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Trump: An American hero or tragedy?, by Abdullahi D Mohammed

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The world watched with a mixed feeling- awe and exhilaration- how the symbol and pride of America’s democracy, The Capitol Hill, was desecrated by  mobs and other groups of  white supremacists and extremists loyal to ex-President Donald Trump. The “Police of the World” and, leader of the Free world and advocate of democracy had been engulfed in series of political turmoil since Trump lost the last November elections, and refused to concede and accept defeat, rather, he continued to claim without evidence of widespread voter fraud and irregularities.

These clearly are alien to the US and could only be found in repressive and authoritarian governments, in Africa and other developing economies.The  scenario was, ridiculous, and worrisome.

Ridiculously, it proved that “Democracy” atleast, the American Brand, which had existed  for about 250years is still fallible, and, has lots of flaws, and the democratic experience is still evolving, therefore the US cannot preach democracy to the world.


On the flipside, it is worrisome because, sit-tight African leaders with authoritarian tendencies would  be emboldened by the action, making reference a point on how a sitting US President questioned the credibility of their elections, and would likely harp on the infallibility of the concept of democracy. The implication is, the US risked losing the position of the exporter, or, advocate of democracy to the world.


The precedence set by Pres. Trump was a culmination of a long political battle between the rightist and, the leftist liberals. The political battles, mostly, predates the 2020 elections.The ideological differences iginted the centuries old malaise in the American demographies, especially minorities which suffered or faced growing disparities in virtually all spheres —  socially and economically. The populist stand like America first, and MAGA rhetoric of Trump amplified and further  polarised the inherent political divide, while emboldening groups like Qanon, a right wing conspiracy theory advocacy group, others like, the Proud Boys and like-minded extremist mobs  took it upon themselves to challenge America’s democracy, obviously at the behest of Trump who vehemently refused to concede, alleging, without evidence of widespread voter fraud.


The siege or mob attack at the US Capitol which had recorded some casualties, sent mixed signals  across the world  — the heart of America’s democracy has been desecrated and, no amount of alternative facts can erase the ugly incidence  which has long left its footprint in the minds of millions. 


The action earned Trump his second impeachment. He was the third US President to be impeached,  and the first to be impeached, twice,  what a bleak record!The worrisome aspect of Trump’s action of undermining  America’s democracy is its reflect on repressive and undemocratic elements in Africa and elsewhere. America has always been the model, or reference point on democracy and strong democratic institutions across the world. Most governments, after coming to power would seek, subtly, America’s consent and court Washington for legitimacy. There is an unwritten law, any new governments formed, would never be comfortable, until Washington congratulates her. That clearly is America’s exceptionalism.


Regardless, America’s intrusions and unofficial role as Police of the world, to some extent, has both its upside and downside, one of which is: it has helped to keep in check, despotic, repressive and authoritarian governments garbed in theoretical democracy.

For instance, prior to the last guber election in Edo state, APC and PDP were locked in a fierce battle for the soul of the state. Typical of the Nigerian politicians, they had investments and  other asset scattered in the US and other Western capitals. Therefore, as a predule to the peaceful poll, the US issued a press release reiterating the need for a peaceful conduct of the election else, those involved in any form of pre or post election  violence would risk being banned or denied entry to to the US.Interestingly, the Edo election was peaceful, to some, it was the fear of the American ban that ensured the peaceful and orderly conduct of the election.

All over Africa, from Tanzania to Sudan, Gambia to Central Africa Republic, the fear of US sanction on uncooperative and dictatorial government  remained pervasive and widespread which sometimes wade off, or, reduced minimally the danger of violence.

The downside of Trump’s action on African democracy is  — it provides a missing link in entrenching and deepening democracy and good governance, which most African leaders lack. The thinking in this part of the world is —  the American model of democracy has been questioned.No one would have imagined, the leader of the Free world would stoop so low and condone violent affront on democracy, others pointed out how undemocratic American has become. 


