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MAGNUS ONYIBE

Magnus Onyibe is an entrepreneur, public policy analyst, author, development strategist, alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Massachusetts, USA and a former cabinet member of Delta state government. Since the return to multi-party democracy in Nigeria over 21 years ago, Onyibe has written and published over 200 opinion pieces on the Nigerian economy, business, politics, leadership, governance and foreign relations issues.

Do you remember the popular wise crack: Money Talks, Bullsh*t Works?

There is no better factor to attribute Donald Trump’s rise to being the presumptive presidential candidate of the Grand Old Party, GOP  in the USA,  than Bullsh*t.

With a hefty $75m committed to stopping him through a barrage of scathingly negative adverts by the #NeverTrump# movement,money indeed talked.

While Trump spent $9.5m promoting himself, #Right To Rise USA#,a group supporting Jeb Bush pumped in $9.6, and another group that was backing Marco Rubio known as #Conservative Solutions#, invested $16.7m in adverts against trump.

Hilary Clinton, the Democratic Party opponent of Trump, also invested $31.6m in adverts against him.

Over all , the  total value of what the other GOP opponents spent in adverts against Trump is almost double the $75m spent by the #Never Trump# movement, yet he triumphed.

To the consternation of the conservatives, Trump kept shooting craps-as Americans would say-by mocking  women and deformed people ,promising to shut Muslims out of USA, calling Mexicans rapists and killers , insulting families of opponents -including wives and father’s of the  likes of Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush- and rejecting the Catholic pontiff’s admonition against hate,yet he ended up on top of the pecking order of republican’s choice for president, thus affirming the dictum that, bullshit indeed works better than money.

In what is now being dubbed vintage Trump attack, opponents were bullied until they were vanquished hence most Americans and indeed the world, are flabbergasted and in fact miffed at the  emergence of Trump, whom the Democratic party front runner, Hillary Clinton, refers to as a ‘loose cannon’ who can say anything to anybody.

It’s an understatement to say that Trump’s triumph in the USA has given some GOP conservatives a dizzying spell and possibly, indigestion- House Speaker, Paul Ryan and ex presidential candidate, Mitt Romney-for instance,but has the USA-land of the free- ever been short of surprises?

As we may recall, Jesse Ventura, the reality tv show celebrity and professional wrestler, became the elected governor of the state of Minnesota, in 1999.

Following the foot steps of Ventura , a body builder, winner of former Mr Universe contest and movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2003 also joined the club when he was elected the governor of California -the world’s third richest state, after USA and China.

Obviously, the prowess of Ventura and Schwarzenegger in the make-belief world of realty tv, earned them pop culture appeal that gave them edge over their opponents, such that before Americans could say “Goddam It” , the tough and rough wrestler Ventura and  body builder Schwarzenegger had become the governors of the states of Minnesota and California respectively.

Lest we forget,the wrestler, Ventura and the body builder, Schwarzenegger’s  emergence as governors mimicked the pattern of former president Ronald Reagan’s rise to the presidency from being a popular Hollywood movie actor.

So Donald Trump would not be the first reality TV personality  or odd character to emerge in Gov’s mansion as the chief executive or boss in White House, if he wins the presidential contest scheduled to hold in November, 2016.

What this suggests is that projection of power-be it physical as evidenced by Ventura and Schwarzenegger or by words as typified by Reagan and now Trump-voters tend to prefer candidates that are muscular in stature or loud,verbally .

The salient and clearly inconvenient truth reflected by the three odd personalities that rose meteorically  to the top echelon of US politics listed above , is the affirmation that  Americans tend to prefer make believe leaders.

That explains why Trump, master of make belief,has been chosen over and above practical and realistic candidates – Jeb Bush,Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio etal.

Remarkably, despite his non politicalbackground,Ronald Reagan exhibited the leadership mettle that Americans yearned for and therefore served as US president for two terms and ended up being one of the best presidents that the USA, albeit the GOP ever produced.

I can wager a bet that Donald Trump-the presumptive GOP presidential candidate for 2016 presidential election – would build his campaign strategy around Ronald Reagan’s cult personality, with a view to gaining positive rub-off and mileage that would boost his march to the White House.

Can anyone imagine footballers, Segun Odegbami, JJ Okocha, Daniel Amokachi or Celestine Babayaro contesting and winning elections as governors on the basis of their sporting prowess and popularity in Nigeria?

That was almost the case in Liberia where footballer, George OpongWeah almost emerged the president of that country until the world intervened to deny him of the prestigious job and instead facilitated the emergence of USA trained technocrat and an alumni of Citi Bank, USA ,Ellen Johnson  Sirleaf in 2006 as the 24th president of Liberia.

According to conspiracy theories, the justification for ‘encouraging’ the emergence of Sirkeaf instead of Weah is that Liberia being a country freshly coming out of a protracted civil  war, needed an experienced resource manager like Sirleaf who understood the rubrics of socioeconomic development as opposed to an ordinary footballer, like Weah, who presumably could be overwhelmed by the rudiments of economic management.

As legends have it, the plan was hashed in the  USA by then president George W Bush and implemented by president Olusegun Obasanjo, then president of Nigeria, who jetted off to Liberia to ensure that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who had emerged in 2nd position behind George OpongWeah, in the first ballot, became the eventual winner of the presidential poll after a re-contest.
Back home in Nigeria and specifically lagos state, voters behaviors are not  dissimilar to that of Americans who are often grossly influenced by make belief.

Former Nollywood star, Desmond Elliot is now a legislator in lagos state house of  assembly, having contested and won a seat to represent Surulere constituency.

Attempts by another Nollywood  star, Kanayo O Kanayo to leverage the allure or appeal of his ubiquitous presence on the silver screen,  did not resonate with his people,  so he failed to secure their mandate at the polls  to be their representative in parliament, in Abuja.

Does the situation in the USA signpost a tendency that like Ronald Reagan, Nollywood stars – like Olu Jacobs or  SadiqDabba – could become president of Nigeria, should they decide to dabble into politics?

Some would say never and argue that the odds against such possibility can be likened to reality show artist, Kim Kardashian becoming the first lady of  the USA.

Well, as the saying goes, Never Say Never.

With the very remarkable run away success of Donald trump who has proven to be unstoppable in his phenomenal race to Pennsylvanian avenue – White House, Washington DC address-and given GOP presumptive presidential candidate’s penchant to change spouses-he is with his second wife- it may be unwise to rule Kim Kardashian out as future First Lady of the USA.

After all,as they say in America,anything can happen, but until November when the presidential election would be conducted , no one can tell if the looming absurdity of the bully and demagogue called Donald Trump, becoming president of the USA-a country that is the leader of the free world-would materialize.

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