Trump And The Limits Of A Failed Experiment: A Review Article With Obama’s Remarks To The African Union
Paul C. Okwumabua
This article is a review article with an unusual and unique style – using an article alongside to review another article. The title Trump and the Limits of a ‘Failed Experiment’ is an article that was published on January 24 and 25, 2021 in two Nigerian newspapers (Premium Times and The Guardian) respectively, written by Prof Mimiko, a seasoned scholar in the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University.This paper is a review article foregrounding the U.S. nose-diving democracypiloted by Donald Trump and the ‘commander-in-tweet’ in the last past four years.
However, as I perused the article under review (Trump and the Limits of A ‘Failed Experiment’) with mental keenness, I noticed some brilliant homogeneity in the salient points raised by Prof Mimiko as I compared it with that of the perspicacity of Obama’s historical remarks addressed to the African Union in 2015, being the first and only President of the United States to be invited to address the African Union. These similitudes will be briefly accentuated below:
Mimiko: There are a few lessons in all of the foregoing for us in Africa in particular, and indeed elsewhere. First is that democracy is a process, a journey, and not a destination. Every democratic system must therefore keep working on its democracy to deepen it.
Obama: And every country has to go through that process. No country is perfect, but we have to be honest, and strive to expand freedoms, to broaden democracy. Our American democracy is not perfect. We’ve worked for many years — (applause) — but one thing we do is we continually reexamine to figure out how we can make our democracy better. And that’s a force of strength for us, being willing to look and see honestly what we need to be doing to fulfil the promise of our founding documents.
Mimiko: At the end of the day, Trump sought to overturn an election that he had lost so resoundingly! These, under normal circumstances, would be unspeakable in the American political process! They were things no one could have imagined prior Trump. They depict a character model that was not thinkable for the big job in the White House , an institution Americans had, perhaps justifiably, showcased for more than two centuries as the very citadel, and bastion of moral rectitude. Trump blew all of those assumptions in four short years; and then sought to arm-twist the system to get a second term for himself!
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Obama: When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife — as we’ve seen in Burundi. (Applause.) And this is often just a first step down a perilous path. And sometimes you’ll hear leaders say, well, I’m the only person who can hold this nation together. (Laughter.) If that’s true, then that leader has failed to truly build their nation. (Applause.)
Mimiko: The third lesson for all is that ultimately, the success of any system and institution depends on the acts of few very good people, individuals of conscience and integrity who are sold on defending a system when it faces existential threats.
Obama: You look at Nelson Mandela — Madiba, like George Washington, forged a lasting legacy not only because of what they did in office, but because they were willing to leave office and transfer power peacefully. (Applause.)
Mimiko: Now, we’ve often heard people talk of the cruciality of strong institutions. The validity of this thesis has just been demonstrated in the manner the American system stood against Donald Trump’s thinly veiled efforts to damage it. It is, however, important to appreciate that strong institutions do not get built, but on the shoulders of strong, visionary, courageous and committed individuals (leaders). Strong institutions do not just drop from the skies; they are products of years of toiling and sacrifice by positively inclined individuals who, invariably, have got to be strong, and public spirited!
Obama: When I first came to Sub-Saharan Africa as a President, I said that Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions. (Applause.) And one of those institutions can be the African Union. Here, you can come together, with a shared commitment to human dignity and development … Our American democracy is not perfect. We’ve worked for many years — (applause) — but one thing we do is we continually reexamine to figure out how we can make our democracy better. And that’s a force of strength for us, being willing to look and see honestly what we need to be doing to fulfill the promise of our founding documents..
Mimiko: Reforms are a normal process in any political economy. As nations, including those that had been at this for centuries, operate their constitution, certain imperfections become obvious. It doesn’t make sense denying such. What serious nations do is to isolate such limitations, from time to time, and address them comprehensively. It is all part of the process, which in American parlance is referred to as the drive towards a more perfect union. Failure to do such, and at the nick of time, reproduces crises, some of which may indeed be of existential dimensions for the system. This is the sense in which the restructuring advocacy in Nigeria, for instance, with all its promise of inclusivity, must be thoroughly interrogated in the context of the desire for transitioning to a united and thriving Federal Republic.