For instance, in the recently concluded elections in Uganda, all sorts of voter intimidation occurred, from internet shutdown, to outright violence and attacks on opposition figures. Museveni supportes and his party, the National Resistance Movement, as well as security opertives were complict in voter suppression and intimidation. Any statement by the US authorities condemning their action would be counterproductive. Election observers from some select US institutions were asked to back off and steer clear of Uganda affairs. This wouldn’t have occurred, had Trump’s America hadn’t acted the way it did.


Many scholars and policy experts across Africa and the world began to question  the US democratic experience. Had the US democracy reached its threshold, or, the point of elasticity or, a new concept of democracy is about to evolve? This brings to mind, a finite, or grand rule-nothing stays, or last forever. However long a phenomenal lasts, no matter the time an empire reigns, there are bound to be the point of diminishing. Has the US clearly lost its  superior position as a global hegemon?In  International relations, the Hegemonic Stability Theory, stipulates the likelihood of achieving global stability in the event of a single nation dominating others as a hegemon, through coercion, diplomacy and persuasion. These are attributed to the US. But, the emergence of other centers of power, like China, Russia, and to some extent, Iran, that hegemonic status the US enjoyed for decades is set to be challenged.


In 2016, for instance, Russia was alleged to have disrupted and influenced the outcome of US election, therefore, undermining its democracy by aiding the victory of Donald Trump at the polls. China is locked in a fierce trade war with the US, and obviously China is winning. Iran has defied the US sanction, and continues to assert its influence in the Middle East, and lately, issued an arrest warrant on a sitting US president.


On all fronts, especially on diplomacy and international interactions with allies, Trump had embarrased and ridiculed the US a number of times, never seen, at least, in recent history. Thankfully, the US strong institutions mitigated the  trend. The judiciary, and other government  agencies stood firm with the US Constitution, ignoring  intense pressure and barrage of attacks from Trump, his supporters and some GOP members.
The smooth transition of power has been a hallmark of US democratic culture, Trump frustrated that aspect and vowed not to attend President Biden’s inauguration. What a way to sign out of a hate-filled agonizing four years of his Presidency!

To many, Trump is an American hero, who sought to echo the superiority of the white race, and the entire Aryan race through provocative remarks against Africans, and African Americans, Latinos and other ethnic minorities.To others, he is simply another rich, spoilt white mannerless racist who explored  the uneducated white evangelicals, and rode to the position he never deserved.


As President Biden takes over a divided country, many would wish for a quick fix of the crack on the formidable edifice, which symbolises UNITY!


Abdullahi D Mohammed writes from Ahmadu Bello University-Zaria.


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Djokovic sets new record consecutively, remains world No. 1

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Novak Djokovic set a new landmark of 311 weeks as world number one on Monday, one week longer than Roger Federer whose tally of a record 20 Grand Slam titles is now firmly in the Serb’s sights.

“Big day today,” the tennis superstar wrote on Twitter.

Djokovic, 33, won his 18th major at the Australian Open in February.

With Federer turning 40 in August, the Serb has time on his side. He is a year younger than Rafael Nadal who also has 20 majors.

“It really excites me to walk the path of legends and giants of this sport,” said Djokovic, in a statement released by the ATP whose rankings have been running since August 23, 1973.

“To know that I earned my place among them by following my childhood dream is a beautiful confirmation that when you do things out of love and passion, everything is possible.”

Djokovic reclaimed the top ranking from Nadal in February 2020 and finished as year-end number one for the sixth time, tying the record set by Pete Sampras.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Novak’s many achievements in tennis are nothing short of extraordinary. Among them this record may stand as his single most impressive.

“Reaching No. 1 is something many players dream of and very few ever accomplish, and to have held the top spot for longer than anyone is testament to the levels of sustained excellence that Novak has redefined in our sport.”

Federer, who returns to action in Doha this week after more than a year out of action to recover from two knee operations, slipped out of the top five on Monday to sixth. His place was taken by Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Djokovic made his top 100 debut in July 2005, just weeks after Nadal had won his first Roland Garros.

