By Donu Kogbara
As I write this column on the afternoon of Thursday November 5, the outcome of the American presidential election is unknown.
afternoon of Thursday November 5, the outcome of the American presidential election is unknown.
The Democratic Party contender, Joe Biden, is in the lead; but votes are still being counted; and the Republican Party incumbent, Donald Trump, still stands a chance of dramatically overtaking his rival.
Early voting in person and via mail started in September. And the general election officially commenced last Tuesday morning.
But the winner may still not have been announced by the time Vanguard hits the newsstands on Friday morning. And I’m rather surprised that final results should be delivered so tardily in such a technologically-advanced and electorally experienced country.
This is America’s 59th quadrennial presidential poll! This is a mega-sophisticated superpower that has put a man on the moon and given birth to Steve Jobs, the genius who invented iphones! And yet, votes are being laboriously enumerated at a snail’s pace.
This frustrating scenario reminds me of the olden days in Naija when election results took forever to arrive at mainland collation centres…in rickety canoes that had wended their way through endless creeks from remote riverine hamlets in the Niger Delta!
And this is not the only similarity that I’ve recently spotted between America and Nigeria. It’s like the two nations could be twins on certain critical levels!
The most glaring similarity that has come to my attention is the fact that many Americans share the average Nigerian citizen’s penchant for voting twice for a president who has been a disappointment.
During President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term, lots of things went horribly wrong, not least economic disintegration and security nightmares galore. But still, Buhari was returned to serve a second term in 2019.
Ditto Trump. During his first term, which began in 2016 and hasn’t yet ended, there have been horrendous racial tensions and a near-total mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis (to name but two of the multiple failures and scandals that have characterised his tenure).
So you’d think that hardly anyone would vote for Trump this time around…and that most Americans would be queuing up to bestow a huge landslide on Biden. But Trump and Biden are neck-and-neck.
In other words, a significant number of Nigerian and American voters clearly need lobotomies or psychotherapy!!!
Meanwhile – another uncanny similarity! – Trump is stomping up and down, throwing tantrums, threatening legal action and flatly refusing to accept defeat in states that were smart enough to give Biden an edge.
This Sore Loser thing – and paranoid preoccupation with being a victim of electoral fraud who has been “rigged out” by opponents – is a typical Naija politician trait. As we speak, Trump has instructed his lawyers to go to court. The litigiousness is also very Nigerian.
Trump is also very dubious around business issues in a very Naija kinda way. And I think Buhari should kindly offer him a passport and a key role (APC Chairman?) if he loses because he’d fit in perfectly here (despite Trump describing African countries as “shitholes” – which most are, to be honest – Nigeria is his spiritual home).
I have, by the way, concluded that the SLAVE MENTALITY is alive-and-kicking.
Donald Trump has consistently insulted Black and Brown people. He has described Mexicans as rapists. He has said that some overtly racist White supremacists are decent people. He was dismissive when a Black man, George Floyd, was murdered by a White policeman.
When he was a property developer in New York, he wouldn’t rent any of his properties to Black folks until he was sued and had no choice.
And yet, he has Black fans! Only last week, some Igbo Trumpians organised a support rally for their hero in Nigeria.
Yesterday, I watched with mounting dismay as a trio of young Black Americans defended Trump on Fox TV News. I kept thinking that if Trump had been a businessman in the plantation era, he would have been one of the most cruel slave masters around.
Some Blacks, both here and there, carry Trump on their heads for religious reasons. I find this strange because there is absolutely no evidence that Trump is a regular churchgoer or an ethically sound Christian.
Furthermore, he’s been married three times and is a famed adulterer. But still they believe that he is in tune with fanatical evangelicals.
Apparently, exit polls indicated that 8% of black women and 18% of black men voted for Trump.
Ah well. Never mind. As Charles Blow pointed out in the New York Times newspaper, some individuals who have been oppressed historically will stand with their oppressors and willingly help to perpetuate oppressive societal structures like White patriarchy.
I guess this is what shrinks mean when they talk about “internalising oppression”…or what some would describe as an inferiority complex.
Kamala Harris, Biden’s professionally accomplished, charismatic and beautiful running mate, is half-Black (Caribbean) and half-Indian.
This means that despite being very light-skinned, she has (unlike Barack Obama whose mother was White) no Oyinbo blood in her.
I am convinced that this total absence of Caucasian genes is one of the reasons why Biden is struggling to defeat Trump.
White American racists are terrified by the prospect of the elderly 77-year-old Biden dying and being succeeded by Kamala.
The Senate has told State House officials to restrain President Buhari from embarking on further medical trips abroad.
They believe that the Presidential Villa clinic will only become fully functional if Buhari has no other medical option; and they’ve given the president’s team till the end of this year to beef up the clinic.
I thoroughly approve of this move.
When the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, picked up the COVID-19 bug, he had to be flown to Lagos for treatment…crazy considering how much money has been allocated to the Villa clinic over the years.
Nigeria urgently needs state of the art clinics in the Villa and several other locations.
But I have to say that the Senate is not in a position to be sanctimonious about such matters. Nigerian Senators are notoriously overpaid and it’s time for them to be compelled to downsize if they aren’t ready to voluntarily surrender their outrageously generous salaries and perks.