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It never used to be so. Not even in 1964 when the most probable right-wing Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, contested against incumbent Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, who was re-elected by a landslide. It is a different story on Tuesday when Americans vote for a successor to outgoing Democratic President Barrack Obama. As much as every American presidential election attracts world attention never in history has the democratic world been on edge, in trepidation over a worst possible result.
The source of worry is the Republican candidate Donald Trump, ordinarily, a well-known property developer, who virtually could not have taken himself seriously when he gambled into politics for the first time but in a bid for the most powerful political office in the world, the American presidency. It all seemed a joke from one of various American late night television shows. And since Donald Trump himself did not seem to present himself as a serious candidate, neither the Republican Party establishment nor any of the remaining sixteen rivals with whom he contested the primaries could be faulted for underestimating Donald Trump. His rivals? They comprised former and serving state governors, ex and current senators, each in his own right, flaunting outstanding record of public office and seemingly invincible, at least, against Donald Trump.
Like a sniper aiming at an unwary enemy, Donald Trump, at various stages of the primary elections took out his rivals, one after another, no matter how formidable. Even after winning his party’s ticket, top and influential Republicans, including two former presidents, father and son – George Bush snr. and George Bush jnr. – unceasingly rubbished Donald Trump, a gross underestimation for which Donald Trump made the doubting Thomases (to) pay. From an obvious political orphan, to a lone ranger and inevitable loose canon, Donald Trump abandoned all discretion. In return, he earned various epitaphs – a risk to the world, a racist, a hater, ignoramus, a poison to world economy, a con, a fraud.
A right-wing American president can be curtailed or even tanned by the American Congress or the Supreme Court. But an extremist to unleash nuclear power to hot spots of the world? An extremist to break up post-World War security alliances?
That is the danger Donald Trump poses to the world. According to his doctrine, every willing nation should be free to develop nuclear capability for its own security; the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) should not be the responsibility of United States.
Detested by rivals, rejected by his party’s establishment, discredited at every stage of the campaigns, Donald Trump survived all seeming obstacles to emerge the most dreadful election candidate in the world today. Yet, Donald Trump is a test for the age-long self-restraint propounded by the French statesman, Napoleon Bonaparte, who conceded that he would rather face one thousand bayonets than one newspaper. Well, to reach this stage, Donald Trump defied, alienated antagonised and confronted the American media, whose combined war effort to discredit Donald Trump ironically transformed him into a cult-hero among his supporters.
With only days to the elections, if one American newspaper is to endorse Donald Trump, such newspaper is yet to surface. That shows the mutual hostility between the entire American, or indeed world media and Donald Trump. Probable exceptions are Russian, North Korean and Chinese media.
All said, democracy will determine Donald Trump’s fate. Yes, democracy defined as government of the people, by the people, for the people. This is further rubbed home by the old saying that a people get the government they deserve. No matter how seemingly unacceptable to Americans and the democratic world, a shock result of this election, installing Donald Trump in White House, can only be the outcome of voting preferences of Americans for Americans, majority that is. That reality or, at least, possibility nullifies whatever fear or reservation in other parts of the world, or democracy will be meaningless.
Donald Trump, it must be conceded, defied the world, took on the world and may conquer the world. Everything, if anything at all, about Donald Trump is not promising. All the same, the man is remarkable and unprecedented. Otherwise, he should, by now, have been consigned to history, as “also ran” for the American presidency. But there he (Donald Trump) is virtually at par with if not ahead of his erstwhile formidable opponent, Hilary Clinton, in the coming showdown for the occupancy of White House, despite the latter’s intimidating credentials.
The wife of former President Bill Clinton a generally considered one of the most qualified to bid for the American presidency in recent years. Twice first lady to a state governor, twice a senator, among the top one hundred American lawyers and by the way, the first woman presidential candidate in American politics, etc. In contrast, Donald Trump prides himself as too smart not to exploit loopholes in American revenue regulations to dodge tax for years. Until a few weeks ago, only Hilary Clinton could lose herself the presidential race. But suddenly, she went crashing in her prospects for victory.
First, the allegation of corruption against the Clinton couple stuck more and more day in day out, week in and week out. The more she tried to defend or deny the allegations, the more the American media portrayed her as untrustworthy and fed same to the public on such scale that she now goes to the elections with a negative reputation not better than if nor worse than that of Donald Trump whose albatross also includes sex exploitation and contempt for ladies over the years, and corroborated by more than ten of the victims in the past few weeks.
