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Trump And The Limits Of A Failed Experiment: A Review Article With Obama’s Remarks To The African Union



Trump and the Limits of a ‘Failed Experiment_NEWTIMES


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!

READ ALSO; True Federalism, Nigeria’s Volatile Politics and the APC Report

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.

READ ALSO; Ethnic and Religious Hatred and the Deceitful Campaigns in Nigeria By Salihu Moh. Lukman

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,
Ile-ife, Nigeria.

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Tinubu Approves N70,000 Minimum Wage



BREAKING: Dogara, Babachir Lead Northern Christians Against Tinubu's Muslim-Muslim Ticket

By John Michael Ojo

The Federal Government on Thursday, pegged the new national minimum wage at N70,000.

This was made known by Mr Bayo Onanuga, a Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers with promise to review the national minimum wage law every three years.

“President Tinubu also promised to find ways to assist the private sector and the sub-nationals to pay the minimum wage.

“President Tinubu announced the decisions at the meeting held with leaders of TUC and NLC on Thursday in Abuja, the second time the parties met in 7 days,” the statement read.

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Olaopa Urges Youths To Shun Japa Syndrome, Prepare For Leadership



Prof. Tunji Olaopa flanked by Hon Abike Dabiri (left )and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi , former Head of Service of the Federation ( right) at the event on Thursday.

The Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof. Tunji Olaopa, has urged youths to prepare for leadership positions early in life instead of travelling overseas to seek opportunities, a development that is popularly known as the Japa syndrome.

The seasoned bureaucrat and former federal permanent secretary said that opportunities abound for youths but that they could only access them when they begin early .

According to Olaopa who spoke on Thursday during the 2023/2024 graduation of KIA Lakeside Academy in Abuja, these opportunities will elude the youths if they opt to go and wander on the streets of foreign countries. He said : ” In the civil service I am very familiar with, people grow old and retire every day. We need youths to fill such vacancies that the old people leave behind . If all the youths go abroad to be doing menial jobs, do we go to Ghana and other neighbouring countries to employ their youths?

Prof. Tunji Olaopa and Prof. Oladapo Afolabi, former Head of Service of the Federation at the event.

He said that under his leadership of the Federal Civil Service, there is so  much hope for youths to access federal jobs. He said he had decided to maintain a policy of transparency and equity in making jobs in the civil service available for all eligible Nigerian youths through open advertisement.

He said in the area of political leadership, the older generation could not keep on dominating the sector. He said that the youths would be need to replace the old political leaders as they quit the scene.

According to him, the ability to prepare early for leadership goes hand in hand with a clear vision. He said nobody could prepare for anything if there is no clear vision of where they are going or what they want.

He said people who reach great heights in life always have a clear vision of where they are going early in life and they work towards it. He gave the example of former United States President Bill Clinton who as a youth had a clear vision of being his nation’s leader.

According to Olaopa, past and current leaders in Nigeria have had early in their youths clear visions of what they want in life. He said it was this clear visions early in life that made them trailblazers in different areas of life. In politics he cited Chief Obafemi Awolowo , Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and others. He said that these were trailblazers in their youth. He said in business, young people have become trailblazers.

He said that because of the opportunities the current world offers, youths do not need to become old people before reaching great heights in life. According to him, youths have become trailblazers in technology . He mentioned the examples of Zuckerberg of Facebook, Elon Musk and a younger Bill Gates.

Talking about breaking the glass ceiling, Olaopa said that no gender barrier should stop anyone from reaching the summit of life. He said many women in the past and the present have been trailblazers. He mentioned Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. Dora Akunyili,l and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He said unlike in the past , many bank CEOs in Nigeria are currently women.

However, Olaopa said that nobody could be a trailblazer without preparation. He said this preparation comes in the form of education. He quoted Nelson Mandela who once observed that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” He said if in the past people we regard as great today could get education despite the huge barriers they were faced with, youths of today have no excuse. He said Awolowo was faced with a huge educational disadvantage which he overcame by studying at home . He said Azikiwe had to find his way overseas where he suffered to educate himself. According to him, one of the greatest lawyers today in Nigeria is Chief Afe Babalola. He said Babalola overcame his challenges by studying at home and that today he owns one of the best universities in the country.

According to him, youths who lack the opportunity of going to formal university classrooms can avail themselves of the opportunities offered by the open university system that the Federal Government supports .

He said that in fact President Bola Tinubu has demonstrated his interest in the education of the less-privileged through his government’s Student loan scheme. He said that youths who desire to acquire university education but have no sponsors can use that scheme.

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Tinubu Appoints Walson-Jack Head Of Service As Yemi-Esan Retires




As the current Head of Service Folasade Yemi-Esan, CFR, is due to retire on August 13, 2024, President Bola Tinubu has approved her replacement. She is Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack.

Mrs. Walson-Jack was appointed as Federal Permanent Secretary in 2017 and has served in several Ministries.

While thanking Yemi-Esan  for her stewardship, President Tinubu tasked the incoming Head of Service to discharge her duties with innovative flair, integrity, and stringent adherence to the extant rules and regulations of the Civil Service of the Federation.

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