Did you know that Donald Trump’s approval rating in Nigeria is around 60 percent? I didn’t. But that’s what the Pew Research Center found in a January survey, and according to Nigerian journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, this has been Trump’s consistent level of approval in Nigeria.
Why do Nigerians like Trump? Nwaubani says it’s because they appreciate his tough talk, candor, and resilience. Nigerians also like the fact that he’s pro-religion and entertaining.
Will 15 percent of American black voters feel the same way in November? If so, Trump’s reelection seems highly probable.
What about Trump’s labeling African nations “shit holes?” This seems to be an example of the candor Nigerians appreciate, political correctness apparently not having infected that country:
Many Africans agree [with Trump’s assessment]. Ask the multitudes risking death by drowning to escape to Europe. In 2017, the bodies of 26 Nigerian young women and girls were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea, following their attempt to reach Europe in a rubber boat. Out of 181,000 migrants who arrived by sea in Italy from Libya in 2016, about 11,000 women and 3,000 children traveling alone were from Nigeria, according to the United Nations. . . .
45 percent of Nigerian adults said they planned to move to another country in the next five years — the highest percentage of any nation surveyed. On reporting trips between 2016 and 2018 to Edo state in the south, the origin of most Nigerians crossing the Mediterranean, I came across villages where the majority of the youth had left for Europe, and the people who remained were mostly elderly.
But what about the travel ban Trump recently imposed on Nigeria? Nwaubani says that Nigerians don’t like it, but they understand it:
International media reports on the travel ban have described Nigeria with glittering phrases: It’s “Africa’s largest economy” with a “booming tech ecosystem,” whose migrants are “among the most educated and successful immigrants in the United States.” But it is also a greatly diverse country that has produced the Boko Haram terrorist group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and now parades as its West Africa arm; the “Underwear Bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear on a flight headed to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009; and the crowds that poured into the streets of northern Nigeria (a mostly Muslim region) to celebrate the attacks on the twin towers in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.
I was chatting with a group of people in Abuja recently, and every one of us agreed that it would be unwise for Trump to pretend that threats from northern Nigeria don’t exist. He needs to protect Americans from Nigerians whom even we Nigerians need to be protected from.
But Trump would surely have been accused of amplifying the fissures in our country if he had banned travelers from only a particular region, we conceded. And so we all must suffer for the transgressions of some.
As depicted by Nwaubani, Nigerians have considerably more sense than American liberals and a significant number of American judges.
Nigerians are likely to blame their government, not Trump, for the travel ban:
Multiple local media reports have said that the Trump administration tried for more than a year to work with the Nigerian government to upgrade our country’s information-sharing procedures and avoid the ban. But Nigeria failed to meet the minimum security requirements for verifying travelers’ identities and singling out those who may pose a national security threat.
Nwaubani doesn’t mention Nigeria’s reputation as the home of world class scammers, a phenomenon brilliantly portrayed in the film “Nigerian Prince” (written and directed by a Nigerian-American filmmaker). It’s possible that Nigerians like Trump’s ability to make a buck creatively.
This may be part of what Nwaubani is getting at in her snarky concluding passage:
Perhaps. . .another reason Nigerians love Trump [is that] with all the outlandishness his presidency has unleashed, he has shown that America isn’t some ideal place where leaders and the media and the opposition always conduct themselves with decorum. He has exposed the “African” in all of you.