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Obama: For more than two centuries since our independence, we’re still working on perfecting our union. We’re not immune from criticism. When we fall short of our ideals, we strive to do better. (Applause.) But when we speak out for our principles, at home and abroad, we stay true to our values and we help lift up the lives of people beyond our borders. And we think that’s important.
Mimiko: The possibility of a return of Trumpism would then not be completely unimaginable. This is the sense in Donald Trump’s hint that he would be back in some form, as he made his final exit as president out of Washington DC.
Obama: And I’ll be honest with you — I’m looking forward to life after being President. (Laughter.) I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. (Laughter.) It means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often. (Applause.) The point is, I don’t understand why people want to stay so long. (Laughter.) Especially when they’ve got a lot of money. (Laughter and applause.)
From the foregoing, I make bold to conclude that Africa and the world at large do not just need strong democratic institutions as repeatedly voiced out by Obama during his visits to Africa as President. (“When I first came to Sub-Saharan Africa as a President, I said that Africa doesn’t need strongmen [dictators & autocrats], it needs strong institutions “) but also ‘strong’, ‘qualified’ and ‘good’ leaders who will complement and not contradict and corrupt the strong institutions put in place. This is validated from my experimental model (UPEM) below:
U.S Political Experimental Model (UPEM) 1
More Democratic, More Qualified, & Less Corrupt Leader (Obama) + ‘Strong’ U.S. Institutions
= [Good Governance]
U.S. Political Experimental Model (UPEM) 2
(Autocratic) (Karkistocratic) (Kleptocratic)
Less Democratic, Less Qualified, & More Corrupt Leader (Trump) + Strong U.S.
= [Bad Governance]
U.S. Political Experimental Model (UPEM) 3
(Autocratic) (Karkistocratic) (Kleptocratic)
Less Democratic, Less Qualified, & More Corrupt Leader (Trump) +Weak U.S. Institutions
= [ Worse Governance]
Okwumabua Paul C.
Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University,
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Robbers Loot N30m Goods At Ikota Shopping Complex
. Owners Report Security Firm To Police
For about two decades, Dr. Helen O. Eto, CEO, Superior Mobile Investment Ltd and iClick Gadgets, has been doing business peacefully at Ikota Shopping Complex which borders Victoria Garden City (VGC), Lekki Peninsula, Lagos. The shopping facility is run by HFP Engineering Ltd.
However, robbers struck at the complex that has about 1,850 shops in the early hours of March 7th, 2023. Finesse Security Ltd guards claimed that they forgot to lock the gate of the facility, allowing the hoodlums to cart away about N30 million phones and other goods from Mrs. Eto’s freshly restocked shop.
Lamentingher ordeal to the police in Ajah and Panti, Yaba, Mrs. Eto said : “We took bank loans for the business plus our life savings all of which are gone. This is a wicked plan against us in our old age with children still in school, other dependants and various bills.
“We plead that the police should help us to get to the bottom of the looting to save us from early deaths as our BPs have shot up sharply because this is our main source of livelihood. A list of the goods looted from the shop was/is attached to my statements at Ajah Police Station and SIB, Yaba.”
Omokioja Julius Eto, Chairman, Editorial Board of The Daily Times and a media consultant, corroborated his wife’s account. Eto, a former Associate Editor of The Guardian and Editor-in-Chief of The Trumpet, said: “The robbery is shocking because the security gate is inaccessible even to shop owners at night, our shop is just a stone’s throw from the gate and it would have taken about at least two hours to cut through the shop’s security system.
“This makes us to strongly see the guards as the main suspects. We were not immediately notified by the security firm or the facility managers (HFP) of the robbery which we only got to be aware of at about 8.20am through one of our employees.”
