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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Trump And The Raw Hate, Bigotry, Antagonism Of Buhari’s 2015 Campaign [MUST READ]

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he raw hate, bigotry and antagonism that characterised the United States election in which Donald Trump emerged winner brings to mind the open display of hate and bitterness during Nigeria’s 2015 election.

The two elections may have come and gone but I am reasonably certain Nigerians and President Muhammadu Buhari have some lessons to learn from the way the U.S. president-elect, Donald Trump has conducted himself so far. The conduct and utterances of the U.S. president-elect show a man who fully understands the huge difference between being a candidate of a political party and being the president-elect chosen to preside over the affairs of a whole country including those who didn’t vote for him.  Listening to Trump since he won the election, you’d be left wondering if he was the same man who repeatedly used the term “crook” for his opponent, Hillary Clinton and even vowed to ensure she sees the inside of a penitentiary should he win.

The actions and utterances of the president-elect so far have shown a man who truly understands the need for unity and national cohesion after a very bitter and highly divisive election campaign in sharp contrast to what we witnessed from our own President Muhammadu Buhari after he was declared the winner of the 2015 presidential elections.

Let’s review some of the actions and utterances of the reality T.V personality, Trump since winning the elections:

In his victory speech, the billionaire businessman showered encomiums on Clinton. Hear him: “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country. And I mean that very seriously.”
That was Trump speaking as a man whose duty it is to unite both Clinton’s supporters and his own supporters, too. That was Trump sacrificing his petty emotions and urge for vendetta in the interest of national unity.

On those who didn’t support him during the election, let’s hear Trump again: “For those who have chosen not to support me……., I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unite our great country.”

Note, the president-elect didn’t say he was going to give more attention to those who supported him. He didn’t say anything about 97% versus 5% either. He simply pleaded with those who opposed his candidacy to please come and join him in making their country great.

Now, I believe Buhari has one or two lessons to learn here. You don’t go to a foreign country and start implying you’d punish those who didn’t give you their vote during an election. No one has to vote for you. No one owes you any vote. People have the constitutional right to vote for any candidate in an election. It smacks of a criminal sense of entitlement to feel that everybody in your country must vote for you or risk being treated like second class citizens by your government. This is the mentality of a man who knows next to nothing about the term “government.” As a president, you are both legally and morally obligated to treat all your people equally. Matter of fact, a wise president goes extra mile to win the love of those who didn’t support him at the polls. Even as president, those who didn’t support you don’t have to love you. You’ve got to earn their love and support. It must be stated here that the 97% versus 5% speech by Buhari where he promised to treat Nigerians on the basis of how much vote they gave him remains one of the worst presidential gaffes in human history.

All through the campaign, Trump never stopped attacking President Barack Obama. He even questioned his American citizenship and de manded to see his birth certificate. But the moment Trump won the election, he realised that as the president-elect, he owes it to himself and the American people to say and do only those things that will promote national unity. After meeting with Obama for the first time, Trump described him (Obama) as “a very good man” and promised to seek his advice from time to time.

Trump did not describe Obama as a kindergarten president. He did not start telling journalists how Obama and his official had stolen billions of dollars.  He simply said he (Obama) was a very good man.

Again, Buhari needs to pay very close attention to this. Speaking as a candidate is different from speaking as a president-elect or even a sitting president. As a candidate, you can say virtually anything and get away with it but once you are declared president, your actions, inactions, speeches and even silence all have far-reaching consequences. Your word as a president, whether president-elect or a sitting president, can make or mar your country. Even your body language as a president can do so many things.

It must be stated here that Buhari lost a golden opportunity to heal this country and put her on the path of unity after a very divisive and poisonous campaign that characterised the 2015 general election. Instead of reaching out to those who opposed him during the election, the president allowed his urge for vendetta to cloud his sense of judgment. We must not shy away from the fact that had Buhari not dedicated so much time to witch-hunting those who didn’t support him during the election as well as ensuring that his opponent, Goodluck Jonathan was made to look like the devil before Nigerians, this country wouldn’t be as divided as it is right now.

Charles Ogbu is a social media activist. Connect with him on Facebook.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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