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Friday, 1 September 2017


Prof Wole Soyinka

By Bashorun J.K. Randle

The barman at the New Americana Hotel, Washington D.C. was plying the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension with exotic cocktails and succulent canapes in mock sympathy following the BREAKING NEWS:

‘’KPMG SLAPPED WITH $6.2 MILLION FINE OVER OIL AUDIT ERRORS’’ -Bloomberg, August 15, 2017 (Hannah Murphy)
‘’Miller Energy Resources had overvalued certain assets by more than 100 times.’’ 

What followed was even more shocking. There it was on the front page of ‘’Wall Street Journal’’;‘’New York Times’’; ‘’Financial Times’’; ‘’Sunday Times’’; ‘’The observer’’; ‘’The Guardian’’; ‘’Washington Post’’ e.t.c. 

‘’KPMG has been slapped with a fine of more than $6.2m by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after it signed off the audit of an oil and gas company that had overvalued certain assets by more than 100 times.

The SEC said on Tuesday that shortcomings in KPMG’s audit of Miller Energy Resources, a Tennessee-based oil and gas company, meant investors were “misinformed about the energy company’s value”.

KPMG was hired as an external auditor for Miller Energy in 2011 and gave a positive “unqualified” report — despite the fact the company had “grossly overstated” how much some of its oil and gas assets were worth, the SEC said.

The announcement follows an SEC investigation of Miller Energy that found the company had valued at $480m its Alaskan oil wells purchased for less than $5m. The estimate, which the SEC deemed fraudulent, helped transform a penny stock into a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The SEC last year settled accounting fraud charges with the chief executive of Miller Energy Resources’ Alaskan subsidiary, the company’s chief financial officer and its external accountant.

The KPMG case is part of an international push to improve the quality of external audits. The “big four” accountancy firms — KPMG, EY, PwC and Deloitte — have all been hit by accounting scandals in the past 12 months.

According to the SEC order, KPMG did not fully assess the risks of taking on Miller Energy as a client and did not adequately staff the audit.

Their audit failed to take into account the overvaluation of the Alaskan wells and to detect that certain fixed assets were counted twice in the company’s valuation, it said.

“Auditing firms must fully comprehend the industries of their clients,” said Walter E Jospin, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office. “KPMG retained a new client and failed to grasp how it valued oil and gas properties, resulting in investors being misinformed that properties purchased for less than $5m were worth a half-billion dollars.”
KPMG did not admit or deny the findings but agreed to be censured and pay a $1m penalty as well as $4.7m in all being the audit fees it had received from Miller Energy plus interest costs. The auditor also agreed to improve its audit quality control, according to the SEC.

“This matter is related to audit work performed in 2011,” KPMG said, adding that the firm was “committed to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and quality, and we have fully co-operated with our regulators to reach a resolution”.

John Riordan, the KPMG partner who was in charge of auditing Miller Energy, also agreed to settle charges against him, the SEC said’’.
However, consolation was on the way, courtesy of divine intervention.

We remain eternally grateful for the following message from Awuneba Ajumogobia:

‘’Good day Sir,
I came across this piece in which your Father was mentioned... thought I should share it with you.’’
Kind regards,
Awuneba Ajumogobia

‘’In 1948, Mr. Ivor Cummings, a distinguished African-Caribbean national and a top official of the Colonial Office in London was scheduled to pay an official visit to Nigeria.  Naturally, his first port of call was Lagos, then our capital. Accommodation was reserved for him at the Bristol Hotel, Martin Street, Lagos, then owned and managed by expatriates.

Apparently, the hotel authorities thought, from the name Cummings, that he was a white Anglo-Saxon. But they were shocked when he presented himself at the reception to find that he was black. He was refused a room at the hotel on that ground.

One witness to the incident was a Warri-based Sierra Leonean legal luminary called T. E. Norman-Williams. He deeply resented the action of the hotel management but was helpless in the circumstances.

It was a hot and humid afternoon and Norman-Williams left for the Grand Hotel (now defunct), on Broad Street by Odunlami Street, Lagos, to rendezvous with friends for an afternoon drink. There, he met Frank Olugbake, the trade unionist, and others and narrated to them the Bristol Hotel incident.

They later trooped to the Island Club where they met me and my friends, also having a drink and cooling off in the gentle breeze from the lagoon. The Onikan Stadium was not walled round then. Norman-Williams told us what had happened, and we were dumb-founded, angry, outraged, furious and bitter.

