I am home today nursing a torn muscle from my treadmill workouts and thought that I should comment on something that happened recently. I noticed that a video was trending on Twitter a few days ago. It was a video of folks from a church in the Southeastern part of Nigeria holding a prayer walk for Donald Trump. We saw reports earlier that another church in the region also held a parade for Trump. Those of you who follow me know that I have written about this strange phenomenon of Nigerians, particularly Igbos (my ethnic group), supporting and praying for Trump. It started with the false meme that spread on social media that Trump supports Igbos (Biafrans). Some Igbos are pushing to secede from Nigeria due to their discontentment with the tensions between Christians in the North (Igbos are mostly Christians) and Muslims in the North.
Many of us Nigerians in the United States are dual citizens. We have often found it baffling that our brothers and sisters back home don’t seem to fully understand who Trump is. Most of them truly believe that Trump is a devout Christian and some even call him a God-sent. Those of us who know Trump better find the claim to be ludicrous. Anyway, I have often tried not to be too critical of our folks back home, but seeing this video trending on Twitter and reading that Trump acknowledged it sent me over the edge.
While I understand that we are all entitled to our opinions, beliefs, and values, I find myself in a position of using my own voice to express my opinion and disdain for what I am seeing. This is personal to me. I recognize that I am about to take a harsh tone here, but sometimes you’ve got to take a stand for your own values. I have no doubt in my mind that Trump does not give a damn about Igbos or Nigerians. In fact, he has blocked visas and family reunification programs for Nigerians. He has not spoken out against the issue of police brutality in Nigeria, which most of our Igbo folks are fighting against with the #EndSARS movement. Trump has also blocked the appointment of Nigerians to leadership positions within some international organizations.
So, if you are one of the Nigerians holding prayer vigils and parading for Trump, shame on you! You are actively praying for a man who is doing his best to make life harder for your brothers and sisters in the diaspora. I have not seen a prayer walk from any of you for the various issues we’ve encountered. We’ve had mass shootings in the United States and none of you held parades or vigils to pray for our safety. You pray for Trump and shamelessly tell us that we need to return home if we find his policies unbearable. Meanwhile, you are all too happy to receive the billions of dollars in remittances that we send to Nigeria every year. Your prayers for Trump are prayers against our welfare and the welfare of our children. So, shame on you!
I don’t comment too much on events happening in Nigeria and it’s not because I don’t care; it’s just that I left Nigeria decades ago, which means that I can no longer draw on my lived experience for commentary. I can rely on research, but that means that I will miss some nuances because one’s lived experience will always trump what one can deduce from reading. Many of you Nigerians praying for Trump actually believe that reading memes and news articles make you experts on Trump and the American experience. You see the things you hear on the 700 Club and TBN as non-partisan and true. You are often dismissive of your brothers and sisters in the United States who draw on their lived experience to form their opinion of Trump. It will be nice if you would give us the benefit of the doubt and acknowledge that we may know this guy better than you do.
Trump does not give a damn about you or any other African nation! Trump is not a Christian, so shame on you for believing otherwise! Shame on you for supporting someone who saw a black man sitting in his lobby as an eyesore. Shame on you for professing to be Christians even as you support a conman who defrauds workers, sleeps with porn stars, separates children from their parents, denounces refugees fleeing war-torn locations, takes away food stamps from children, and who is actively working to take away health insurance from millions. The Igbos pride themselves on being smart. Whatever caused you to parade for a man who is pushing the world toward anti-intellectualism? Were we not taught that God is love? What does your Bible say about lust, greed, wrath, envy, and pride? Are they still deadly sins or not?
We have a name for people who sympathize with their abusers. We need to see if this is a case of the Stockholm Syndrome or just another case of the regular, everyday colonial mentality. I recognize that I am being tough here, but if you are willing to support a white supremacist who spends all day sowing division, then rest assured that I have no problem distancing myself from you and your values.