As Buhari meets Trump

[Speech delivered at White House today, April 30, 2018].

Your Excellency, President of the Confederate States of America. [Pause]. Sorry, I have just been reminded that you are the President of the United States of America. I am sorry for that mistake. It was because during my secondary school days we used to read in our History textbooks about the Confederate States of America. I remember now; they were just like Biafra in my country, which is gone with the wind.

Sorry again, Mr. President. I am very glad to be here with you in the White House, which is very elegant and well kept. I envy you Mr. President because in my own country when I put some money in the budget in order to change the utensils in the State House kitchen, the senators leaked it to one newspaper called Daily Trust and it went to town with it, saying we are profligate. I wonder how much money you spend to maintain the White House in this prim shape.

You are very lucky Mr. President, even though I know you have serious problems with your newspapers and television stations here in the United States. That is why you are complaining about the fake news that they dish out. In Nigeria too, our newspapers and social media are busy dishing out fake news. Just because I said some of our youths did not go to school but they want free houses, the media said I said our youths are lazy.

As I left home yesterday, the newspapers were shouting that I did not stop the killings in one of my states called Benue. But Mr President, even you with all the military might you have got, in addition to the FBI, CIA, National Guard and all the city police forces, have you stopped school shootings in America? Only recently there was a shooting in Florida, which even made my friend to cancel a holiday trip he was planning to Disney World. There in my country, there is no discipline. Even a former Army Chief said that the military is providing cover for bandits to attack civilians. Here in America, have you ever had a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said the US Army provided cover for perpetrators of school shooting? My only advise to you Mr. President is that you should change your constitution and take away the right of every Tom, Dick and Harry to own a gun, including an assault rifle. You know Mr President that I was a military man for 24 years and I know what an assault rifle can do. I am very surprised that you allow your school children to handle them. In my country you cannot even approach a school with a club.

I really sympathise with you Mr. President because opponents will not even allow us to do the job we are elected to do. Like this persecution that they are doing to you with this allegation that there was collusion between your campaign team and Russia. Me too when I won my election in 2015, my opponent said it was the Western powers that colluded with me. His party also said that I colluded with our neighbour, Niger Republic. They said half of the three million votes I got in Kano State were sent from Niger Republic. The only difference between me and you is that they could not appoint a Special Counsel because my Attorney General refused to recuse himself. He is fully in charge, unlike your own Attorney General that recused himself.

That is why, Mr. President, I do not blame you the way you are sacking disloyal officials left, right and centre. The other day I saw CNN counting, that you have sacked many top officials and that you are about to sack many more, including your Chief of Staff. What I have found out is that there is no way to please the media. Here in America they are criticising you for sacking top officials while in Nigeria the media there is campaigning that I should sack my top officials. Every day when I open the newspaper, they will say sack this one, sack that one. Even our senators joined them last week and said I should sack my Service Chiefs. It is all mischief. The only person I had sympathy for was your former Secretary of State, Tillerson, because you sacked him just when I was having lunch with him. Please Mr. President, next time allow someone to return home before you sack him.

Everywhere Mr President, we are surrounded by disloyal party leaders and legislative leaders. Just before I came here I read in the news that the Speaker of your Congress said he will not stand for re-election in November, because he does not want to support your good policies. Just before I left home the senators even introduced a motion to impeach me. Their grouse is that I paid half a billion dollars to your country for the Super Tucano aircraft that we have been begging you for many years to sell to us, so that we can use them to eliminate Boko Haram. They said I did not get them to appropriate the money. Mr. President, were you not the one that gave me a very short deadline to pay, otherwise you will cancel the deal? I wish my Senate President will copy the example of your House Speaker and announce that he will not seek re-election next year. I don’t even mind if he resigns now and goes home.

The newspapers even drag our wives into their fake news. I read in American newspapers that you don’t hold the hand of Her Excellency Madam Melania when you are walking on the White House lawn to enter your helicopter, Marine One. Take heart, Mr President. Journalists are the same everywhere. In my country too, one radio reporter sneaked into the State House and interviewed my wife. He splashed stories, that she said she will not support my re-election bid. I was in Germany at that time and when I made the harmless remark that my wife belongs to the kitchen, the social media went to town with it, saying I made a gaffe. Just like when you said Mr. President that there are good and bad people on both sides during a white supremacist rally in Atlanta, and the media was attacking you left and right.

Yet another thing I have in common with you Mr. President is your determination to build a wall in order to stop Mexicans from entering your country illegally. In Nigeria the newspapers are there lambasting you, saying even your grandfather was an immigrant but please don’t mind them, Mr. President. They are not speaking the minds of the Nigerian people. As a matter of fact, I am also thinking of building a wall on my border with Benin Republic in order to stop the smuggling of Tokunbo vehicles. The Comptroller General of my Customs Service, who is a very tough guy, came to me and said “Mr President, the best thing to do is to build a wall on our border with Benin Republic.”  I will also make Benin Republic to pay for the wall, just like you are making Mexico to pay for your wall.

When I was coming here, one Nigerian newspaper cartoonist even said they should put gags on my mouth and your own so that we don’t make gaffes but Mr. President, you and I believe in telling the truth no matter whose ox is gored. Thank you very much, Mr President and I invite you to visit Nigeria soon.