One of my friends at the Island Club was Oladipo Odunsi, a distinguished and enterprising Lagos lawyer. He stood up and exclaimed, “Our Nigeria of 1948, we cannot have this, let’s go and die.” I jumped up and shouted: “Die? No! Let’s go and teach them a harsh lesson.”

The atmosphere of the club was now charged, and under Odunsi’s leadership, the late Milton Macaulay, the late Akiniran Olunloyo, Prince Adeleke Adedoyin, the late Garnet Williams and others and I marched through the Onikan Stadium, to the Marina.

Our elder friends, the late JK Randle and the late Bolaji Finnih, wanted to join us but we asked them to go and get hold of two lawyers, the late Oladipo Moore and the late Alaba Akerele, and our other colleagues to go to Tinubu Police Station (now defunct) on Customs Street, which is now part of the land on which the Central Bank of Nigeria headquarters is located (then), to wait for us because we were sure that we would be arrested and brought there if we carried out our plan “to die or teach them a lesson.”

At the Onikan Stadium point on Marina, we assembled all sorts of people known compendiously as Boma Boys, who collected their clubs and sticks and horse whips (koboko) and followed us without hesitation, although they did not know our plan or where we were headed to.

We then launched an assault on Bristol Hotel. By the time we finished, the reception, bar and restaurant were sacked and the white men in the hotel premises and its vicinity had a sorry tale to tell. The whole place was wrecked and left in a shambles.

Meanwhile, some police officers arrived on the scene but, surprisingly, did not arrest any of us. The job completed, we trooped back to the Island Club, to a rousing reception and warm congratulatory embrace from members.

But the then chairman of the club, late Mr. Omololu, was deeply concerned about our action, realizing that the then British Governor of Nigeria, Sir Arthur Richards, was himself the grand patron of the club. Mr. Omololu was sure that sooner or later we would be rounded up. We had only a pyrrhic victory and the inaction on the part of the colonial government was no more than the calm before the storm. However, we waited all day but there were no arrests.

Meanwhile, Mr. Omololu contacted our patron, the late Sir Adeyemo Alakija, to intervene with the authorities to preempt our arrest. Subsequently, Sir Adeyemo made an appointment to meet with Sir Arthur in his capacity as grand patron of our club and it was suggested that we who led and participated in the sacking of Bristol Hotel should accompany him. We reluctantly agreed.

A day or so before we were to meet with Sir Arthur, the Governor made a statement to the nation in which he referred publicly for the first time to the Bristol Hotel incident. His Excellency declared that some seventy years previously, there might have been justification for whites and blacks to live apart, for the reason, if none other, that there were some diseases to which whites were immune but which killed blacks, and vice versa.

But for well over seventy years there had existed a medical department in Nigeria maintained at public expenses to find a solution to the problem and if no solution was found, then there was left only one of two choices, that is either to continue to live apart and abolish the medical department or to live together and continue to maintain the department.

Sir Arthur then declared: “I have chosen the latter. With effect from today, there will be no more European hospital, club or reservation in Nigeria.”

Thus, racial discrimination or apartheid was abolished in Nigeria. The European hospital in Lagos (now Military Hospital) and European Club at Ikoyi were renamed Creek Hospital and Ikoyi Club respectively. The European hospital at Warri serving the then Central Provinces of Ondo, Benin and Warri, was changed to Maple Annex. The European hospital at Ibadan was changed to Jericho Nursing Home. Areas otherwise known as European Reservation were renamed Government Reserve Area (GRA). And so on throughout the country. There was general jubilation throughout the country.

Led by Sir Adeyemo and Mr. Omololu, we later went to meet with Sir Arthur at Government House, Marina. Naturally, we expected a hostile reception, but we were widely mistaken. Sir Arthur, undoubtedly tempered by age and maturity and experience, welcomed us warmly, smiled broadly and, turning to Sir Adeyemo, said jokingly something in words like these:

“Sir Adeyemo, I did not make my statement because of your young rascals, who took the law into their hands, but deliberately to pre-empt an imminent danger. This is the first time that violence has been introduced into the public life of Nigeria, and once it started, it may never recede. I have seen it happen in many countries where I served, in India, Burma and the Caribbean. My statement, therefore, was to prevent violence spreading.”

