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Of Nigerians and the US election

The US presidential election has come and gone, though the campaign was one of the most brutal in terms of venom and tantrums by the parties from both sides of the aisle. America is a country of “We the people” with eloquent and tumultuous beginnings. It is a country striving hard with imagination to use its present to correct a horrid past in order to guide her unassuming future.

The most reassuring part of the US entity is the determination of the losers of previous elections to accept the results of the election with grace. This is what Hillary Clinton has been able to do with humility by congratulating the President-elect, Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton has shown a gracious respect for the sacred document, that is, the Constitution, which guides the American people.

The citizens of the United States should move on with their lives, hoping for the best for the winner, unlike the third world countries, where the aftermath of general elections usually result into war and wanton destruction of lives and properties. Though, the outcome of the election was incredibly upsetting and hurting to the loser and her supporters, these people, however, understand the importance of the results of the election to the country’s exceptionalism. The current protests across the country should be cautiously addressed by the President-elect to move the country forward. All his utterances should be presidential and channelled towards uniting the people in this difficult period of polarisation.

Hillary Clinton’s concession speech embellishes the exceptionalism of the United States. She believes that the country is bigger than the individuals involved in the political exercise. In spite of the resentment and hate that coloured the campaigns, everyone has come to terms with the outcome to see the continuity of life in America. The President-elect, Donald Trump, cannot govern in isolation. America is a constitutional democracy where separation of power is sacrosanct to government and the people. Nigerians should realise that all the bickering and noxious stance of Trump during the campaign are in consonant with political expediency.

But surprisingly, in far away Nigeria, private television stations were subsumed in the broadcasting of the US election results with interesting analysis. In contrast, when we conducted our presidential elections in 2015, no coverage was made by CNN to tell the world of the importance of our democratic process in Nigeria. The only news emanating from Nigeria in their news coverage was the Chibok girls kidnapped by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram. Negativity and sensationalism are part of their nomenclatures for carrying news from Nigeria and Africa. It is part of the spirits of mercantilism. Any achievement of the citizens in Nigeria or Africa is never aired on their international news.

Meanwhile, it is an expectation in futility as disgruntled Nigerians at home expect the mass deportation of Nigerian-Americans because of the victory of Trump. Stunningly, it was reported that four groups of Nigerians were prominently involved in the US general election this year. One of the groups wanted Donald Trump to win, so that he would send all Nigerians back to Nigeria to be part of the sufferings in the land. The second group consist of the people who didn’t want Donald Trump to win so that they could easily get visa to travel to the US. The third group are Nigerians avoiding deportation from US because they have overstayed their visas. The fourth group is mainly composed of Nigerians who are not only immigrants, but immigrants with dual citizenship with the same responsibilities of other citizens of the United States. Social media is now agog with banters and counter banters of fellow citizens at home and in the Diaspora. This is an interesting chapter in our funny history book. Why are we so self-subsumed in resentment and hate for mutual destruction?

When Donald Trump won, the first group was said to have been in jubilation for they seem to call ‘Diaspora-Nigerian babysitters’ to come back home. The pertinent question is, why would anyone in Nigeria want or wish the successful Nigerian in the Diaspora to come home to “suffer” (not come home to contribute his/her quota to national development)? These Diaspora-Nigerians have even been contributing immensely in one way or another to the socio-economic and political development of our country. Several billions of dollars were in remittance to the Nigerian economy in 2015 alone.

It is evident that these Nigerians are using the divisiveness of Donald Trump during the toxic campaign to leverage their resentment of fellow Nigerians. However, the President-elect, Donald Trump, will soon come to the realisation that there are more to the unique position soon to be entrusted into his hands. Nigerian-American diplomatic relations go beyond self-interest; it’s diplomatically mutual. The two countries’ relationship has always been mutual diplomacy in the areas of business and intellectual expertise. The intellectual acuity of the Nigerian citizens in their professional callings and their resourcefulness are among the indispensable credentials for her unique relationship with the United States.

  • Balogun lives in Arizona, United States of America.