The Price of Political Incompetence

The federal government is still articulating a coherent response, much reliant on the nation’s billionaires for a bailout.

Nigeria's COVID-19 positive cases up to 7,839 / Photo credit: qz.com
Nigeria's COVID-19 positive cases up to 7,839 / Photo credit: qz.com

At this moment, America is paying the price of incompetence.

The US President, Donald Trump, shifts his position everyday once the truth beams a light on his previous day’s ridiculous statements.

His truth lasts only for a day, because the reality continually chases him. He has nowhere to hide or run from Covid-19, the worst pandemic of this generation.

But America freely elected incompetence.

Trump was chosen to close America against the rest of the world, and provide a safety net for his ardent supporters against immigrants and non-Caucasians.

His supporters thought he had the seriousness to restore their glory days, when skin color defined privilege, before Martin Luther King came to blow it all away.

Trump promised a return to Egypt and Trump got the job.

The credentials of the “king of bankruptcy” never mattered to his supporters. He relished defaulting on bank loans and other forms of debt, and has failed to release his tax returns for more than five years.

His companies have been fined, even under his presidency, for all kinds of violations.

Trump’s personal life is not one for a book on morality.

Although he has the backing of the Evangelical movement, the so-called Christian right, none could defend the amoral life of their president, who has since been exposed by prostitutes and other women he allegedly sexually abused.

It is hardly strange that the supporters of the American president do not care to this day about his suitability for the job.

The US President won, and has survived, on the support and absolute loyalty of those who see him as their messiah; as well as the complex and anachronistic American electoral college system. Hillary Clinton, his opponent, won 2.1 per cent more of the popular vote than Donald Trump in 2016.

In the three years that he has been president, Trump has offended people at home and abroad beyond reason.

America has never had a president quite like this.

He relishes attacking just about anyone who opposes him while recklessly exposing the American national interest on the slab of personal gain.

It is no wonder he has been impeached, although he could not be removed because of the unswaying support of the Republican-controlled Senate, whose majority is guaranteed in the same way that Trump became president – a bizarre electoral system that gives representation equally regardless of population.

Trump ruled with nauseating pride and offending sensibility, using short texts on Twitter to attack his opponents relentlessly, spending more hours tweeting than working.

Though obviously incompetent and limited naturally by a lack of preparation and self-education, he would make up for his deficiencies through the absolute support of his devoted troops and the privileged who benefited under his tax laws.

In truth, America elected an inept candidate to the highest office of the land, not expecting that a history-writing infectious disease such as Covid-19 would come.

At the time of America’s greatest challenge in a century, she has found herself in the hands of an incapable leader.

Oh well! The chicken has come home to roost. A political volcano that started with the Republican Party’s presentation of George W. Bush – who took America through 9/11 incompetently – has turned into a tsunami under Trump.

At a time of crisis, Mr. Trump has quickly unraveled.

And as a result of his lack of understanding of the enormity of a pandemic, thousands of Americans are dying. What he called the “Chinese virus” has now destroyed more Americans than any other nationals.

Being incompetent, the warning by the previous Obama administration about an impending pandemic as was ignored.

Meetings held early in 2016 to warn his administration were taken just like a pizza party.

Instead, Trump deflated the Federal bureaucracy, claiming America did not need as many federal civil servants.

Seeing the lack of seriousness of his administration, career civil servants left in droves for the private sector.

When Coronavirus made a landfall in Wuhan, China in late 2019, a clueless Trump made reckless statements, rather than prepare for war.

On January 30, in the early days of the public health crisis, history will have recorded that President Trump said in Michigan that: “We have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five.

And those people are all recuperating successfully.”

Such unguarded statements have continued.

It has become so bad that even on television, administration health officials contradict Trump at his daily press conferences.

He shifts his position when truth overtakes his assertion. He has become a public spectacle, a shame for the most powerful nation on earth. A pain to his people and an untrusted leader.

That is the price that any nation will pay for electing incompetent politicians to power.

The price for America is a massive $6 trillion dollars in spending bill, as unemployment tops three million persons within one week.

The price includes school closures, students not graduating, sickness, fear, despair, hopelessness and the death of thousands.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has warned we have not event started yet.

Apart from New York, other major cities such as Chicago, New Orleans and Detroit are gearing for the worst, as the US Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, warns that next week would be one of reckoning.

Americans, whether we admit or not, know Donald Trump was never the right guy for the job. He got there for a reason not based on reason and common sense. And a price must be paid for every bad decision.

While nations like Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea and Japan are rising to the challenge because of competent political leadership, America falters. Electing good leaders is a firewall against disaster.

This is a great lesson for corrupt developing nations such as Nigeria, a lesson that may be too late as well. Various signs of incompetence are showing in the management of the pandemic.

Regardless of administration tales, testing for coronavirus has not been going well. As the capacity for testing rises, we will soon find that the infection rate is far more than reported.

The nation should be on a lockdown right now, but it is not. Civil servants are being told to stay at home but all others are roaming.

With a dense population, Nigeria is the worst-case scenario. In a CNN interview on March 26, billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates, said his greatest fears are for Nigeria and India, densely-populated nations with a lack of capacity to deal with an infectious disease of this magnitude.

At least in India, a somewhat serious lockdown has been effective for more than a week. Public transportation has been shut down and people are required to stay at home.

In India, citizens have regular electricity and high-speed Internet. Productivity will not suffer an extreme loss.

And India does not rely on a single product for its national income, as Nigeria relies on petroleum.

So far, most Covid-19 tests are being administered on the rich, the connected and the powerful in Nigeria. Ordinary people cannot get testing done.

But the safety of the influential will not save Nigeria from disaster.

The fake sense of safety that Nigerians have may soon be exposed.

A state governor declared a work-from-home order when most people really lack the resources to do that.

Another state governor declared a one-day lockdown as if one day will have any effect on a pandemic as consuming as coronavirus.

The federal government is still articulating a coherent response, much reliant on the nation’s billionaires for a bailout.

Nigeria may also pay a price for incompetence.

Written by Tunde Chris Odediran

Tunde Chris Odediran studied and practiced journalism in Nigeria. He is now a Technical Communications and Information Technology professional in the United States.

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