the Americans held their elections to put the record straight on a similar situation in Nigeria in 2015. Within three days of his victory, Donald Trump commenced announcement of key appointments, starting with personal staff to be followed later with ministerial list, possibly before he takes office in two months time. In contrast, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, five months after he was sworn in, was not ready with his ministerial list. If that was not bad enough, he worsened the situation during a visit to United States by explaining himself that ministerial list in America is not usually ready up to six months into the tenure of a new president. Whoever briefed Buhari with such embarrassing wrong information.
The limited number of appointments Donald Trump made so far was only because the man himself was caught unawares by his victory. If Hillary Clinton had won, almost all key appointments would have been announced, as she was far more prepared for office.
There seems to be no limit for public sympathy for Hillary Clinton with undue emphasis on the fact that she won more popular votes than Donald Trump, who clinched the presidency with landslide Electoral College votes. As part of long established American election arrangement, Hillary Clinton is not the first loser to suffer that handicap. Only eight years ago, Al Gore, ex-Vice President (to Bill Clinton), suffered the same election default with more popular votes than ex-President George Bush (jnr.), who won the presidency with higher Electoral College votes.
Here in Nigeria in the pre-independence 1959 federal elections, Nnamdi Azikiwe and his NCNC/NEPU alliance scored more popular votes than Tafawa Balawa’s NPC, which won more seats in the House of Representatives.
For the record, it must be noted that the American presidential election featured an unacknowledged racism in reverse. One of the causes of Hillary Clinton’s defeat was the failure, indeed unwillingness of Afro-Americans to exercise their voting rights. Were they spiting Hillary Clinton? If so, they only did so to cut their own noses in the process. Or who are nursing their wounds? Not Hillary Clinton, or at least, not the lady alone. Not excluded are Afro-Americans and Latinos. An irony. Barack Obama has gone into history, as the first Afro-American to win the Presidency, largely owing to the preponderant support of the whites. No matter the heavy voting bloc of especially Afro-Americans and Latinos, who helped Obama to make history, the bitter truth is that there are more white voters in United States than the combined number of Afro-Americans and Latinos.
Without the support of whites, Obama might not have won the primary elections against Hillary Clinton to obtain the nomination of Democratic Party in 2008. Equally, without the massive support of white voters, Obama would not have made history by defeating American war hero, Senator Mackaine. It was, therefore, payback time moreso as white voters were divided in their support for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton. Without any qualms, Trump resorted to white jingoism and thereby cost Hillary Clinton substantial shite votes. It was, therefore, left for Afro-Americans and Latinos to make the voting gap up for Hillary Clinton. Instead, both minority groups stayed away rather than support Hillary Clinton as they massively supported Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Another disturbing fact was that if Donald Trump contested against Barack Obama, Afro-Americans would have turned up massively to vote for Obama, which they failed to do for Hillary Clinton despite Obama’s desperate appeals in the last days of the campaigns
A former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, once said that a week was a longtime in politics. America’s president-elect, Donald Trump, has lived up to that billing. From soapbox oratory to reality of public office, Donald Trump, with victory in his pocket, virtually somersaulted on most of his extremist campaign pledges. But that is the way of politicians. Sensing defeat in the last Israeli general elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alarmed Middle-East peace negotiators, especially United States, by indicating that he no longer believed in a two-state solution. That alarm suited the lawless among Israeli voters, who returned Netanyahu to office for a fresh term, as Prime Minister. Almost immediately, the same Israeli Prime Minister assured United States and Middle-East leaders that the two-state solution (for Israelis and Palestinians) was still on the table.
In Donald Trump’s case, he has, as president-elect, toned down his threat to build a wall along the border with Mexico to check illegal immigration. Instead, he now promises to construct a fence, a sort of difference between six and half a dozen. Whichever, the fact remains Donald Trump cannot win over his critics, especially on the question of deporting illegal aliens, who, in any case, are mainly criminals. What, for example, is wrong with any country or a leader deporting violators of immigration laws? That is a standard policy anywhere in the world.
The handicap in the instant case is the name Donald Trump and, perhaps, the fact of making his plan open to the world. Otherwise, outgoing President Obama is on record, as deporting the highest number of foreigners in the history of United States.
So far, Obama, according to a New York Times, has deported not less than two and half million foreigners, be they illegal immigrants or convicted criminals. In contrast, Donald Trump’s target is three million. What, therefore, is the difference? Names (Barack Obama, Donald Trump) and the different colour of their skin. As long as the deportees are criminals, especially convicted murderers, even if Muslims, deporting such foreigners is a justified purge. Since Mexicans or Latin Americans are feared to be Donald Trump’s main target, surely, there are more Christians among Latin Americans, particularly Latinos from Mexico than Muslims.
Donald Trump’s fury derives from the disturbing fact that such illegal immigrant criminals pardoned or released on bail end up as recidivists, committing fresh murders. Both Obama and Donald Trump are, therefore, justified.
The American presidential elections, like elections in Nigeria, featured both the serious and the hilarious, all of which warrant reverberation. One absurd aspect of elections in Nigeria is that all campaigns must end about seventy-two hours before elections. In contrast Americans campaigned till the last minutes before voting started. Of what use is the time limit placed on campaigns in Nigeria?
Donald Trump contested and won the elections without producing his papers for federal income tax. As much as that was, in Nigerian political parlance, a pre-election matter, it never affected the president-elect’s eligibility to contest the elections.
Stomach infrastructure? It is generally assumed to be evidence of poverty among voters. Perhaps so, in view of the economic situation in Nigeria. In the last few days of campaigns for the American elections, both candidates each served one million doughnuts to mobilise voters for the exercise.
Last lines: November 16 was Nnamdi Azikiwe’s 112th birthday. In an unrelated development, the BBC world service is to commence broadcasting to Nigeria in Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin English languages to complement the existing transmission in Hausa.