‘I am scared of Trump’s Presidency, not for myself, but for other Nigerians and minorities’
Mr Felix Ayanruoh is the Managing Partner and Global Head Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance Group of a US and Abuja- based Law Firm – Ruskat Partners with its headquarters in New York City. He has lived in the US for 20 years. He attended post-graduate law school and has over 16 years experiences as a US-licensed attorney. He is also a recipient of a Special United States Congressional Recognition Award. In an online interview with SAMSON EZEA, he speaks on his concerns over Donald Trump’s presidency and others
How do you feel about Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election?
I am hard-pressed to come out with the silver lining of Trump’s victory. Let’s be clear: The election of Trump as president is an epic mistake, “ a whitelash” as stated by Van Jones, a black and intelligent CNN political commentator. In the long run, its consequences may well be baneful, if only because of the fear for the future of my two young sons and other minorities in the US. First of all, remember that the election determines who controls the Supreme Court, formulates racial policies, education and housing among other important issues. Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about four bad years. The election’s fallout will last for decades, maybe generations.
What do you think was responsible for Trump’s victory?
Let it be known that Trump is a misogynistic, racist and bigot. He won because he used prejudices in the US to his advantage. The angry white men who do not want the 240-year-old male-dominated governance to come to an end, used all they had to make Trump President. The FBI director (James Comey) will readily come to mind. Furthermore, some white folks who see the human race not by the content of their character, but the colour of their skin, were hell-bent in stopping a woman who will protect minority rights from getting to the White House. Finally, some who think that Trump, an unbeliever, will fight God’s battle, came out in millions to vote for him.
Suffice it to state that in a proper democratic setting where majority rules, Hilary Clinton who had the highest number of votes cast would have been declared President-elect.
Considering his campaign statements about Nigeria, Nigerian immigrants, and others, are you scared of what Trump’s government would be?
Trump during the campaigns tagged Nigeria as a corrupt nation and threatened to evacuate Nigerians from the country once he becomes President. He went on to state: “Nigerians and Mexicans have taken all the jobs meant for honest hard working Americans.” Yes I am scared, not for myself, but for other Nigerians and minorities. As an attorney with dual citizenship, who experienced racial discrimination even in Obama’s Presidency – a president who fought for racial equality, not to talk of a man, who is racist and denigrated Nigerians and other minorities. Why won’t I as a Nigerian not be scared of a man who said: “We need to get the Africans out. Not the blacks, the Africans especially the Nigerians. They’re everywhere. “We can’t have that! If I become president, we’ll send them all home. We’ll build a wall at the Atlantic Shore…“ He also said: “I went for a rally in Alaska and met just one African in the entire state. Where was he from? Nigeria! He is in Alaska taking our jobs. They are in Houston taking our jobs. He doesn’t care if the Nigerian is a citizen or a legal resident, all he cares about is that he is Nigerian and corrupt.”
Are you considering returning home anytime soon because of this development?
I spoke to my 11-year-old son after the election, his response was, ‘Daddy could you take me to Nigeria to live during Trump’s reign?’ My response was, son you will be fine, we will use the laws of the country to protect any infringement on our rights. No, I will not because Trump will be or is president.
Don’t you think that US system will check Trump’s promised policies against the blacks, immigrants?
The US system on its own cannot check the promised policies of Trump. We all have to join hands together to make rule of law and equality a mainstay in his administration. A Trump’s presidency is going to be a civil rights era. We all have to put on the armour of humanity and justice to fight any perceived discrimination.
How do you think his policies, if implemented to the letter, will affect Nigerians and other blacks in the US?
Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon, a racist and bigot as Chief Whitehouse Strategist, is a slap to core American values. This goes to show President Trump intends to rule from the far right. If Trump’s racial policies are implemented it will affects education policies – affirmative action in college admissions will be a thing of the past. This will affect the kind of schools our children will attend. The way we talk (accent) and colour of our skin will become a major barrier in employment opportunities.
Also, Trump’s rumoured Housing Secretary Rob Astorino is best known for keeping Westchester County segregated. For a certain type of conservative, one of the great outrages of the Obama era was an obscure 2015 rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” This was the Obama administration’s attempt to battle neighborhood segregation, the inequities of which are the invisible foundation of American crises like the racial wealth gap and disparity in public education.
Rob Astorino my county executive made his career fighting against integration in Westchester and would almost certainly undo HUD’s enhanced scrutiny of racial discrimination in housing. When the US Department of Housing and Urban Development put pressure on Westchester last year to build more affordable housing and not just in Westchester’s poorest corners, Astorino said the agency was engaging in “social engineering.”
Trump’s promised policies if implemented will have a huge negative impact on our lives.
Who would you have preferred to win the election and why?
I would have preferred a candidate of hope, tolerance, all-inclusiveness and bright future for our children and better environment to have won the election. She is Hillary Clinton.