Apparently, Sir Adeyemo expected us to apologise to Sir Arthur but we never did. The Governor then turned to Sir Adeyemo and asked: “Will you and your friends like to have a drink with me?” Sir Adeyemo thanked the Governor for the invitation but expressed regret that we had no time and had to go.

On our way back to the Island Club, travelling in two cars, all of us somehow began to develop a guilty conscience about what we did at the Bristol Hotel. This was because Sir Arthur, who had the security agencies and the full force of British imperial might behind him, chose to completely disarm us with his charm and unprecedented diplomacy.

At the club, Odunsi was the first to speak. He addressed me and asked me how we could be sure that, in fact, all the white men we attacked at Bristol Hotel supported racial discrimination and the treatment meted to Ivor Cummings? Was it not possible that many of our victims would have disapproved of the treatment? How could we be sure that many of them were not innocent persons who did not even know what happened to Ivor?

We felt thoroughly ashamed that in prosecuting a worthy cause, we might inadvertently have wronged innocent people. We were all convinced that if a similar act of discrimination was re-enacted, we would never yield to violent reaction as we did at Bristol Hotel.

Sir Arthur had taught us, as youths, an enduring lesson – to be responsible and give peace and reason a chance.

I hope next time you are on Alfred Rewane Road and Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, you will remember this story and its inherent lessons.

May the soul of Pa Alfred Rewane continue to rest in peace.”

The story has since gone viral and we found ourselves in the same corner [“Harlem Corner”]as Professor Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laurette who delivered the following message by North Korean Inter-continental ballistic missile as a warning shot to Donald Trump:
“Hallo Bashorun,
Many thanks indeed for this reminiscence. I hope you are planning to publish them in one volume. Naturally they vary in contemporary interest and catchment power, depending on the reader, but they appear uniformly engrossing. In my case, this actually triggers off memories, which is only to be expected. For instance, it reminds me of when I single-handedly 'integrated a then swish motel called Atlanta Americana. Just like the hotel that features in your text, it has been demolished. On one of my visits years ago, I tried hard to locate the site, but a gas station (I think) now stood on it. Christopher Kolade was present - it was during one of those early meeting of American 'negroes' as was the expression at the time, and African young intellectuals and artists,  up-and-coming entrepreneurs, technocrats etc etc. organised by AMSAC (American Society for African Culture. I ought to ask Kolade his recollection of what took place, which included being threatened - one and a half times - with shooting by a blatantly racist police officer. (The half denotes threatened arrest with suggestive gun butt fingering). The aftermath produced results from the hotel management, but nothing as historically transformative as yours. It remains an obscure side event to America's heavy narrative of integration.
Maybe I should insert it somewhere in the next edition of INTERVENTIONS series now under preparation. There we go - one never knows what effect such reminiscences may provoke! So, write on, Bashorun, as these recollections surface and - publish!

Wole Soyinka.”

Sunday 20th August 2017 must forever remain a watershed in the history of America as fear and rage overwhelmed the nation in the midst of monumental turbulence with President Donald Trump’s approval rating at a miserable 34 per cent barely seven months after he was sworn in onJanuary 20, 2017. He scored only 38 percent for leadership qualities and only 32 per cent believe he will get a second term as President.
The trigger was his flip-flop over the violence that occurred between white nationalists and counter protesters at Charlottesville, in the state of Virginia on Saturday 12th August, 2017.
The rally by white supremacists and anti-Semites provoked a counter protest by those who insist on racial and gender equality. While all this was going on, James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into the crowd, killing 32 year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others.
The first statement by Trump on 12th August, 2017 was as follows:
“Thank you very much. As you know, this was a small press conference, but a very important one. And it was scheduled to talk about the great things that we're doing with the secretary on the veterans administration. And we will talk about that very much so in a little while. But I thought I should put out a comment as to what's going on in Charlottesville. So, again, I want to thank everybody for being here, in particular I want to thank our incredible veterans. And thank you, fellas. Let me shake your hand.
They're great people. Great people. But we're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville, Virginia. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It's been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, this has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America. What is vital now is a swift restoration of law and order and the protection of innocent lives. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society. And no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.
I just got off the phone with the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and we agree that the hate and the division must stop, and must stop right now. We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation and true affection-- really, I say this so strongly, true affection for each other. Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record -- just absolute record employment. We have unemployment the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. We have companies pouring into our country, Foxconn and car companies and so many others. They're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker.
We have so many incredible things happening in our country, so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad. I want to salute the great work of the state and local police in Virginia. Incredible people. Law enforcement, incredible people. And also the National Guard. They've really been working smart and working hard. They've been doing a terrific job. Federal authorities are also providing tremendous support to the governor. He thanked me for that. And we are here to provide whatever other assistance is needed. We are ready, willing and able. Above all else, we must remember this truth: No matter our colour, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first. We love our country. We love our god.
We love our flag. We're proud of our country. We're proud of who we are, so we want to get the situation straightened out in Charlottesville, and we want to study it. And we want to see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen. My administration is restoring the sacred bonds of loyalty between this nation and its citizens, but our citizens must also restore the bonds of trust and loyalty between one another. We must love each other, respect each other and cherish our history and our future together. So important. We have to respect each other. Ideally, we have to love each other.”

