Professor Iyoha: I salute President Trump

Professor Iyoha is of the Department of Accounting, Covenant University and Research Fellow, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He wrote

I have the right to salute anybody, including President Trump of the United States of America- that great country we queue to obtain visas to visit and do other things including hiding some stolen cash. Who wouldn’t want to leave a shithole country for a non-shithole and beautiful country? So, if President Trump said or is alleged to have said that Nigeria is one of Africa’s shithole countries, I think that’s alright. We have never had the courage to describe who we are as a country and I had thought there is no word, even in the superlative degree that could be used to describe our situation. But I thank God that someone, several thousand kilometres away and with little or no insurable interest in Nigeria had the courage to speak out on the vexed issue of our true identity. I doff my heart for Trump. His sense of manhood has trumped ours.
It is not in doubt that Nigeria has a portfolio of men and women who daily demonstrate shithole characteristics both at home and abroad. Even when some Nigerians are in hell, they still try to install air conditioners. What could be more ‘shitholish’ than that! In shitholes countries, discussions about courage, integrity, humility, patience, obedience and similar virtues are hardly held. But what you hear are discussions on kidnapping, fuel scarcity, road and air accidents, ritual killing, labour strikes, demented civil service, greed among politicians and government officials, nepotism, electoral malpractices, poor quality graduates, unemployment and underemployment, bribery and corruption; and other ills and vices cast in the same mould as those identified above.
Now that we know we are a shithole country, what next? It is no use calling on hell and brimstone to fall on President Trump. It will serve no purpose and will take us nowhere except backward. In this matter, Trump is like a lion which no one, not even the most devilish herbalist, can use for sacrifice. That we are a shithole country is a choice we have made; whether deliberately or not, is irrelevant. I remember, during the Nigerian civil war, the ‘Nigerian Observer’ newspaper had a slogan that read: “If you don’t fight your war, no one else will.” We should make the choice to extricate ourselves from the clutches of shithole-ism. We have the capacity and resources to do that quickly. We need to develop self-discipline; long-term thinking; respect for the rule of all the games we play; the spirit of hard work and commitment; will-power and all that is virtuous. In essence, what we need is to practice the Universal Maxim of Immanuel Kant- “resolve to behave as though your every act were to become a universal law for all people.” It is a call to behave as though every day is the last day on earth. It is a call to hold ourselves responsible and accountable for a higher standard and level than anyone could aspire to hold us. The payoff for behaving the right way will result in a new era of hope and prosperity for the nation. It will pave the way for us to leave a worthy legacy for our children, born or yet-to-be-born. For the sake of posterity, the shithole must not be left open. It must be covered and no vestige of it shall remain or be capable of being recalled.
Anytime, President Trump visits Nigeria, we should give him the opportunity to establish that: universities are in session; hospitals are functional, budgets are no longer padded; accountability has been accorded due respect; roads are free of armed robbers, ritual killers, and sharp shooting Fulani herdsmen; fuel queues no longer ‘garnish’ our roads; salaries are paid as and when due; fuel is no longer imported and that huge sums of money are no longer found in septic tanks. We should further let him see that we are operating a shared vision of an indivisible country. And that we are no longer ‘undoing’ businesses or thinking crudely and everything is now being done in Nigeria as it is done in heaven. Then, he will bear us in his heart and reclassify Nigeria. He is not insane as many of his detractors would want to make the world believe. I am certain that President Trump exemplifies whom God created him to be and not what the world wants him to be. Until all forms of malfeasances cease in our land and Trump reclassifies Nigeria, the status remains the same. I do not expect anyone to demand any apology from Trump or push back at him in anger. He did not create shithole for us; he only conceptualized it. Any attempt to spark more fire on the issue will get the country deeper into the shithole. The shithole must be covered in righteousness and the time is now!

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