A CONCERNED LETTER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP (On the Travel Ban)
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
NW, Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump,
“We will not relent in our unconditional love for America and our tireless efforts to recoup Nigeria’s lost glory. Proudly
Nigerian-American!” – Yahaya Balogun
It is with mixed feelings that I am writing you this missive. Mr. President, the author of this missive is a grateful Nigerian-American. He is also a bonafide son of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and a privileged citizen of the United States of America. As a lucky individual residing in this exceptional clime, I am just a macrocosm of the incredible and hardworking Nigerian-American residents in the United States. I am highly grateful and heartily fulfilled to be part of American exceptionalism.
First of all, I am very sad that you do not understand or acknowledge the intellectual acuity and potential of Nigerians. Secondly, your recent government’s official policy of slamming the US doors against potential immigrants from Nigeria to the United States is a mixed blessing in disguise. Blessing in the sense that, Nigeria as a country is bleeding internally from self-inflicted wounds. Morbidly, a diehard-Nigeria has been comatose and under intensive care but will advertently survive her political tribulations. Your government’s decision to speak to the conscience and consciousness of Nigerian leaders and Nigerians through your hash immigration policy (travel ban) is a welcome development. It may painfully sway some heart-hardened Nigerian politicians. Your decision might wake up our leaders to do the needful to earnestly meet the yearnings, developmental expectations and security of the hapless Nigerian citizens. The current occupant of government house (Aso Rock) in Abuja-Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari is a man of integrity. A one-man battalion in the midst of chronic corruption in Nigeria. But the buck of Nigeria’s conundrums stops at his table. As a leader of the country, he’s constitutionally responsible for the state of the nation.
In 2014, as a concerned dual citizen of Nigeria and the US, I wrote your predecessor, President Barack Obama about the unpleasant security situation in Nigeria. President Obama replied to my letter graciously with the assurance of fine-tuning the United States’ assistance to Nigeria. Whether the government of Nigeria cooperated with all your predecessor’s official promises, or with what his government was ready to offer remain shrouded in our country’s political mystery. It’s a principled policy of the US government not to fraternize with the corrupt government of another country. This is what President Obama avoided during the corrupt administrations of President Goodluck Jonathan. The seriousness, corrupt and lackadaisical attitudes of our leaders prevented your predecessor from having an official state visit to Nigeria. We are seemingly receding again to yesteryears. It is currently getting dark again in a potentially illuminated Nigeria.
Mr. President, I bet you, every nook and cranny of America are dotted with resourceful Nigerians. From Law Enforcement agencies to the educational sector; from the private sector to government parastatals, from sports to business ventures, from leisure and tourism to hotel and hospitality industry, Nigeria is making a great difference and unequaled quantum leaps into American phenomenal future. Nigerians are also playing a pivotal role in the maintenance of American exceptionalism. A few months ago, at the prestigious Grand Canyon University graduation in Arizona, USA, Nigerians graciously made up approximately 30% of the graduates from all fields of humanity from this renowned university. And the prestigious Grand Canyon University is a macrocosm of the intellectual acuity of Nigerians in the United States and in the Diaspora.
Traditionally, sir, I am skeptical about your full or less to nothing about the understanding of the sociopolitical and economic terrains of Nigeria. For your hindsight, sir, Nigeria is strategically placed as a nation but her strategic hub or location is her (burden) encumbrance. Our geopolitical nomenclature (structure) has the integers of cultural biases: tribalism, ethnocentricism, religious bigotry and fundamentalism, political opportunism and citizens’ grandstanding which have destroyed the remnants of our culture and moral values. Just like the United States, Nigerians are more polarized now than they were ten decades ago. But sir, in spite of our nauseating and naughty division, we are second to none in terms of versatility and knowledge acquisition. Our intellectual acuity cannot be matched by any race or nationality anywhere in the world.
In reality, Nigeria’s intellectual capital and economic prosperity are similar to those of the United States. But the Nigerian people have been economically raped and crunched for decades by her leaders. The shoddiness of our leaders to tackle insecurity in the land must have contributed to your government’s hasty policy to ban innocent Nigerians aspiring to be citizens of this great country called the United States of America. Bribery and corruption in Nigeria must have given you the opportunity to dangle the innocent Nigerians with collective and punitive immigration punishment.
Meanwhile, the burden of Nigeria has been her “mere geographical expression.” Nigeria as a nation is an amalgam of different ethnic groups hurriedly put together by the brutish British without a clear vision of how these groups were going to live together in harmony in the near future. The colonial masters made Nigeria a mere geographical expression—with beautiful diversity—but with no clear national identity. It is imperative to explain for your understanding of the rich cultural heritage and diversity of Nigeria. For decades, Nigeria has been mismanaged by her leadership and with no clear cut direction on a famished road to nowhere. In spite of the misgovernance, the hapless Nigerians have been their own mini and individual government, providing the simple and basic necessities of life for themselves. We want to ‘thank’ your government for the recent repatriation of the looted funds late General Sanni Abacha stole during his evil regime in a raped country. For your information, unlike the US, ordinary portable drinking water, electricity, good roads and other essentials for psychological needs and domestic life are luxury in Nigeria. Everyone is a chief security officer of his or her household.
Moreover, the decision of your government to ban Nigeria will not only debar or deny the US invaluable human capital of Nigeria, but it will be a misnomer to the cultural and socio-economic values and lives of the United States. The decision will also affect the US manpower growth and development. According to the US censor bureau, 4% of Nigerians are doctoral degree holders in the United States compared to 1% of the US citizens in its population with Ph.D. holders. 17% and 37% are holders of Master’s degrees and Bachelor’s degrees respectively. The chunk of medical doctors and medical personnel in various health institutions across the US are hardworking and brilliant Nigerians. The world is dotted with talented Nigerian men and women who have distinguished themselves among their contemporaries in the areas of sports, medicine, academics, and other human endeavors. The last four decades have exported unquantifiable Nigeria’s fertile brains to the global community including the United States. America is a revered country in the minds of all Nigerians. Nigeria is a potentially powerful nation if it gets its priority right. No serious nation in the world will underrate the endowment and impeccable human capital of Nigerians.
In view of the elucidated points above, the visa ban and hash immigration policy of your government should be fine-tuned and mortally revised with a human face. Our leaders should be held accountable for the security problems in Nigeria, not the innocent Nigerians who are legitimately eking their living in the Diaspora.
The world is increasingly shrinking to a global townlet. Nigeria’s exceptionalism in spite of her self-ruination is African heartbeat. China’s imagination to heavily invest in African fertile land and resources should be an eye-opener for the US government. Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth. China like other nations is currently exploring Nigeria’s potential for her own economic leverage and advantage. Any irrational and unpopular policy by the US to stave off Nigeria from the United States will not be economically viable for both countries. We hope your government will reconsider the hash decision and diplomatically normalize the good relationship Nigeria enjoys with the United States of America.
Thank you, sir, in anticipation of your favorable considerations.
God bless you, sir, and God bless the United States of America and Nigeria.
Yahaya Balogun, Arizona, USA.