Even this did not give Hilary Clinton an unbridgeable gap, as might be expected. Instead, another dilemma dogged her intermittently till these last few days to the elections. The Federal Bureau of Investigation faulted Hilary Clinton for using her personal e-mail for official duties as Secretary of State in the first term of Barrack Obama’s tenure as president. The FBI initially dismissed the scandal as merely careless of Mrs. Clinton with no adequate evidence to warrant a trial for endangering national security. But Americans were surprised with the decision of the same FBI, barely a week to the elections to have another look at Hilary Clinton’s indiscretion on the e-mail controversy.
Inevitably, the development is suspected to be capable of causing monumental sensation in Tuesday’s election. No thanks to Donald Trump, who is rallying home with the resurgent e-mail scandal.
The allegation of corruption against the Clinton couple must be of interest to Nigeria. Here was Hilary Clinton, as American Secretary of State pontificating in Nigeria early this decade on massive corruption. The allegation of abuse of office (as Secretary of State) to generate millions of dollars for her husband’s (Clinton) Foundation was traced to the period of her criticisms of Nigeria. Clearly, hypocrisy bedevils politics and public office all over the world.
Unlike Donald Trump the lone ranger on the platform of the Republicans, Hilary Clinton seems to be better placed in her campaigns. She enjoys the benefit of outgoing President Obama with vested interest of preserving his legacy and, therefore, has joined the hurtling to campaign for Hilary Clinton. Of course, outgoing first lady, Michelle Obama, is also having happy times on the campaigns. Other leading members of Hilary Clinton’s Democratic Party, including Bernie Sanders, who scared Hilary Clinton for the ticket of Democratic Party, are all involved in the campaigns either as contributing effort or jointly with their candidate at the same venue, all in fear of Armageddon inherent in a shock Donald Trump victory.
One other issue, which may affect the result, is possible complacency or apathy among voters.
The world does not deserve and indeed, must be worried about an extremist near the nuclear button. Is that what Americans want? Don’t bet a kobo on that gamble.
Come back, Turai, all is forgiven
Being conclusion article by Duro Onabule first published last week.
That in itself remains a masterstoke. Do Nigeria ministers have any control on world prices of oil, the collapse of which accounts for the intractable state of our economy? What could any minister with World Bank background have done in our present circumstances?
How many ministers throughout the world necessarily have World Bank background? Without World Bank background, Buhari’s ministers, no matter how minimally, have stopped the drift inherited in the economy. Our economic and financial experts forced their theories, like devaluation of the naira on the government. Must ministers be held responsible for that? Since devaluation, against all assurances, has not much helped the economy, proponents rather than take the blame now aim at making ministers the scapegoats.
Without prejudice against Buhari’s intended cabinet shake up, we seem to have forgotten the completely collapsed state of the economy inherited. When these ministers were appointed, critics focused on the age of the ministers and now even going and middle-aged among the ministers are being targeted for dismissal. It must, therefore, be on record that when young ones were given the chance to serve, their age group turned round to hurt them out of office. Should Buhari effect a cabinet change now, by Nigerian standard, he will again be under pressure in a year’s time or at most eighteen months’ time for fresh cabinet changes.
Three of Buhari’s ministers are under blackmail to resign or be dismissed, a fall-out from the expose of corruption on the bench. Attorney-General Abubakar Malami, Science/Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu, and Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, have been accused by allegedly corrupt judges to have been victimised by the ministers because they refused the attempt of the ministers to compromise their (judges) positions on the bench. What is more, there have been insinuations of similar blackmail on President Buhari himself. One of the allegedly corrupt judges is said to be handling the suit on Buhari’s school certificate while another is said to be suffering his fate because he granted bail to Nnamdi Kanu, on trial for alleged subversive activities. All these issues have to be carefully handled.
These ministers and suspect judges have made counter accusations, which resulted in demands for their resignations or stepping aside. The cases are different. So far, the cases against the ministers are allegations, which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Only the accusers (the judges) can prove their allegations with their evidence (in self-defence) while on trial in the dock, and on oath to be rigorously cross-examined. While this is on, it will be absurd to imagine the judges on trial, to return to the bench at the end of every day’s proceedings or any adjournment. For what purpose? To be trying, possibly criminal cases while they themselves (the judges) are being tried in another court for criminal charges of corruption?
Were they not from the bench, these judges might not have been handicapped by the absurdity of being prosecuted while they are determining the prosecution of other accused. What is more, there are clear exhibits to be tendered against these judges. Whatever the explanations for the exhibits, such are not available to be tendered against the ministers. Only the evidence of the judges will determine the cases against the ministers.
Meanwhile, the minsters must be presumed innocent. Afterall, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy Ike Ekweremadu, faced trial for criminal forgery of state document. They both remained in their posts while the trial lasted. Eventually, the state had to withdraw the charges against them. Supposed they had been forced to resign?
Accordingly, only the judges must step aside.