This provoked outrage over the tone and substance of Trump’s intervention.
On August 142017, Donald Trump made an effort to make amends by issuing the following statement:
“Thank you.
I’m in Washington today to meet with my economic team about trade policy and major tax cuts and reform. We are renegotiating trade deals and making them good for the American worker. And it’s about time.
Our economy is now strong. The stock market continues to hit record highs. Unemployment is at a 16-year low and businesses are more optimistic than ever before. Companies are moving back to the United States and bringing many thousands of jobs with them. We have already created over one million jobs since I took office. We will be discussing economic issues in greater detail later this afternoon.
But based on the events that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, I would like to provide the nation with an update on the ongoing federal response to the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone. I just met with F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly car attack that killed one innocent American and wounded 20 others.
To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. As I said on Saturday, we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.
And as I have said many times before, no matter the colour of our skin, we all live under the same laws. We all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God.
We must love each other, show affection for each other and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
We are a nation founded on the truth that all of us are created equal. We are equal in the eyes of our creator. We are equal under the law. And we are equal under our Constitution.
Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America. Two days ago, a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed. Her death fills us with grief and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers and our love.
We also mourn the two Virginia state troopers who died in service to their community, their commonwealth and their country. Troopers Jay Cullen and Berke Bates exemplify the very best of America and our hearts go out to their families, their friends and every member of American law enforcement.
These three fallen Americans embody the goodness and decency of our nation. In times such as these, America has always shown its true character. Responding to hate with love, division with unity and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice.
As a candidate I promised to restore law and order to our country and our federal law enforcement agencies are following through on that pledge. We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear.
We will defend and protect the sacred rights of all Americans, and we will work together so that every citizen in this blessed land is free to follow their dreams, in their hearts, and to express the love and joy in their souls.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.”

The next dayTuesday, August 15, 2017, Trump appeared to have back-tracked by issuing the following statement:
The press conference itself was focused on infrastructure reforms he plans to make, and then he invited questions.
TRUMP: If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Q: Mr. President, why do you think these CEOs are leaving your manufacturing council?
TRUMP: Because they're not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. And we want jobs, manufacturing in this country. If you look at some of those people that you're talking about they’re outside of the country, they're having a lot of their product made outside. If you look at Merck as an example, take a look where -- excuse me, excuse me -- take a look at where their product is made. It's made outside of our country. We want products made in the country.
Now, I have to tell you, some of the folks that will leave, they're leaving out of embarrassment because they make their products outside. And I've been lecturing them, including the gentleman that you're referring to, about you have to bring it back to this country. You can't do it necessarily in Ireland and all of these other places. You have to bring this work back to this country. That's what I want. I want manufacturing to be back into the United States so that American workers can benefit.

Q: Let me ask you, Mr. President, why did you wait so long to blast neo-Nazis?
TRUMP: I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long

Q: You waited two days --
TRUMP: I didn’t wait long.

Q: Forty-eight hours.
Q: (Inaudible) Why do Nazis like you?
TRUMP: I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct -- not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. But you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. And it's a very, very important process to me, and it's a very important statement.
So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to --

Q: (Inaudible)
TRUMP: As I said on -- remember this, Saturday -- “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America.” And then it went on from there.
Now, here's the thing --

Q: (Inaudible) many sides.
TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. Take it nice and easy. Here's the thing: When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts. This event just happened. In fact, a lot of the event didn’t even happen yet, as we were speaking. This event just happened.
Before I make a statement, I need the facts. So I don’t want to rush into a statement. So making the statement when I made it was excellent. In fact, the young woman, who I hear is a fantastic young woman, and it was on NBC -- her mother wrote me and said through, I guess, Twitter, social media, the nicest things. And I very much appreciated that. I hear she was a fine -- really, actually, an incredible young woman. But her mother, on Twitter, thanked me for what I said.
And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice. But unlike you, and unlike -- excuse me, unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.

