Donald Trump Can an anti-establishment candidate become Nigeria's President?

Anti-establishment sentiments are sweeping through the world. Is Nigeria ready for that kind of revolution?

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US President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 play

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016

(AFP)
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The election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, underscores the wave of anti-establishment sentiments sweeping through the rest of the civilised world.

The forces that propelled Trump to the Presidency were evident in the U.K in June when 52 percent of the population voted to exit the European Union.

No one saw the Brexiteers coming until the U.K was left standing alone.

Those same forces catapulted UK Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage, into the poster child for a radical anti-establishment unit.

ALSO READ: Why Christians voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton

After Trump’s shock win in the U.S presidential contest, pollsters and pundits in France served notice that a Marine Le Pen Presidency in 2017 is now more feasible than first thought.

Marine Le Pen play

Marine Le Pen

(Reuters)

 

Far right leader, Le Pen, is at the point where Trump was, before the party primaries commenced in the U.S.

The establishment in France has laughed off her candidacy, but if recent history is anything to go by, they should begin to take her seriously.

According to Reuters: On Wednesday morning, many French politicians warned the possibility of a president Marine Le Pen should no longer be dismissed as the stuff of political fiction.

"Reason no longer prevails since Brexit. Mrs Le Pen can win in France," former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said.

Socialist party chief Jean-Christophe Cambadelis tweeted: "The left has been warned! If we continue with irresponsible squabbling, we'll get Marine Le Pen."

Le Pen was quick to congratulate Trump on Wednesday, saying his win was part of a much wider revolt by voters against political elites worldwide.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has congratulated Donald Trump on his US presidential election victory play Theresa May (Pool/AFP/File)

 

Anti-establishment sentiments are also taking a foothold in Germany and much of Europe.

This, it appears, is the era of the demagogue and the populist. They often start out with unpopular ideologies, before becoming the toast of disenchanted voters.

Will those forces of change, voter revolt and anti-establishment, ever berth in Nigeria with the 2019 presidential election drawing ever so close?

Nigeria is a peculiar country, though. Establishment forces in Africa’s most populous country have gone nowhere since the country gained Independence in 1960. They’ve swapped Military fatigues for the Babariga (a traditional Nigerian outfit); and have staged returns to the Palace as “converted democrats.”

President Buhari with Governor of Edo State Adams Oshiomole as he Commissions Samuel Ogbemudia College as part of his visit to Edo State for the Commissioning of Infrastructural Projects in Benin City. play Buhari, Oshiomhole (Vanguard)

 

It’s been a recycled mess for Nigerians.

Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari transformed from military dictators to democratically elected Presidents.

Between retired Generals and an ageing political class, Nigeria has remained mired in poverty and underdevelopment since it emerged from under the shadows of the colonial masters.

However, it will be foolhardy to dismiss the Trump effect in Nigeria so soon. In 2015, Buhari swept to the Presidency on the crest wave of ‘change’. It was his fourth time of asking.

The PDP which had governed Nigeria since the country’s return to democracy in 1999, never saw it coming. At the height of its power drunken state, PDP leaders took turns to boast that their party will govern Nigeria for 60 years.

They were booted out after 16 years, by angry voters.

Goodluck Jonathan presided over Nigeria between 2010 and 2015 but was ousted by Muhammadu Buhari play Goodluck Jonathan (AFP/File)

 

The millennials are becoming a powerful voting bloc in Nigeria—more than 50 percent of the country’s population is aged 35 years and under.

But voter apathy is still prevalent among this upwardly mobile generation and the emerging middle class; owing to distrust of government and the establishment.

In rural Nigeria, the ‘stomach infrastructure’ phenomenon is still a thing and voters remain largely unenlightened.

Will Nigerians finally revolt and elect an outsider in 2019 like the U.S and much of the West is doing?

Don’t bet on that happening just yet.

Anti-EU champion Farage quits after Brexit vote play Nigel Farage of UKIP (Reuters)

 

However, you can bet on the fact that shaking up and displacing the old order has become the new global currency. It’s a phenomenon that won’t be going anywhere soon.

The most despised and unfancied political candidates will be enjoying their rise to the top in a dynamic and unpredictable political climate; by preying on people's fears and prejudices.

Just look at Trump. 

He was the outsider candidate voters eventually entrusted with the responsibility of leading the most powerful country in the world.

play Trump and the Clintons back in the day (AFP)

 

Hillary Clinton's long years in public service was her biggest sin.

A year ago, we were all laughing at the possibility of a Trump Presidency. He was the joker in the pack, we sneered, until he became the only man standing from the GOP primary.

The media wrote him off and despised him.

The joke is now on us.

Dear Nigerians, do you copy?

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