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“Are We Really Not A Shithole Country?” By Fisayo Soyombo

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Are we one of the countries Donald Trump had in mind when he wondered why US lawmakers were seeking protection for “all these people from shithole countries” —  immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries?


To be clear, this question is not original to Nigeria. It has been appropriated — and I am thoroughly ashamed to admit this — from Botswana.

Following the latest of Trump’s trademark jibes at the black race on Thursday, Botswana was the first African country to formally and openly reprimand the US, dispatching a query to the American ambassador to its country and asking him to clarify if it was one of the countries classified by Trump as ‘shithole’. Up till yesterday, only officials of two more African countries — Uganda and South Africa — had spoken out in strong terms against Trump. The rest, among which Nigeria is sadly languishing, have been mute, hiding behind the African Union’s branding of Trump’s comment as “clearly racist”. The likelihood is high that South Africa and Uganda were emboldened by Botswana’s immediate response.

Fisayo SoyomboThis isn’t the first time Botswana, a country of just over 2 million people, has recently stood up to America on behalf of Africa. In December, after a majority at the United Nations voted against Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the US was so riled that it threatened to cut aid to the nations that voted against it. Before the vote, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, had said Trump and the US were “taking this vote personally”. And, after, seeing it didn’t go their way, Haley said Trump “would be watching which countries voted against the US”, and had given instructions that he should be given the list. While other African countries hid away in the aftermath of the threat, Botswana called Trump’s bluff, branding Haley’s utterances “threatening and grossly inappropriate communication”, and affirming that it would “not be intimidated” in the exercise of its sovereign rights to vote. Botswana is certainly not a shit-hole country! 
From Botswana, Nigeria can learn a few lessons. Like Nigeria, this southern African country is natural resource-endowed. But unlike us, Botswana doesn’t just export its gemstones and precious metals, it mines them. So, while Nigeria mostly exports crude oil in a garbage-in-garbage-out manner, Botswana has a robust in-country mining of its gemstones; it generates revenue from the end products, such as diamond, rather than from the raw resource itself. 
Of the 50 large mines that account for 90% of the world’s diamond supply, the largest — the Orapa Diamond Mine — is in Botswana. A 50-50 partnership between the De Beers company and the government of Botswana, Orapa (meaning ‘resting place for lions’) began operating almost five decades ago. Nigeria, meanwhile, can’t boast anything close to a 50-50 stake in the total refining of its oil. Big as the mining industry is, it is only 40% of the Botswanan economy. But oil is Nigeria’s mainstay; without oil, our economy is gone. Botswana was a poor country at Independence in 1966, but decades of reinvestment of its resource in other sectors have seen it rise to a middle-income country. What it means is that Botswana, to a large extent, can remain in America’s bad books without batting an eyelid. That’s why it could summon the US ambassador. And that’s why Nigeria couldn’t. 
That’s not all. Botswana has a unique understanding of foreign aid application that has perhaps eluded Nigeria’s foreign affairs ministry: western aid never goes to a country unless the donor is confident of some sort of future payback. For all of Botswana’s economic independence, it’s HIV/AIDS baggage is scary. Nearly one-quarter of its adults are infected with HIV, placing a heavy burden on social services and the economy — and this is where the US has been most useful. Aid from the US and other foreign donors has been critical to the process of alleviating the epidemic via the strengthening of local organizations and the government with technical expertise and financial resources to support the county’s response. Is that big enough a reason for Botswana to adopt a slave-master relationship with the US. Maybe.
But Botswana understands that America’s relationship with the rest of Africa is symbiotic; its stranglehold on the continent only enjoys permanence because of interventions like aid and other sundry assistance. Without the aid, the US can no longer be US. So, Botswana understands that despite Trump’s threat to cut aid, the US cannot afford to throw away its diplomatic relationship with Africa. Botswana understands that the greatness of America today does not only exist in part due to centuries of slavery and exploitative trading with Africa, it also exists due to the intellect and energy of the finest collection of Africans seduced to the States by the promise of a better life. It is this knowledge that emboldens Botswana to demand respect from the US. Still, has Nigeria’s anonymity in the most diplomatic discourse of the year earned us shithole status?
Some Nigerians have answered ‘yes’ — not just because of the silence but for the hunger, joblessness, hopelessness, insecurity, inequality, anger and frustration in the land. While these are, without doubt, our realities, it would take a monumental underestimation of Trump as a racist and a similar misjudgement of the word ‘shithole’ for anyone to reach that conclusion. By varied dictionary definitions, ‘shithole’ relates to the physical dirt or shabbiness of a place; it is more about a place and its people than the conditions of living in that place. Trump’s ‘shithole’ comment is a reflection of his disdain for Africa as a place and Africans as a people — it bears no relationship with the problems besetting the continent. Nigeria does not qualify as a shithole, regardless of the opinion of a million Trumps!
Nevertheless, if African leaders will wake up from their slumber, Trump’s indiscretion can play to our advantage. We must ignore the messenger. We must, because Trump, were he a man of history, would remember that as a son of an unskilled German who emigrated to the US at 16 and started working as a barber, he is the least qualified to disparage or slam the doors of the US on shit-hole migrants. That’s why Trump, the messenger, must be ignored.
But we must never ignore the message. Never. And the hidden message in Trump’s vitriol is that Africans will continue finding themselves at the wrong end of outbursts like this until we’re serious about catching up with the rest of the world by building countries where personal and professional fulfilment can be attained without necessarily migrating abroad. Till then, every now and then, garrulous leaders like Trump will bank on that loophole to lump us all together as descendants of a shithole.
Soyombo, Editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), tweets @fisayosoyombo