Q: Why do Nazis like you -- (inaudible) -- these statements?
TRUMP: They don’t. They don’t. They don’t.
TRUMP: How about a couple of infrastructure questions.

Q: Was it terrorism, that event? Was that terrorism?
Q: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity --
TRUMP: Say it. What?

Q: The CEO of Walmart said you missed a critical opportunity to help bring the country together. Did you?
TRUMP: Not at all. I think the country -- look, you take a look. I've created over a million jobs since I'm President. The country is booming. The stock market is setting records. We have the highest employment numbers we've ever had in the history of our country. We're doing record business. We have the highest levels of enthusiasm. So the head of Walmart, who I know -- who's a very nice guy -- was making a political statement. I mean --

Q: (Inaudible.)
TRUMP: I'd do it the same way. And you know why? Because I want to make sure, when I make a statement, that the statement is correct. And there was no way -- there was no way of making a correct statement that early. I had to see the facts, unlike a lot of reporters. Unlike a lot of reporters --

Q: David Duke was there.
TRUMP: I didn’t know David Duke was there. I wanted to see the facts. And the facts, as they started coming out, were very well stated. In fact, everybody said, "His statement was beautiful. If he would have made it sooner, that would have been good." I couldn’t have made it sooner because I didn’t know all of the facts. Frankly, people still don’t know all of the facts.

It was very important -- excuse me, excuse me -- it was very important to me to get the facts out and correctly. Because if I would have made a fast statement -- and the first statement was made without knowing much, other than what we were seeing. The second statement was made after, with knowledge, with great knowledge. There are still things -- excuse me -- there are still things that people don’t know.
I want to make a statement with knowledge. I wanted to know the facts.

Q: Two questions. Was this terrorism? And can you tell us how you're feeling about your chief strategist, Stephen Bannon?
TRUMP: Well, I think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family, and this country. And that is -- you can call it terrorism. You can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want. I would just call it as "the fastest one to come up with a good verdict." That's what I'd call it. Because there is a question: Is it murder? Is it terrorism? And then you get into legal semantics. The driver of the car is a murderer. And what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.

Q: Can you tell us how you're feeling about your chief strategist, Mr. Bannon? Can you talk about that?
TRUMP: Go ahead.

Q: I would echo Maggie's question. Steve Bannon has come under --
TRUMP: I never spoke to Mr. Bannon about it.

Q: Can you tell us broadly what your -- do you still have confidence in Steve?
TRUMP: Well, we'll see. Look, look -- I like Mr. Bannon. He's a friend of mine. But Mr. Bannon came on very late. You know that. I went through 17 senators, governors, and I won all the primaries. Mr. Bannon came on very much later than that. And I like him, he's a good man. He is not a racist, I can tell you that. He's a good person. He actually gets very unfair press in that regard. But we'll see what happens with Mr. Bannon. But he's a good person, and I think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly.

Q: Senator McCain has called on you to defend your National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, against these attacks.
TRUMP: I’ve already done that. I did it the last time.

Q: And he called on it again, linking --
TRUMP: Senator McCain?
Q: -- to the alt-right, and saying --
TRUMP: Senator McCain?

Q: Yes.
TRUMP: Senator McCain? You mean the one who voted against Obamacare?

Q: And he said --
TRUMP: Who is -- you mean Senator McCain who voted against us getting good healthcare?

Q: Senator McCain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in Charlottesville.
TRUMP: Well, I don’t know. I can't tell you. I'm sure Senator McCain must know what he's talking about. But when you say the alt-right, define alt-right to me. You define it. Go ahead.

Q: Well, I'm saying, as Senator --
TRUMP: No, define it for me. Come on, let's go. Define it for me.

Q: Senator McCain defined them as the same group --
TRUMP: Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at 'em -- excuse me, what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?
Let me ask you this: What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I'm concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.

