DONALD TRUMP, SHITHOLE AND AFRICA (1)

By
Babatunde Fagoyinbo

Introduction

Africa

When Trump’s remark “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” in his reaction to the discussion on protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries in the Oval Office, Thursday, January 11, 2018 penultimate to January 28 annual summit of the African Union, with the official theme of combating corruption got into the open, African leaders feigned outrage! We’ll wait to see how African countries rate in the next Transparency International at the net assessment.

Is the outrage morally right? Did Animasaun not tell us in 2013 that we like to show our allegiances to religion yet we have lost our humanity? (Animasaun, 2013). What happens when we lose our humanity? We treat ourselves like shit. And because Trump reminded us in 2018 of Animasaun’s observation in 2013 so that we can brace up and restore the human aspects of ourselves but we draw daggers! Animasaun further stated that the elite use the ethnic divisions for their own benefit yet we are too blind to see it.

Which of African leader has left his country on a better socio-economic standing than he met it other than Obasanjo’s military regime and Rawlings’ military regime and civilian presidency? He was named African Union Envoy to Somalia. It is claimed that Rawlings’ success in governance results from freedom from family or tribal pressures. Obasanjo could have succeeded better than Rawlings in his civilian era. He had no inclinations to ethnic sentiments but he submitted himself to manipulations by the National Assembly because they refused to pass the budget due to his unwillingness to package Ghana-must-go bags; a resolve he initially made in order to rid the nation of the garments of irresponsibility, greed, avarice and lasciviousness.

It is the feigned outrage that amazes me. A look at Museveni’s track records shows that he came into power in January 1986, has remained for three decades and won the country’s very heated poll in 2016 to extend his 32 years for a further five years before the next elections in 2021 (Eweniyi, 2017) vis-á-vis his remarks that “It is the Africans’ fault that they are weak” (news24.com, 2018) shows that LeBas (2016) was right in his conclusion that “Executives are able to act with impunity because there is no strong, organised opposition to challenge entrenched incumbents and push them toward a genuine political opening,”

Corruption

Corruption exists in governance everywhere but not in Africa! What exists in Africa is made up of irresponsibility, indiscipline, moral decadence, lawlessness, greed all combined together.

Gratification

Sometime around 1980, I read either in Time or Newsweek Magazine of prosecution of the Mayor of Melbourne for taking kick-back. The students of the University of Melbourne stormed the court; demanding that the case should be dismissed.

It was. Why? The students claimed that the bridge on which contract the mayor received kick-back had resulted into the deaths of many, including students, prior to the mayor’s tenure without the previous ones doing anything about it but that after the bridge was rehabilitated there were no more accidents there. The case was not heard in the court but we should assume that there was kick-back, there was performance and the lives and well-being of the people were positively affected. It is unlike the cases in Africa where the contract will be awarded and the funds released but no work is done or, at best, shoddy performance observed.

To me, corruption is any form of gratification negotiated or promised prior to the execution of a project for the purpose of easy passage, approval or certification. In Nigeria, prior to military rule gratification might cause a contractor to lose favour with the awarding agency. Gratification should be seen as saying “Thank You” after a job has been successfully completed and certified. This was even rare in the pre-military era in Nigeria. Civil Servants viewed gratification as a scheme to get them out of service using contractors. However, when a contractor felt that he’d been blessed in the project, they usually gave appreciation to the spouses of the project supervisors.

I have supervised many projects where contractors came to negotiate kick-backs but I’d always advised them that they could offer whatever they were capable of after the projects had been accredited as properly done and had ensured that their projects yielded dividends. Only one of them took me to lunch after the conclusion of his project. In Nigeria, particularly, most contractors see contracts as portions of their own pieces of the national cake and thus want to share some portions with the project administrators.

Misappropriation

This has to do with diversion of project funds to other means, most especially to personal accounts (Isenyo, 2017). Dasukigate is also a clear case of misappropriation, carried out without consideration for the dire consequences of his actions; the lives of young men and women who had been trained at great expenses for national security assignments, the loss of their service to the nation, the dashed hopes of members of their families.

