The Presidential campaign in the United States of America has entered its last lap as the Election Day in November approaches and the two main contestants, Donald Trump of the Republican Party and his Democratic Party opponent, Mrs Hillary Clinton are pulling every stop to win the seat adjudged to be the most powerful in the world.
Democratic practice in that country is believed, rightly or wrongly, to be like no other and any issue is fair game as the contestants hustle for votes. Already, murk raking is taking over the electioneering campaign as the media expose old incriminating files of both candidates. Women, determined not to be left behind, have joined the fray and are coming forward to accuse Donald Trump of inappropriate sexual conduct just as the Trump camp is revisiting the dark side of the Monica Lewinsky and other such matters to do the Clintons in.
But these are by no means what ought to take the centre stage as Americans ready themselves to pick a replacement for Barack Obama. This same scenario raised its head during the Obama/ John McCain face-off in the pig – lipstick episode until a one-time Secretary of State, James Baker, told them to drop it and face the real issues.
Curiously, as it seems to us, Nigerians and, indeed, Africans are taking sides preferring one candidate to the other. That should not be because an American President is just that, President of the United States. In our opinion, between Trump and Clinton, there is nothing to choose because Africa will remain, as far as their thinking is concerned, in the backwaters.
The outgoing Obama is our ‘brother’ by virtue of the fact that his father was from Kenya in Africa. Beyond that, can any Nigerian, now losing sleep over Trump and Clinton, in all honesty, point to what the country benefitted from his tenure in office? Africa will not feature in the calculations of whoever will be sworn in on January 20, 2017 as the President. The continent and its people count less in their policy thinking, formulation and execution.
When they talk about the President of America they describe him or her as the leader of the free world and that means the Western Hemisphere. Those of us in Africa and elsewhere outside that region only count to complete the numbers.
Instead of staying up late to watch the razzmatazz of American life in which everything is show business, carnival of sorts, it is our view that we should occupy ourselves with matters that concern us. Nigeria is still battling with the scourge that is Boko Haram which has festered so far because of the Leahy Law made by the United States Congress that denied us vital assistance when we needed it.
They see us as ‘fantastically corrupt’ because our public officers are foolish enough to steal the little we have here and take it over there for safe-keeping. If an American president is as important to us as we pretend, he can stop such illicit inflows or at least order the repatriation of the funds already there. But he will not take such a decision for the simple reason that it will hurt the American economy. Instead, he will be more disposed to using that country’s wide financial network to send the money back to us as loans with compound interest.
As Nigerians, we should concern ourselves with how to get out of recession, reduce inflation and create jobs for our teeming youths. We have succumbed to their pressure to devalue our currency, the naira, ostensibly to attract foreign investors. But are they sufficiently impressed, enough to bring in the much needed investments?
We insist that what is going on in the United States does not deserve the kind of quality attention some of us in Nigeria are giving it. Except it serves as get away from the pressures of our daily struggles otherwise, we should devote more of such time to national issues, the economy in particular because neither Trump nor Clinton will lift a finger to help.