Q: (Inaudible)
TRUMP: Wait a minute. I'm not finished. I'm not finished, fake news. That was a horrible day --

Q: Sir, you're not putting these protestors on the same level as neo-Nazis --
Q: Is the alt-left as bad as white supremacy?
TRUMP: I will tell you something. I watched those very closely -- much more closely than you people watched it. And you have -- you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I'll say it right now. You had a group -- you had a group on the other side that came charging in, without a permit, and they were very, very violent.
Q: Do you think that what you call the alt-left is the same as neo-Nazis?
TRUMP: Those people -- all of those people --excuse me, I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Q: Should that statue be taken down?
TRUMP: Excuse me. If you take a look at some of the groups, and you see -- and you'd know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you're not -- but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?
But they were there to protest -- excuse me, if you take a look, the night before they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.
Infrastructure question. Go ahead.

Q: Should the statues of Robert E. Lee stay up?
TRUMP: I would say that's up to a local town, community, or the federal government, depending on where it is located.

Q: How concerned are you about race relations in America? And do you think things have gotten worse or better since you took office?
TRUMP: I think they've gotten better or the same. Look, they've been frayed for a long time. And you can ask President Obama about that, because he'd make speeches about it. But I believe that the fact that I brought in -- it will be soon -- millions of jobs -- you see where companies are moving back into our country -- I think that's going to have a tremendous, positive impact on race relations.
We have companies coming back into our country. We have two car companies that just announced. We have Foxconn in Wisconsin just announced. We have many companies, I say, pouring back into the country. I think that's going to have a huge, positive impact on race relations. You know why? It's jobs. What people want now, they want jobs. They want great jobs with good pay, and when they have that, you watch how race relations will be.
And I’ll tell you, we’re spending a lot of money on the inner cities. We’re gonna fix- we’re fixing the inner cities. We’re doing far more than anybody has done with respect to the inner cities. It’s a priority for me, and it’s very important.

Q: Mr. President, are you putting what you’re calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane?
TRUMP: I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. What I’m saying is this: You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs -- and it was vicious and it was horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch.
But there is another side. There was a group on this side. You can call them the left – you’ve just called them the left -- that came violently attacking the other group. So you can say what you want, but that’s the way it is.

Q: (Inaudible) both sides, sir. You said there was hatred, there was violence on both sides. Are the --
TRUMP: Well I do think there’s blame. Yes, I think there’s blame on both sides. If you look at-- If you look at both sides -- I think there’s blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either.
And if you reported it accurately, you would say.

Q: The neo-Nazis started this. They showed up in Charlottesville to protest --
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. They didn’t put themselves -- and you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. You had people in that group.

Q: (Inaudible.)
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did.
You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

Q: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same.
TRUMP: Well know, George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down --
Excuse me, are we going to take down- are we going to take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?

Q: I do love Thomas Jefferson.
TRUMP: Okay, good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue?
So you know what, it’s fine. You’re changing history. You’re changing culture. And you had people -- and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists -- because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Okay? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.
Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people. But you also had troublemakers, and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets, and with the baseball bats. You had a lot of bad people in the other group.

Q: Who are the good people?
Q: Sir, I just didn’t understand what you were saying. You were saying the press has treated white nationalists unfairly? I just don’t understand what you were saying.
TRUMP: No, no. There were people in that rally -- and I looked the night before -- if you look, there were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day it looked like they had some rough, bad people -- neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them.
But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest, and very legally protest -- because you know, I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit. So I only tell you this: There are two sides to a story. I thought what took place was a horrible moment for our country -- a horrible moment. But there are two sides to the country.
Does anybody have a final --

Q:I have an infrastructure question.
TRUMP: You have an infrastructure --

Q: What makes you think you can get an infrastructure bill? You didn’t get healthcare --
TRUMP: Well, you know, I’ll tell you. We came very close with healthcare. Unfortunately, John McCain decided to vote against it at the last minute. You’ll have to ask John McCain why he did that. But we came very close to healthcare. We will end up getting healthcare. But we’ll get the infrastructure. And actually, infrastructure is something that I think we’ll have bipartisan support on. I actually think Democrats will go along with the infrastructure.

Q: Mr. President, have you spoken to the family of the victim of the car attack?
TRUMP: No, I’ll be reaching out. I’ll be reaching out.

Q: When will you be reaching out?
TRUMP: I was very -- I thought that the statement put out -- the mother’s statement I thought was a beautiful statement. I will tell you, it was something that I really appreciated. I thought it was terrific. And, really, under the kind of stress that she’s under and the heartache that she’s under, I thought putting out that statement, to me, was really something. I won’t forget it.
Thank you, all, very much. Thank you. Thank you.
[Trump walks away from the lectern.]

