Whenever the Pope drops dead and this is rare, the media takes it up from there with this gossip lead: “Who are the papabiles?” To put it simply, “Who are the likeliest cardinals to become pope? This is not minding the fact that any one of all the more than one hundred cardinals that are behind the sealed doors of the Sistine Chapel for the conclave can become pope. To say the least, the media have seduced us into believing that some cardinals are more papabiles than others, and this is possibly true. Why, because the man who becomes pope equally becomes the most influential human being on the planet; a man whose word is God’s law – for Catholics. Of course, no one expects that a “misfit” occupies such an exalted and extremely dignified office.
In the same vein, whenever the tenure of the sitting POTUS (code name for President of the United States) would run out in about a year’s time, the heat for his replacement gets turned on. As it were, many Democrats and Republicans start declaring their interest for the White House. Then follows the campaigns, party primaries, etc. So far, the race has been thick, with especially Trump and Clinton looking promising to be fielded for the Republican and Democrat parties respectively in the forthcoming presidential polls.
November 8 will be poll day, and Americans will decide who succeeds Barack Obama whose second term in the White House will run out in January 2017. But Obama thinks that Donald Trump is not the man for the job. His reason: POTUS is serious business. Though Obama’s opinion may not be strong enough to swerve the American public away from Trump, but being POTUS for 8 years now makes his opinion count.
Now, I like to make this point: the greatness of America as a country is a function of the great POTUS tradition that has been passed down from George Washington through the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy to George Walker Bush and Barack Obama. To say the least, every American president is a colossus of some sort; an eagle to say it lightly. Mind you, it is not in being POTUS that they go colossal; their being colossal got them to become POTUS. In essence, Obama’s disapproval of Trump was a coded way of saying that Trump is not POTUS material.
Who is POTUS material? He is not necessary affluent. He is not particular handsome; Lincoln wasn’t one bit. And it is very important that I point out that some POTUS couldn’t deliver. Herbert Hoover, for instance, performed far below average in the wakes of the Great Depression; he assumed that the Depression was part of doing business and expected it would resolve itself in a year or two. He was wrong. However, it took the intervention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal to tidy things up. And so, find POTUS material in George Washington, who saw to the success of the American Revolution; find it in Abraham Lincoln, who ensured that the Union remained intact; find it in Franklin Roosevelt who got the Empire of Japan to its knees when he sent them a package that would go on to remain historical forever – atomic bomb. And Obama suggests that you won’t find it in a man who would have Mexico sponsor the raising of a wall on the US-Mexican border – Trump.
This piece is more about Nigeria than it is about America. Fellow Nigerians, could we start up our own version of POTUS please? Maybe we get to call ours POTFRON – President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And it’s not just going to be about the name, but about the cult of excellence that it would showcase.