Irresponsibility

Rifle-carrying terrorist herdsman

A government becomes irresponsible when it leaves undone what it is supposed to do. Let’s look at the rifle carrying herdsmen’s situation in a country that prohibits firearms without licenses, yet keeps mute over these so-called illiterates brandishing firearms in the open and attacking farmers on their farms so that cattle can feed on the farmers’ sweat. Is it Trump that called African nations shit pits or we ourselves who value cows more than human lives? (BBC Pidgin, 2018; PE, 2018)

Extension of terms by governance

Felter (2017) opined that (i) leaders are increasingly securing longer terms through “constitutional coups,” proposing amendments for approval by the legislature or judiciary, or in national referenda, that allow for additional terms in office, (ii) at least seventeen heads of state have tried to remain in power by tweaking their countries’ constitutions, (iii) countries lacking effective political opposition are vulnerable to constitutional coups, (iv) kleptocratic incumbents could lose their wealth if they were to lose power and potentially face prosecution and (v) very few African countries have any kind of pension or security scheme for former presidents or heads of state. This is necessitated because of fraudulent practices that siphon most of the state’s resources into private accounts.

Dr Yakubu  Gowon was ousted from Office as Head of State in 1975. He had no pension neither had access to his military salaries. He enroled and did a degree course and progressively acquired a PhD in political science as a student at the University of Warwick. There is no record that he has ever used those certificates to apply for employment.

Gen. Gowon is also involved in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme as well as the HIV Programme with Global Fund of Geneva. Gowon founded his own organisation in 1992 called the Yakubu Gowon Centre. The organisation is said to work on issues in Nigeria such as good governance as well as infectious disease control including HIV/AIDS, guinea worm, and malaria.

In November 2004, Gowon won World Peace Prize Top Honor (awarded by World Peace Prize Awarding Council) for maintaining national stability, promoting economic growth, and organising a symbolic peace conference in the African region.

To-date, there has been no allegation of corruption, mismanagement or misappropriation of funds or embezzlement levied against him. He leads a simple life and moves about unguarded safe for official benefits as Army General.

Pacific-Ocean-wide disparities in salaries and emoluments

In Nigeria, there has been more than a decade struggle to raise the minimum wage to N30,000 for workers but in the same country the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) alleged that 21 former governors collected N40 billion between 2015 and February 2018 as pensions despite the fact that many of them are rewarded by their parties as ministers or senators for jobs well done in election manipulations for their parties. Osuntokun cited the immoral case of Akwa Ibom State Governor’s retirement emoluments as the most extreme in generosity (fraudulent practice), a former governor is entitled to the following: N100 million for medical treatment annually; N1 million monthly medical allowance; Five bedroom bungalow each in Abuja and Uyo; 300% of the basic salary of the incumbent governor as pension; a new utility and three saloon cars every three years; foreign holidays for wife and children under 18 years; provision of personal aide, cook, security guards not exceeding N5 million per month (italics mine). This is a State that is oweing pensioners upwards of 10 years gratuity and pensions based on a monthly minimum wage of 17,500 (Anthony, 2018). At the national Assembly Shehu Sani a total package of 14.25 million naira per month per senator who is part of decision making on a minimum salary of N30,000.00 struggle over a period of over 10 years..

Stark Illiteracy Syndrome

In Europe and America literacy is the ability to read and write, Isn’t it? In Africa, many of us have university education with high grades but cannot apply the knowledge even within the discipline; not to mention its application in the broad spectrum of socio-economic development. The reason is that we are thought-warped.

Please tell me, how will our children be able to work together when parents are asking for class separation on the basis of religion in school? Muslim students, Christian students, the various traditional religions must have their seats separated because of religion! What type of population are we nurturing?

In 1981, I hired a bus to carry my luggage from Zaria to Akure. Between Abaji and Lokoja the bus had flat tyres. His spare was down so he had to carry the two tyres for repairs. I had nothing doing and I was alone but nearby was an anthill. I drew near it and broke a part of the mound. Almost immediately came a swarm of termites. There were two different two different shapes of them. They immediately set up a task force to rebuild the damaged part. There was no segregation. I know that after the repair each would go back to its assigned responsibilities.

I have also watched ants; the little black ants.  They don’t give up on any crumb of the a food item. If it’s too large they’ll set off cutting them into bits and pieces but if it can roll the piece, it will persist until others come to team up; and together, they always succeed. I know they have colonies but I’ve never seen small ants fighting. I don’t know what happens if one strays into a colony it doesn’t belong to.