A former Editor of The Daily Times, Eto who has also worked as a senior editor at the Punch and Thisday, added: “Since the break-in on March 7 till today March 30, Finesse Security Ltd has not called to sympathize with us but has been evading our calls and texts to its MD whom we learnt travelled abroad after the robbery.
“We have been doing everything to support the police investigation despite our predicament and hope they will bring the culprits to justice.”
Arrest Interim Govt Plotters Now – Governors
Governors of the 36 states have asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest and prosecute those involved in a plot to put in place an interim government as part of moves to truncate the nation’s democracy.
Condemning the move, the governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum assured of their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
In a statement on Friday by NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal at the end of the 4th meeting of the Governors, he warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.
Tambuwal said, “The Forum deliberated extensively on the alleged plot by some unscrupulous elements to install an interim government, as contained in the recent statement issued by the Department for State Services (DSS). Governors condemned in the strongest terms, any unconstitutional means of regime change and pledged its commitment to continue to defend Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.
“In addition, the Forum believes that issuing statements without arrests is akin to heating up the polity and causing unwarranted tension in the country. It called on the DSS to do its job by immediately arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the plot as a matter of urgency.”
Recall that the DSS had on Wednesday confirmed rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government in order to truncate the result of the recently-concluded general elections.
The Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya in a statement said that the agency had identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria but did not give the names of the masterminds.
The agency had said that the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.
BREAKING:Lagos Govt Arraigns Chrisland School, Principal, Others Over Death Of Pupil Whitney Adeniran
The Lagos State government has arraigned Chrisland School, Opebi, its principal, vice principal and two other employees over the death of one of the school’s pupils, 12-year-old Whitney Adeniran.
On Wednesday, the government of Lagos State had filed charges against Chrisland School and four others over the death of the 12-year-old pupil, Whitney Adeniran.
The school and its workers were accused of involuntary manslaughter and reckless and negligent acts.
The workers who were arraigned before Justice Oyindamola Ogala of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja include Ademoye Adewale, Kuku Fatai, Mrs Belinda Amao, Nwatu Ugochi Victoria and Chrisland School Limited.
The school principal, Mrs Belinda Amao, broke down in tears while in the dock as the court and counsel tried to agree on a date for the commencement of the trial.
Whitney died during the school’s inter-house sports competition at Agege Stadium in Lagos on February 9.
Blessing Adeniran, her mother, had accused Chrisland of negligence over her daughter’s death.
The school’s management, however, dismissed insinuations that there was foul play in the death, saying she slumped in public.
Chrisland also argued that Whitney complained about “not-too-buoyant health” a few days before she died.
However, an autopsy conducted at the Lagos State University Hospital (LASUTH) confirmed that the deceased died from “asphyxia and electrocution”.
In the charges filed on behalf of the state government by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Babajide Martins, who disclosed that their negligence killed Whitney because they failed to ensure her safety.
The charge also disclosed that they all acted in a reckless and negligent manner that endangered human life.
The offences are contrary to Sections 224 & 251 of the Criminal Law, C17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015
If found guilty, the offences carry a penalty of life imprisonment and two-year jail terms respectively.
On Tuesday, the state government granted access to Chrisland High School, Opebi branch, to open for physical learning ahead of the school’s forthcoming examination after parents’ appeal.
The state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu had ordered that the school be shut down on March 3, 2023, following the investigation into Whitney’s death.
Sanwo-Olu through the state Ministry of Education said the closure of the school would pave the way for unhindered investigation and afford all stakeholders, including parents, students, staff and friends of the deceased, time to grieve.
The reopening followed an appeal by the Parents of all Chrisland School Units who visited the Ministry of Education on Monday to seek the government’s understanding for “the sake of 500 plus students some of whom also have terminal examinations.”
The management of the school had tendered an apology over Whitney’s death.
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