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Ike Ani is a Freelance writer whose quest constantly is to relate happenings around the world to human daily living. He's also a song writer and singer, Acoustic Guitarist, and Teacher.

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L. A Prisoners Infect Themselves With Coronavirus To Get Early Release (VIDEO)

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A group of silly L.A area prison inmates were very eager to contract the dreaded coronavirus .

They attempted this because they believed that would trigger their ticket out of prison.

According to the L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva who made the startling revelation Monday, said about twenty-four (24) inmates at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic attempted (and somewhat succeeded, apparently) to infect themselves way back in mid-April 2020.

The Sheriff revealed that their department saw an increase in spike in confirmed cases out of nowhere.

He said that when they investigated, they found a high number of inmates living in one block of the prison appeared to be deliberately trying to infect each other with COVID-19 any way they could from behind bars.

When Alex Villanueva played the surveillance footages he and his team combed through carefully , and it showed several inmates hanging out in a common area and passing around what Alex described as a hot cup of water, as well as one face mask they’d each put on all in hopes of getting sympathy from a judge to spring them from the facility and let them go home.

But it turns out, their little ploy worked but, only halfway.

Villanueva reported that 21 of the inmates (out of 50 in the block) caught the ‘Coronavirus.

“What they won’t catch is a break” said the Sheriff.

Watch the Video HERE

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COVID-19 LOCKDOWN: 12 Year Old Albino Girl Suffers Eye Problems After Hawking Veggies In Abuja (PHOTOS)

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A very sad Facebook post greeted Nigerians from Abuja showing a 12 year old Albino Girl Grace, who started developing sight problems after Hawking Veggies under the scorching sun in Abuja.

The Facebook post stated that the little girl was asked to hawk the veggies by her aunt whom she lives with.

Below are the Screenshots of the Facebook post:

This sad news has sparked an outrage by well meaning individuals who spoke against such cruelty and insensitivity of the said girl’s aunt.

what do you think of this? Drop your comments below.

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“Buhari is Made In London” – Reno Omokri Blasts Presidency On Nigerian Made Products

The Buhari administration has been known for enforcing the Nigerian people to patronize Nigerian made goods though without much strategy to make life easier while this transition to economic growth is enforced.

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Reno Omokri Nuggets

The Buhari administration has been known for enforcing the Nigerian people to patronize Nigerian made goods though without much strategy to make life easier while this transition to economic growth is enforced. Many Nigerians have tagged it a harsh move that is insensitive and inhumane but moreso, Reno Omokri has singled out signals of hypocrisy in the President of Nigeria by outlining certain traits of family moves of the President that shows that he(Buhari) as the No.1 citizen has no regards for anything made in Nigeria but yet wants other Nigerians to embrace Nigerian made goods.

Reno Omokri ‘s tweet reads:

His kids schooled in England. His wife just returned from a 3 month UK stay. His daughter gave birth to his grandchild in Spain (made in Spain), yet
@MBuhari
, who is London, wants us to patronise made in Nigeria!

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