The only difference between Donald Trump and Idi Amin Dada —a cannibal who ruled Ugandan from 1971-79, is that Trump never cooked and ate his victims.
― Dr. Anthony Obi Ogbo
How Trump Dragged America into a ‘Union of Coup Nations’
By the time I left Nigeria in the late 80s, Coup d’état did not mean anything to me. I had witnessed a lot of coups and crises and could smell them before they occurred. One of the most horrible coups I witnessed occurred on a New Year’s Eve. Of course, December 31 is all that.
All over the world, this day is treasured as the ‘last day of the year’; it is New Year’s Eve! This is when out of merriment, the sounds of Chinese ‘crackers’, ‘bamboo bangers’, ‘red banger’ fireworks, or ‘flash bangers’ interrupt the night’s tranquility – but dies down way after midnight to usher in the New Year. I had always looked forward to these almost synchronized activities that illuminates the dark skyline of midnight – presenting a most artistic expression of adoration to the heavens.
But this was not the case on this particular New Year following December 31, 1983. It wasn’t quite like others, because it did not come as joyous as the previous years. The radio and television programs that often feature Songs of Praises, New Year messages, and well-wishes, including song requests, were interrupted by this non-stop marshal music that went on for hours without any announcements.
I love classical music and would record them from the radio. But I got worried when they played uninterruptedly. From Beethoven’s “Wellington’s Victory,” Prokofiev’s “War Sonatas” or “Battle on the Ice,” to Shostakovich’s Symphony No.7, ” there was no doubt that the entire country, Africa’s most populous country, was under siege. At this time, those familiar with Nigeria’s system knew that something was happening to the country’s leadership. Of course, it must be a coup. Confirmation and other details were a matter of time.
At some point, the announcement finally came. It was exactly January 1, 1984 – Major-General Buhari had taken over the legitimate government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari. In their normal fashion, the constitution had been suspended, curfew imposed, all elected officials and major governmental leaders had been fired and ordered to hand over their positions to their Secretaries.
It was not hard to tell that the regime had been overridden by a gang of redundant military officers inspired by an overdose of alcohol, cannabis, and AK-47 rifles.
The next day, some fierce-looking killer-army officers were already parading the streets with horsewhips and tormenting motorists. They are mainly timid Fulani-Kanuri officers who neither spoke nor understood one English word, but could only communicate in very loud voices with the Hausa dialect. It was not hard to tell that the regime had been overridden by a gang of redundant military officers inspired by an overdose of alcohol, cannabis, and AK-47 rifles. And, there were no questions that a group of a local army without any leadership aptitude besides commanding platoons, barracks, and cantonments, would preside over a complex Econo-political entity like Nigeria.
This was the society I was raised in. I was barely six when the civil war broke out in 1967. I saw everything about this war, which indeed turned out into a frightening genocide. Since this war, this country has struggled from several military coups to multiple sham representative regimes. Yet, the entire structure remains a dictatorship where the entire power lies with an individual selected from a specific aristocratic class.
Western countries have continuously aided and abetted the destabilization of many third world countries for direct and indirect benefits.
Most major Western countries have not experienced a violent overthrow of government since attaining statehood but in one way or the other, they have been directly involved in various coups around the world, especially in the Third World countries. They have continuously aided and abetted the destabilization of many third world countries for direct and indirect benefits.
Some of these ‘World Players’ have equally courted or supported dictators against their people. For instance, Late Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the 10th President of the Philippines said, “I was deposed by a coup d’état by friends that I trusted and aided by the American Government.” Also, Hugo Rafael Chávez, who led Venezuela from 1999 until he died in 2013, held a similar grudge. He said, “Most governments in the United States in a hundred years have not respected the peoples of Latin America. They have sponsored coups, assassinations,…”
For four years, America has been ruled by a legitimately elected President who turned out to be a dictator. From the first day in office, he had flunked every rule accorded to his designation. Just like any other dictator in history, Donald J. Trump had no knowledge about the constitution of the land, yet he suppressed the entire system and converted the Executive Branch into his family possession. Unfortunately for the Nation, his Republican Party who held the Senate majority shielded his atrocities and took advantage of the moment to change major policies to suit their base desires.
In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bragged about blocking his predecessor, former President Barack Obama’s judicial appointments, in a two-year effort that allowed Mr. Trump and a Republican-controlled congress to stack courts with conservative judges and create a conservative majority on the nation’s high court.
Ironically, on January 6, 2021, Americans survived their first coup since the Civil War, which ended in 1865. The Republican Party leaders and the media would use the term “insurrection” to tone down the magnitude of how disgraceful Mr. Trump had dragged their democracy. But whether it is a coup or an insurrection, the bottom line is that a President who lost an election arrogantly rejected the entire electoral process, and to prevent a transition, had ordered a violent uprising against his own administration and government.
After he lost this election by a landslide margin, he fabricated claims of vote-rigging. In preparation for keeping himself in power through a coup, he made substantial changes in the Nation’s security sectors and rallied a gang of retired army and law enforcement officers in various radical and supremacist groups to standby for the worst.
Trump gradually led armed dissidents into the Capitol to violently overrun the government of the United States in a bid to overturn his election loss
By the way, his allegations of massive voting fraud were refuted by a variety of judges, state election officials, and an arm of his own administration’s Homeland Security Department. Many of his campaign’s lawsuits across the country were thrown out of court. Yet, Trump gradually led armed dissidents into the Capitol to violently overrun the government of the United States in a bid to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden.
