Nigerians in US: Our fears over Donald Trump’s Presidency

​Donald Trump

With his campaign messages that was unprecedented, hateful, gutter, racial and anti-democratic, not many, including those outside the US, believed or foresaw that the Republican party candidate, Donald Trump would emerge victorious in the just concluded presidential poll. Despite all these obvious odds, Trump defeated his closest rival and Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton in the contest.
Since then, tongues have continued wagging within and outside the US over the possible implications of Trump’s presidency, if his campaign promises are to be implemented to the letter. For the first time in the history of US elections, protests have continued to trail Trump’s victory in some major cities in the country. Africans, Mexicans, Muslims and several other people and interests, who were the target of Trump’s campaign, have expressed different views on the president-elect, given his disposition to non-Americans.

Speaking to The Guardian from his base in New York, Mr Felix Ayanruoh said: “Let it be known that Trump is a misogynistic, racist, and bigot. He won because he used prejudices in the US to his advantage. The angry white men who do not want the 240-year male-dominated governance to come to an end, used all they had to make Trump President.

“The FBI director (James Comey) will readily come to mind. Furthermore, some white folks who see the human race not by the content of their character, but the colour of their skin, were hell bent in stopping a woman who will protect minority rights from getting to the White House. Finally, some who think that Trump, an unbeliever, will fight God’s battle, came out in millions to vote for him.

“Why won’t I as a Nigerian be scared of a man who said: “We need to get the Africans out. Not the blacks, the Africans especially the Nigerians. They’re everywhere. “We can’t have that! If I become president, we’ll send them all home. We’ll build a wall at the Atlantic Shore…“ He also said: “I went for a rally in Alaska and met just one African in the entire state. Where was he from? Nigeria! He is in Alaska taking our jobs. They are in Houston taking our jobs. He doesn’t care if the Nigerian is a citizen or a legal resident, all he cares about is that he is Nigerian and corrupt.”

Also in his remarks, a Chicago-based Nigerian Research Scientist, Mr Emman Onua told The Guardian that the seeds for Trump’s victory were planted a very long time ago.

“If you stop to think about it, how long ago were women allowed to vote in the United States? How long ago were Blacks and coloured folks allowed to vote?

“Trump lied, obfuscated and wangled his way into the presidency by playing on racial fears, by building imaginary walls to keep out Mexicans, by promising to undo laws that he knows he cannot and will not undo, and generally by telling his audience whatever they wanted to hear, no matter how unreasonable those promises sounded.”

Mr. Ikhide Ikheloa, a Nigerian who lives in Maryland, USA, said that many undocumented Nigerians are truly afraid of being separated from their children and loved ones and want Trump to distance himself from his campaign rhetoric and temper pragmatism with compassion.

He said: “In the aftermath of the elections, all over the land, there is anxiety. In schools, there are protests many young people are upset, because they may possibly lose their friends, because their parents are undocumented aliens. We are worried that if things are not addressed, the situation might spiral out of control.

“I don’t know of many people that are coming home. Many people over-estimated the power of the presidency. The real politics is local and outside of ideological differences. Who will be in the Supreme Court, immigration reform, etc at the local level of politics?

It could also be recalled that Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, has described Trump’s victory as a worrisome development, adding that it would be difficult to predict his policies towards Nigerians or Africans in the Diaspora and the continent itself.

He said: “It brings uncertainty into international politics because the world now has to deal with a man who is inexperienced, does not understand the complexities of international politics and has no respect for anyone who is not white or American. I think that is dangerous.

“There has always been an ugly side to the U.S., just as there is with every country in the world, but the good side in the U.S. has always prevailed, so that in tackling American problems, the interests of the U.S. are not defined in antagonism to the interest of the whole world.

But this victory of Trump is a victory of the ugly side of the U.S.”

Former Under Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who spoke in like manner, however, said Trump’s victory should spur African leaders to promote policies in the interest of the citizens. This, according to him, will encourage development in the continent and reduce the flow of African citizens to western countries.

“As Africans, we have survived slavery, colonialism, apartheid; I think the strength of the African people will enable us to survive any negative consequences arising from this result.

“The important thing is for the leadership of our continent to put the people ahead of anything else and if the link between the people and the leadership is strong, then we will survive the decision by the Americans to electing Donald,” he said, expressing optimism that U.S. laws and institutions will protect Nigerians and Africans in the U.S.

In the same vein, a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Dapo Fafowora, said Trump’s victory is a lesson to Africans to remain at home and contribute to the development of their respective countries to reduce reliance on world economic powers.

His words: “There is nothing in his background to suggest he has any durable interest in Africa. I think it is a lesson for Nigerians; people should stay here and make contributions in developing our country.

“When people go abroad, they contribute to these foreign countries; one must agree that conditions are difficult, but if Nigerians abroad work half as hard as they do abroad in Nigeria, we will be a better country. I think it is a good development for Africa that we should look inwards and try to develop ourselves without relying on any major economic power.”

Meanwhile, as the world awaits Trump’s assumption of office on January 20 and his government’s policy directions that will determine the fate or otherwise of the US residents, fears, anxiety and uncertainty will continue to becloud the minds of the residents, especially the Blacks, illegal immigrants and some Muslims.

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