Former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and President Donald Trump of the United States are game-changers, they changed what the world used to think about democracy in the first and third world nations. Their actions as democratic leaders when compared, I dare to say Goodluck is a better democrat than Trump.
The United States has been the nation Africans and Nigerians look up to as models of democracy. American leaders have always demonstrated democratic ethos, especially when it comes to electioneering. Africa and its leaders are not anywhere close, or so it used to be until Goodluck Jonathan. In 2015 Goodluck stunned the world by doing the unexpected, he conceded defeat as an incumbent President, in Africa. It was unprecedented.
The habit of not conceding defeats in elections and rejecting votes as rigged is associated with Africa and its leaders, or other third world nations. The West and the United States have continued to stand out until the emergence of Donald Trump. After Donald Trump lost out in the November 2020 elections to Joe Biden, his behavior has been unprecedented and not-Presidential, he has refused to concede defeat and continues to allege that the election was rigged against him.
Donald Trump’s actions after defeat have done more harm to U.S. democracy than good: like the stereotypical African leader the West love to ridicule, Trump has continuously dismissed the election as a fraud: alleging rigging and theft. After States’ and Federal Supreme Courts threw out his several election petitions he accused them of bias and corruption. He has done everything all the way to truncate Joe Biden’s victory and have failed, this increases his bitterness and accusations.
This is the U.S.A with strong institutions to check the President’s excesses, imagine if Trump was a third-world leader! Today is to be the day the United States Congress would certify or not Biden’s victory, it is frustrated Trump’s last attempt to stop Biden. Through inciting tweets and speeches, he fired up his supporters who yesterday invaded the Capitol Hill building, the seat of the United States Congress; it is an action pundits consider as tantamount to a coup d’etat by Trump in a final bid to orchestrate his stay in office.
But in 2015, an African President, Goodluck Jonathan, demonstrated so much democratic maturity and conceded defeat. As an incumbent President, Goodluck had all the powers and with weaker institutions of check and balance, he could have insisted to remain in power but he refused and chose the noble path by respecting the democracy he has worked hard to improve. That singular act by Goodluck Jonathan qualified him to rub shoulders with the titans of world democracy. Trump can never be one of them.
While it is not wrong not to concede defeat or allege election irregularities, it is wrong to do it with an intent to destroy trust in democratic institutions that organized the election, that verifies the election, that endorses and approve the election. Trump has attacked the Electoral Commission that organized the election, the Courts that ascertain the merits of petitions, the Electoral College that affirms it, and the Congress that would approve it. He is a democratic nightmare, an embarrassment to the west and a mistake Americans will not wish to ever repeat. In talking about democratic leaders, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria is far better than Donald Trump.