Prior to this final hour, his hour-long phone call with Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, made it to the media, where he asked the state election official to “find” enough votes to overturn that state’s election, which Biden won. In his very last effort to overturn this election, Trump pressured his Vice President, Mike Pence, publicly to reject the results of the Electoral College when they come before Congress.
Most dictators are usually self-idolized autocrats who feed the masses with propaganda about the government, policies, and political environment. Trump is a sorry moronic dictator who stumbled in a decent democratic structure, and muddled it up almost beyond redemption. He is an overweight charming, but charismatic numbskull who traded crookedness as a hobby ― a masterful liar, ruthless, sadistic, and insatiably intoxicated with power. He was an inglorious psychopath who had successfully dragged America into a Union of Coup Nations.
A typical African Dictator would suspend the constitution and ban political activities; but, Trump could not do that under a stringent United States constitutional structure. Rather, he tore up America’s three-arm independent structure to pave way for his tyrannical governance style. He secured for his family the executive branch, hid under the legislative sector that favors him with a majority, and circumvented the judiciary with bogus ‘Executive Orders’.
He hated the media with a passion so he created his network led by the FOX news media
He hated the media with a passion so he created his network led by the FOX news media, while he moved the affairs of governance to the social media. He took over the affairs of the Civil Service, Military, National Guard, and ran all domestic security agencies like a flea market. These summed up the cycle that led to his self-implosion. He led his own suicide squad and drew the guillotine bottom to complete self-annihilation.
He would publicly reproach judges who would rule against his executive excesses. Yes, Trump did all that in just a 4-year tenure – and much more. He fired more appointees than he hired and would announce them on social media in the most debasing manner.
The only difference between Donald Trump and Idi Amin Dada —a cannibal who ruled Ugandan from 1971-79, is that Trump never cooked and ate his victims. Yet, Trump by his conspiracy theories about the Pandemic caused America over 376,000 deaths, with thousands still dying daily. Most sadistic!
Seth Davin Norrholm and Samuel Hunley who authored The psychological analysis of a psychotic dictator attributed the psychological bearing of a dictator to “Power, Fear, and Anxiety.” According to the Authors, “They see themselves as “very special” people, deserving of admiration and, consequently, have difficulty empathizing with the feelings and needs of others … Not only do dictators commonly show a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity,” they also tend to behave with a vindictiveness often observed in narcissistic personality disorder.”
To understand the content of Trump’s head is to view the brains of ‘well researched despots’. “Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong (or Tse-tung), Josef Stalin, Pol Pot – names such as these haunt our cultural imaginations. These men were, by all available accounts, totalitarian dictators, who sought to maintain complete control over their respective governments and populations through radical methods, including the systematic murder and imprisonment of all who stood against them. In some cases, the terror they wielded helped them maintain power for years and indelibly emblazoned their names into the history books. Each of the names listed above is responsible for more than a million deaths, and even those citizens who were fortunate to have survived their reign lived in persistent fear of death, forced labor, or torture.
No doubt, dictatorial leaders like Trump represent the extreme potential of the human capacity for evil, and yet, despite their seeming ‘omnipotence’ within their individual spheres of power, these individuals also tend to suffer from excessive anxiety – mostly regarding paranoid fears of citizen uprising and/or assassination, disgrace – or the reality of a jail term.
We can now appreciate the anxieties and fears distressing Mr. Trump as he heads out of the White House. His over-exaggerated sense of self-worth deludes him into considering himself able to upturn every situation to his benefits. However, all his cookies have crumbled before his very eyes.
Just like Robert Mugabe, the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Trump had clamped down on his political adversaries, using government surveillance and attorneys-general against domestic political opponents. He would bargain personal interests with his appointees, reward corporate backers, and used his executive power to punish entities that would not submit to his illegal and irrational demands.
Americans now know what other countries go through under dictatorship.
Americans must acknowledge the lessons of Donald Trump’s aborted January 6 coup, and factor them into their thoughts of civic engagements. They must document four years of Trump as a piece of history when America survived her first dictatorship and coup since independence. Another advantage of living through the Trump Tyranny is that it has given Americans a taste of what dictatorship feels like. Thus, Americans now know what other countries go through under dictatorship. Hopefully, Western Countries involved in such inhumane and dastard intrusions in the polity of third world and developing countries should engage the breaks.
Trump is said to have discussed in recent weeks the possibility of pardoning himself, an unprecedented and untested use of Presidential Power, but it is uncertain whether that would ultimately protect him. The narcissi in Trump is only playing out. Typically, Narcissistic individuals have a “greatly exaggerated sense of their own importance” and are “preoccupied with their own achievements and abilities – and, possibly, attempt to play God.
Mr. Donald Trump is only being “preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success” and “power.” He is calling for attention and desires to be associated with current issues – as his social media arms and limbs have suffered public and regulatory amputations. Furthermore, Trump is in desperate need of excessive admiration to remain happy, possess an extreme sense of entitlement, exploit the system – in a desperate need for relevance. So, his warped mind spins an unprecedented escape route from his self-inflicted entanglements – Self pardon! Bravo!
This is the right time to fumigate Trump out of the White House.
The thought of Self-Pardon is a psychological admission that he is guilty of many crimes that the public may not be aware of. Thus, President Trump should be reminded that a crime against the people can only be pardoned in line with due process. So, he cannot pardon himself without full disclosure and a legal process in line with institutional guidelines and standards.
Mr. President must wake up! The January 06, 2021 Coup against the People has been botched by Democratic Institution that he tried to overrun. The rule of Law has reigned over subversion of the Will of the People. This is the right time to fumigate Trump out of the White House.
♦ Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, PhD, is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News
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