Don’t Panic: Perspectives of a Nigerian on Donald Trump’s Election Win


Hello, people, Donald Trump is the new President-elect of the United States of America.

There is absolutely nothing new about this information of course because unless you are like Fred the starfish in Spongebob Squarepants who lives under a rock or you live in a galaxy far away, it is information that has literally come alive and is flapping and droning around you like an annoying mosquito you can’t kill.

As a Nigerian, I have got a lot of “why do you people care about who wins the elections anyway, It is not like he is going to be your president or something?”  I agree with that sentiment, but  in these days of globalization, in which if one nation sneezes, everybody else has to  start looking for medicine to cure their cold, I should be bothered about the person who is most likely to press the red button to  nuke my country if they get elected (That’s what they do right? I don’t know. All the knowledge I have comes from watching American films).  If I could vote in the American elections of course, I would have voted for Hillary Clinton, so needless to say I am all shades of shocked and baffled that Americans, whom we have been relentlessly told that they will never accept any bullshit or “anyhowness” can elect Donald Trump, a human Linda Ikeji’s blog, as their president. So if like me you are horrified that Donald Trump can even win any election at all not to talk of the “land of the free” here is a little something adapted from an article titled Don’t Panic  by one of my best writers of all time, David Wong of Cracked.com

 Today’s piece is not really about Trump himself.  It is  the fact that in the course of following the groundswell of opinions from American and non-American media alike I have come to realize that there is an emerging trend. That trend is of concern to me as a Nigerian because it draws some similarities with the elections of the president of my own country Muhammadu Buhari.  The elections of Buhari against the then incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and the victory of Trump over the incumbent backed Hillary Clinton are in a way a victory of the outsider over the establishment, a stone thrown into the Ivory tower of the elite, forcing them to look out of their expensive tainted glass window at the dissatisfied people who are outside clamouring to be listened to. Trump is the message written in bright bold letters by the “masses” that they will no longer be ignored.

 However the fact that a lying, sexist , blowhard  like Donald Trump benefitted from that process is what makes me sick to my stomach and for the first time I felt that feeling that Jonathanians felt in 2015, that feeling of having your  favourite candidate at the polls, the one you have made plenty of enemies for, get beaten by a “far less qualified” candidate (I won’t still have voted for Jonathan though, not in that election or any other). That feeling of uncertainty where you feel that an unpredictable man of unknown temperament has hijacked the process and the situation of the country has now become like a keg of gunpowder with the tiniest fireball could ignite. It is that feeling of seeing that genteel, suave, rich man up your street whom you used to wish was your father, stumbling down the street, drunk and reeking of alcohol, piss and vomit. It is a feeling that makes you wonder what is wrong with the world and why people are so stupid. It is a feeling that makes you curl up in a fetal position and wish a nuclear fireball could just destroy the world.

But in the midst of the bleakness and all the doom and gloom, don’t panic.

“What is the value of running a democracy if it can be perverted for stuff like Brexit, Buhari and Trump to win elections?”  Someone asked in the aftermath of the US elections. While someone who thinks Muhammadu Buhari is in any way similar to Donald Trump is not someone I want to waste my time discussing politics with. Ironic as it may seem, however, the Trump election, the Buhari election and the Brexit vote are all examples of real democracy in action. For the first time in a long while, the masses are making their voices heard, governments are learning that they cannot afford to allow themselves to be cocooned in their world of big corporation endorsements and celebrity media blitz. They now know that there is a world beyond that seen on traditional and social media and they will pay attention to that world, because they know that the little people who supported them against the establishment candidate may vote them out again. I have already made this point in this piece about how regardless of how he performs, Muhammadu Buhari might find himself out of a job in 2019 because Nigerians now have itchy trigger fingers and would not hesitate to use it. The Democratic government, oblivious in its ivory tower, believed that some things, such as a Trump election win, were impossible, now Governments will put measures in place to satisfy the masses to ensure that the masses never get angry enough to do such protest voting  again.

Don’t panic

One of the reasons that Goodluck Jonathan lost in 2015, was that as Akin Osuntokun, Emeritus Professor of History and former Nigerian Ambassador to Germany put it in a recent lecture that He delivered recently at DAWN Commission: “He thought that  the Southwest was a no man’s land because of how welcoming the region was to  him when he participated in the NYSC scheme there. He believed that he could spend four years marginalizing the region then still think they will vote for him for another four anyway” . He learned the truth the hard way. Under Buhari, the South East and the South South are also restive because they think the President is marginalizing them because they didn’t vote for him in 2015. I believe he will do more for the South East and the South South than his predecessor did for the Northeast, the Northwest and the Southwest or else he will find himself out of a job in 2019 anyway. For so long the Democrats and their supporters treated the Trump voter base as caricatures to  laugh at instead of actual people to be listened to. Governments are now learning the hard way that you cannot afford to dismiss the concerns of any group of people under you anymore. That might be the way to achieve all-inclusive governance and ensure that no group major or minor is left behind. It will take a long time before marginalization and discrimination to go away, but if it is going to take a few Donald Trumps to make the point for inclusiveness, then so be it.

Don’t panic

Instead start to reach out to fellow members of the electorate.it is no longer time to treat the people who don’t have the same political opinions like you, like retarded children  Let us form pressure groups and start to outline progressive agendas. This is not the time to start fighting along party lines or regional lines; we may not agree of how Buhari is ruling Nigeria, but we can still turn up the heat on the leaders together. We can fight for women’s rights, transparency in governance, rights of minorities, resource control and a positive educational development policy. Let us start pushing, they are listening now because they know what might happen if they don’t.  We can curl up in a fetal ball and hope that a nuclear fireball destroys Nigeria, or we can rise up and start believing we can change stuff we don’t like. But we should realize that as David Wong puts it in the beautiful article I adapted “the future is waiting for what we will do next, let’s get to it”

But then the Supreme Overlord Donald Trump could just press the red button and render the point of this whole exercise moot.

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