I respect Professor Wole Soyinka of Nigeria to the point of veneration.
Apart from his achievement as the first black African to have won the Noble Prize in literature, Professor Soyinka distinguished himself to me as a non-tribalistic Nigerian who spoke out in defence of the Igbo speaking people of the then Eastern Nigeria after the Igbo came under coordinated mass killings in the streets of Northern Nigeria in mid 1960’s.
Soyinka did not only protest against the gruesome killings of pregnant Igbo women, elders and children by riotous but well-motivated Northern Youth, but he suffered many months of incarceration for persistently speaking out against the deliberate bombing campaign by the General Yakubu Gowon-led military junta of Nigeria against the then newly declared Biafran Republic.
Biafran Republic which lasted throughout the thirty months-old fratricidal war saw the elimination of over three million Igbo.
Soyinka went ahead to pen a masterpiece whilst serving term in the prison because of Biafra which he called “the man died”.
But my love for Professor Wole Soyinka did not stop me from fundamentally departing with him on the issues around the candidacy and emergence as the President-elect of the United States of America of the Republican Party’s Mr. Donald Trump, the American Super Billionaire.
Soyinka hates Donald Trump to such an extent that he has chosen not to visit the United States from tomorrow January 20th 2017 when Mr. Donald Trump would be sworn in as the United States President.
Soyinka has even threatened to tear apart his Green card meaning that he would never visit the United States at least for the next eight years during which Mr. Trump could preside over as the United States President.
The Nobel laureate, who threatened to destroy his green card last year, confirmed he has done so as an act of protest before 20 January’s inauguration ceremony, so reports The Guardian of United kingdom.
After threatening to do it a week before the US presidential elections last November, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has confirmed he has destroyed his green card because Donald Trump won.
Soyinka, the first African writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, was jailed twice for his criticism of the Nigerian government during the 1960s, famously composing protest poems on toilet paper from his cell in solitary confinement.
In 1994, Soyinka’s passport was confiscated by the de facto president Sani Abacha after he urged Nigerians to not pay taxes, as their money would aid the military.
After years of living in voluntary exile and teaching overseas, Soyinka eventually sought refuge in the United States that same year, with the help of former US president Jimmy Carter. He later received a death sentence in absentia in 1997, from the regime under Abacha.
On 2 November, six days before the US election, Soyinka told a student audience at Oxford University’s Ertegun House that he would hold his own, self-described “Wolexit” if Trump won, and destroy his green card. “If in the unlikely event he does win, the first thing he’ll do is to say [that] all green-card holders must reapply to come back into the US. Well, I’m not waiting for that,” he said at the time. “The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.”
In an interview with the Atlantic only recently, Soyinka confirmed he had followed through on his pledge to destroy his green card if Trump won as he celebrated Thanksgiving with his family in the US.
Soyinka, who has returned to living mainly in Nigeria since Abacha died in 1998, said he had made his green card “inoperable”. He did not expand on how he had destroyed it, but said: “I don’t have strong enough fingers to tear up a green card. As long as Trump is in charge, if I absolutely have to visit the United States, I prefer to go in the queue for a regular visa with others. I’m no longer part of the society, not even as a resident.”
Soyinka described the act as cathartic: “I delivered myself from uncertainty, from discomfort, from internal turmoil.”
In an interview with Nigeria’s the Interview magazine in November, Soyinka said he would destroy his green card in preparation for Trump’s inauguration on 20 January and that he “felt disaster in my marrow” as he watched the election results come in. “Trump’s wall is already under construction,” he said. “Walls are built in the mind, and Trump has erected walls, not only across the mental landscape of America, but across the global landscape.
The Nigerian literary guru is not alone in his rejection of Donald Trump. Several American celebrities have decided that they would be boycotting the inauguration ceremony of Mr. Trump. Few days ago Trump and a reputable black civil rights leader had a clash following the criticism Trump suffered in the hands of that statesman. Donald Trump’s jibes with John Lewis the respected Civil Rights leader nearly took racial undertones.
Ironically, this verbal warfare happened in the very week that the United States of America has dedicated to remember the memory of Martin Luther King jr, the great American Civil Rights leader who worked and paid the supreme sacrifice to gain voting rights for millions of black Americans.
According to Reuters, the U.S. Representative John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, said on a segment of “Meet the Press” released by NBC on Friday he thought hacking by Russians had helped Trump, a Republican, get elected in November. Lewis said he does not plan to attend Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the first time he would miss such an event since being elected to the House in 1986.
Trump immediately reacted when he tweeted that Lewis had falsely complained about the election results and instead “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested).”
“All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!” Trump tweeted.
During the campaign, Trump said Democrats had failed African-Americans and Hispanics. “What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance,” he said at a rally last year in Ohio.
Trump won the presidency with less support from black and Hispanic voters than any president in the last 40 years, only 8 percent and 28 percent, respectively, polling data showed.