He was top 50 in June 2006, top 20 for the first time in October 2006 and top 10 by March 2007.

He first became world number one at the age of 24 on July 4, 2011, the day after winning Wimbledon for the first time, beating Nadal in the final.

Only a six-month injury absence in 2017 saw his ranking plunge, all the way to 22 the following summer.

It was just a blip — Djokovic was back at number one again by November and with the exception of November 2019 until January last year, when Nadal reclaimed pole position, he has been rock solid.

Few would bet against Djokovic, who in 2016 was the first man to break the $100 million prize money barrier, ending his career with more Slams than Federer and Nadal.

In head-to-heads, he leads Federer 27-23 and has won all six of their last meetings at the majors, including 2019’s epic Wimbledon final where he saved two match points.

Djokovic’s record was top news in his native Serbia on Monday, with headlines like “No one was ever like Nole” in daily newspaper Vecernje novosti.

Videos of the most important moments of his career will be projected onto Belgrade town hall on Monday evening, and the capital’s authorities called on fans to gather and honour Djokovic despite the pandemic measures.

ATP rankings as of March 8:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 12,030 points

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,850

3. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 9,735

4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 9,125

5. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6,660 (+1)

6. Roger Federer (SUI) 6,630 (-1)

7. Alexander Zverev (GER) 5,615

8. Andrey Rublev (RUS) 5,019

9. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 3,640

10. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 3,480

11. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 2,910

12. Gael Monfils (FRA) 2,860

13. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,770

14. David Goffin (BEL) 2,760

15. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,630

16. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2,585

17. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 2,575

18. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,535

19. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 2,516

20. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 2,365

(AFP)


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Breaking: Jorginho scores as Chelsea overcome Everton, tightens Premier League top 4 spot

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Chelsea consolidated fourth spot in the Premier League as Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge continued with a 2-0 victory over Everton.

In a crucial contest in the race for Champions League qualification, Kai Havertz made decisive contributions in either half as Chelsea proved a cut above their resurgent top-four rivals.

Havertz had a hand in Chelsea’s opener when his 31st-minute strike deflected in off Everton defender Ben Godfrey, and the German won the second-half penalty off Jordan Pickford which handed Jorginho the opportunity to double the hosts’ lead from the spot.

Tuchel’s eighth victory as Chelsea manager extends his unbeaten start to 11 games and sees the Blues open up a four-point lead over fifth-placed Everton, who saw their three-game winning run end with a whimper in the capital.


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NDLEA drives harder, nabs drug dealer, recovers cocaine inside Monarch’s Palace

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has a notorious suspected drug trafficker, Hassan Taiwo, with three parcels of cocaine concealed in a false bottom created in his suitcase.

Mr Femi Babafemi, who is the Director of Media and Advocacy at the agency, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He noted that the suspect was arrested by operatives of the agency at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA).

According to the statement, preliminary investigations reveal that Hassan who was intercepted at the E-Arrival hall of the MMIA at the weekend, upon arrival onboard Ethiopian airlines at 1:30pm Friday, has been plying the illicit trade through the middle east routes for some time.

“The suspect came into Nigeria through Addis-Ababa but he actually travelled to Addis-Ababa from Abuja,” the Commander of MMIA NDLEA Command, Ahmadu Garba, was quoted as saying in a statement.

He added, “Upon a thorough search, we discovered another ticket on him while our findings also show that he has been plying his criminal trade through some Middle East countries.”

Elsewhere, operatives of the Anambra State Command of the agency recovered 58.5 grammes of cocaine and 13.9 grammes of heroine concealed in the palace of a prominent traditional ruler in the state.

The NDLEA commander in the state, Muhammadu Idris, noted that investigations were ongoing to unravel how the illicit drugs were hidden in the palace.

He added that the palace security guards were helping the agency to trace the dealer behind the consignment.


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