I remember that in my university days one of my roommates was a Muslim and had a Christian friend squatting with him. The Muslim would carry his mat and rosary at prayer time while the Christian would read his Bible as appropriate and attend Church services. The irony is that these parents are going through hard times and struggling to pay school fees but are not bothered about good education for their children.

I believe Donald meant that leadership in Africa is the passage through which Europe and America (Asia has joined the league) dump all sorts of rubbish on us. The unfortunate thing is that we are not resisting. We cannot resist because our leaders know our weak points.

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has an internal policy requiring that an Integrated Assessment IA be conducted for all new major projects and for significant modifications to existing projects. The scope of individual IAs is meant to be ‘fit for purpose’ (Orenstein et al, 2010),

Within Shell, an IA is defined as an assessment that:

  1. Looks at environmental, social (including economic), and health impacts in an integrated manner;
  2. Integrates the impact assessment process with the business development and project development process;
  • Integrates the impact assessment as a cross-functional activity within several internal departments (e.g. health, safety and environment, reputation/issues management, social performance); and
  1. Looks at issues raised by projects that are also important beyond the project scope, with regard to both the host society and international interest.

But the government that was expected to ensure compliance is the same that encourages the violation of environmental protection by Shell (Ahmed, Undated). Cases of submission of loyal forces to Boko Haram insurgents also abound in the armed forces (bbc.com, 2014; Agbugah, 2015).

In agony, Prof Wole Soyinka bemoaned the governance of Nigeria “We haven’t had a situation where it is being alleged and proved that the money supposed to be spent on defending ourselves, nation and neighbours has been shared among individuals……..We have never had a case of critical emergency where children are being kidnapped under our noses, we are helpless and our soldiers have been sent to the front to defend our very existence and we are not backing them up. It has not happened before.” 

Why are Africans docile?

Africa can survive without shelter throughout the year

Africa is so blessed that if you eat pawpaw today, you will come to that spot a year later to harvest many without bothering yourself about caring for it. Notwithstanding that our soils are fragile; but, in most parts of Africa, you can survive without shelter throughout the year. This is evident in the lunatics that roam the streets daily. But the governments have tuned us to be dependent on governance including marriages in which government pays the bride price and provides furniture and household utensils for the newlyweds (bbc.com, 2012; Usman, 2012; AFP, 2016; Aminu, 2017), performance of religious obligations where government pays for the travel expenses and sustenance allowances and blatant denial of such infrastructures as electricity supply, water supply, transportation so that the entrepreneurial among our children will have no facilities to promote self-engagement and healthcare delivery while they use government funds to treat themselves in foreign hospitals only to come back home to die or are cloned (Opejobi, 2017).

Donald Trump- American President

Trump can be likened to a man who lives in a neighbourhood and observes the foundation of his neighbours’ building being eroded. He called them to attention and they accused him of poke-nosing into their affairs. Let’s look at the major points raised in the statement:

  1. “If after 50 years of independence you have not built the necessary infrastructure for your people, are you humans?
  2. “If you sit on gold, diamond, oil, manganese, uranium… and your people don’t have food, are you, humans?
  • “If to stay in power, you buy weapons from strangers to kill your own citizens, are you humans?
  1. “If your only social project is to stay in power for life, are you being human?
  2. “If you despise and shoot your own citizens like game, who will respect them?
  3. “If you take all resources meant for development of your country for personal property are you humans?
  • “If you leave your country healthcare unattended and treat yourself abroad are you humans?
  • “Until your leaders think less of themselves and more about your people. You are not human but animal.”