The 76-year-old Lewis, who has been a civil rights leader for more than half a century, was beaten by police during a march he helped lead in 1965 in Selma, Alabama, drawing attention to hurdles for blacks to vote. He protested alongside King that day and on other occasions, according to Reuters.
The presidential inauguration of Donald Trump would be boycotted by several Democrats who are still embittered with the dirty rhetoric’s of hatred that were spewed out during the Presidential campaign. Donald Trump defeated the Democratic candidate Mrs. Hilary Clinton, a Washington insider and one time Secretary of State of the United States under the President Barack Obama’s government. Clinton it was who headed the States department when the African rising star Colonel Muarmar Gadaffi was gruesomely murdered in an uprising that was instigated by the West.
It was in Libya that for the only few times that a serving US Ambassador was killed and this happened during the largely US and Western instigated rebellions that overthrew Muarmar Ghadaffi. This is one factor that engineered the heavy defeats electorally suffered by the democrats in the hands of the Republican Party late last year in both the Presidential and congressional polls.
The defeat of the Democrats sent shock waves around the globe particularly because of the nationalistic tones of President-elect Mr. Trump.
He has promised to build a tall fence/wall to stop Mexicans from illegally entering the United States and he plans to ban Muslims from visiting the United States. The wall around Mexico he said would be paid by Mexicans. The Mexican President has openly disagreed with Mr. Trump on this vexed issue.
That Donald Trump could defeat Barack Obama’s political family despite the phenomenal economic feats of the outgoing United States administration goes to mark the Presidency of Donald Trump as mystifying.
For instance, in 2009, the Obama administration injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring.
“Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases”, according to Paul Glastris in a report he authored in 2012.
But the incoming United States President has already vowed to become the greatest jobs creating President that God has ever created.
Already, global companies and automakers have rushed to pledge their readiness to set up assembly plants inside the United States this year which in effect will bring back thousands of jobs that were hitherto domiciled in such places as China and Mexico.
Even the Chinese Billionaire, the owner of Alibaba recently met President-elect Mr. Donald Trump and promised to establish several plants and manufacturing firms of his conglomerate inside of the United State to create about 3,000 jobs for Americans. Trump has threatened manufacturing firms that produces their products offshore for export into the US market that they would face harsh import duties.
From January 20th, which marks Donald Trump’s Presidential inauguration, the whole wide world would become his own stage as he would automatically become the strongest World leader because the United States of America is the number one super power nation in the globe.
Already, questions on the lips of most Nigerians are what the Trump presidency portends for us. Few days back, the President-elect questioned the rationale in spending so much of United States cash in aid to Nigeria when it is apparent that the Nigerian government is turning increasingly towards China for multilateral trades.
Donald Trump also expressed shock that despite the quantum of American cash paid out to the Nigerian authorities to wage the counter-terror war, the 300 Chibok school girls kidnapped since over two years by boko haram terrorist are yet to be found. Donald Trump has also drawn criticism for his unclear commitments towards checking the effects of climate change because he believed that it is completely fake. If Trump makes good his disdain for climate change accord the Paris Climate Change accord signed by his predecessor and many nations including Nigeria could suffer global set back. This would be catastrophic for Nigeria which stands to gain for the funds for remediation of the effects of pollution of the Earth by the World’s industrialized countries such as Japan, China, United States amongst others which would be paid to third World Countries.
If Trump pulls out the technical, military and financial assistance that United States gives to Nigeria because of the issues of corruption by government officials in Nigeria, if therefore follows that the threats posed by armed Islamists and other terror networks would exacerbate and this would have telling effects in the economic and social wellbeing of Nigerians and Africans in general because if Nigeria remains perpetually unstable, then Africa is unstable. The fact is that if Nigeria collapses then the continental stability is endangered.
Also, the expressed determination of President-elect Trump to make the United State a greater nuclear power could see his administration focusing so much on increasing its defence budgets thereby leaving very little money for foreign assistance to poor and developing nations such as Nigeria.
It would also mean that the refusal of the United States to sign on to the Rome treaty which brought into existence the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands would become a permanent feature.
Already countries such as Russia and a lot of African nations are pulling out of the Rome Treaty on ICC.
If the International Criminal Court fails, it therefore follows that the overflowing cases of impunity and lawlessness that characterize most African nations including Nigeria would further expand.
This would mean that with the deliberate snail speed nature of criminal justice system in Nigeria and the clear lack of will power to prosecute mass murderers such as boko haram and armed Fulani terrorist by the Nigerian government under Muhammadu Buhari has come to stay meaning that the over 30,000 innocent Nigerians killed by these terror gangs would have died in vain.
As an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, may I appeal to the incoming United States President not to abandon the third world nations even as he desires to make America great again.
The incoming U.S President should please sign on to the International Criminal Court’s treaty and hold on to the Paris Climate Change treaty which his predecessor has signed on to so the global community can become peaceful and so the political leaders who carry out horrendous crimes against humanity are matched to the global crimes court to face their day with the International humanitarian law.
*Emmanuel Onwubiko is Head of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and email@example.com