Next: DONALD TRUMP, SHITHOLE AND AFRICA (2)

REFERENCES

AFP (2016) Cash crunch hits mass weddings in northern Nigeria. Agence France-Presse July 20, 2016 · Accessed 15 Nov 2018. https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-07-20/cash-crunch-hits-mass-weddings-northern-nigeria

Agbugah, F (2015). DASUKIGATE: here is a breakdown of the alleged misappropriation of $2.1 bn by Dasuki and others. http://venturesafrica.com/dasukigate-here-is-a-breakdown-of-the-misappropriation-of-2-1-bn-meant-for-arms-deal-by-dasuki-and-others/

Ahmed, FH (Undated). Violation of Human Rights by Shell Oil Company: government failure. https://www.academia.edu/7327376/Violation_of_Human_Rights_by_Shell_Oil_Company_government_failure

Aluko, M (2015). Dasukigate’s Diagraph of Corruption. Monday, January 11, 2015 11.58PM  https://www.proshareng.com/news/Nigeria-Economy/Diagraph-of-Corruption-Diagraph-of-Corruption-/29763 

Aminu, M (2017). APC Chieftain to Sponsor Mass Wedding of 100 couples in Sokoto. THISDAYDecember 28, 2017. https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/12/28/apc-chieftain-to-sponsor-mass-wedding-of-100-couples-in-sokoto/

Animasaun, D (2013). Nigerian lawmakers are the highest paid in the world  Vanguard August 25, 2013 In Outside Looking In. https://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/08/nigerian-lawmakers-are-the-highest-paid-in-the-world/

Anthony, E (2018). Akwa Ibom and Payment of 10 Years Pension Arrears, Gratuities. The Nation on: November 2, 2018 In: Niger Delta. http://thenationonlineng.net/akwa-ibom-and-payment-of-10-years-pension-arrears-gratuities/

BBC Pidgin (2018). Fulani herdsmen: Nigeria suppose declare dem terrorists? BBC Pidgin 13 January 2018. https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-42650096

bbc.com (2012). Nigerian Kano divorcees marry in mass ceremony. BBC World News 15 May 2012. Accessed 15 Nov 2018 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-18072118

bbc.com (2014). Nigeria soldiers ‘fire at army commander in Maiduguri’ BBC News 14 May 2014. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-27417778

Eweniyi, O (2017). Cameroon’s President Has Spent 42 Years In Power – And Here’s A List Of Africa’s Longest Serving Presidents. Accessed 15 Nov 2018. http://www.konbini.com/ng/lifestyle/cameroons-president-42-years-in-power-africas-longest-serving-presidents/

Felter, C (2017). Africa’s ‘Leaders for Life’ Syndrome. Accessed 15 Nov 2018.  https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/africas-leaders-life-syndrome

Isenyo, G (2017). Inside poor community where former NNPC GMD, Yakubu, hid over N3bn. Punch February 19, 2017. https://punchng.com/inside-poor-community-former-nnpc-gmd-yakubu-hid-n3bn/

Lebbas, A (2016). Term Limits and Beyond: Africa’s Democratic Hurdles. Current History May 2016. pp169-174

news24.com (2018). Ugandan President Backs ‘Frank’ Trump after ‘Shithole’ Remark. 2018-01-23 https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/ugandan-president-backs-frank-trump-after-shithole-remark-20180123

Opejobi, S (2017). Buhari was cloned in London, current Nigerian president is fake – Asari Dokubo. Published on October 3, 2017 Accessed 15 Nov 2018. http://dailypost.ng/2017/10/03/buhari-cloned-london-current-nigerian-president-fake-asari-dokubo-video/

Orenstein, M; T Fossgard-Moser; T Hindmarch; S Dowse; J Kuschminder; P McCloskey & RK Mugo (2010). Case study of an integrated assessment: Shell’s North Field Test in Alberta, Canada, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal,

Osuntokun, J (2018). Obscene Pensions for State Governors.  The Nation February 15, 2018  http://thenationonlineng.net/obscene-pensions-state-governors/

PE (2018). Hypocrisy in tackling Fulani herdsmen terrorism. Punch Editorial  January 10, 2018. https://punchng.com/hypocrisy-in-tackling-fulani-herdsmen-terrorism/

saharareporters.com (2018). AT A GLANCE: The DSS Breakdown Of How Politicians ‘Bribed’ Oshiomhole In Dollars. SaharaReporters, New York Nov 15, 2018 http://saharareporters.com/2018/11/15/glance-dss-breakdown-how-politicians-bribed-oshiomhole-dollars

Usman, Z (2012). Nigeria’s First Mass Wedding. NigeriansTalk May 20, 2012. Accessed 15 Nov 2018. https://nigerianstalk.org/2012/05/20/nigerias-first-mass-wedding/

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