Q: Will you go to Charlottesville? Will you go to check out what happened?
TRUMP: I own a house in Charlottesville. Does anyone know I own a house in Charlottesville?

Q: Where is it?
TRUMP: Oh boy, it’s going to be --

Q: Where is it?
TRUMP: It's in Charlottesville. You'll see.

Q: Is it a winery or something?
TRUMP: It is the winery.
I mean, I know a lot about Charlottesville. Charlottesville is a great place that's been very badly hurt over the last couple of days.

Q: (Inaudible.)
TRUMP: I own, actually, one of the largest wineries in the United States. It's in Charlottesville.

Q: Do you believe your words are helping to heal this country right now?
Q: What do you think needs to be done to overcome the racial divides in this country?
TRUMP: Well, I think jobs can have a big impact. I think if we continue to create jobs -- over a million, substantially more than a million. And you see just the other day, the car companies coming in with Foxconn. I think if we continue to create jobs at levels that I’m creating jobs, I think that’s going to have a tremendous impact -- positive impact on race relations.

Q: Your remarks today, how do you think that will impact the racial, sort of conflict, today?
TRUMP: The people are going to be working, they’re going to be making a lot of money -- much more money than they ever thought possible. But that’s going to happen.

Q: Your remarks today.
TRUMP: And the other thing -- very important -- I believe wages will start going up. They haven’t gone up for a long time. I believe wages now -- because the economy is doing so well with respect to employment and unemployment, I believe wages will start to go up. I think that will have a tremendously positive impact on race relations.”

On Sunday 20th August 2017 (“Black Sunday”) it was as if the United States of America would erupt into civil war – the supremacists and nationalists versus the rest.
The airwaves and social media went ballistic with a common theme – America had voted a madman into the White House. There was no longer any need to whisper. It was all out in the open. On the morning television shows, radio programmes and newspapers, it was the same story.

Veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, best known for his investigative reporting that scooped the Watergate scandal which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974 denounced Trump:
“Trump is dangerous beyond any modern President.”
On CNN, Bernstein was even more direct:

“Republicans in Congress, the highest intelligence officials, leaders of the business community and many of them dealt personally with Donald Trump have come to believe there is something seriously wrong. Those people are raising the very question of his stability and his mental state. Maybe, what I am being told is not as pervasive as I believe it is. Let’s find out. We need as journalists to make this our primary function right now.

Trump’s actions and inactions regarding Charlottesville are provoking some uncomfortable conversations. The questions include these:
“Is the President of the United States suffering from some kind of illness?

Is he fit for office?

And if he’s unfit – then what?”

Other pundits waded in with variations of the same diagnosis and prognosis:

U. S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat said:
“Trump’s mental health must be examined.”

Another California Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier was even more aggressive in her tweet:

“The President of the United States of America is showing signs of erratic behaviour and mental instability.

As for Douglas Brinkley, a CNN presidential historian, his verdict was blunt:

“We are getting the ramifications as a nation of what having a sick man in the White House means, Donald Trump is not mentally stable.”

By Tuesday 22nd August 2017, James Clapper, the former US Director of National Intelligence and retired Lieutenant-General, declared that Trump should be denied access to the nuclear codes:
“I question his fitness to be in office. His conduct utterances are downright scary and disturbing. He could be a threat to our nation’s security. I worry about his access to the nuclear codes if he decided to do something, in a fit of pique, to tackle Kim Jong-Un, the Supreme Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”

Donald Trump is totally unpredictable as confirmation of the “Madman Theory” which he deploys with considerable dexterity to confuse his enemies and undermine his detractors.

He took time off from his hectic schedule to savour the eclipse of the sun on August 21, 2017 and proceeded to announce: “This is magical. It is the first time it has happened in 99 years and I have only been in office for seven months. The Stock Exchange is booming and the jobs are coming back to America. By the time I finish my second term you will be able to count the unemployed on your fingers. Trust me.”

Then we went straight back to the Nigeria project. Apparently, what had pissed off the President of the United States of America was the announcement by the Nigerian Government that it had hired two accounting firms [from the “Big Four”] to audit the Treasury Single Account [TSA] to the exclusion of the retired partners of KPMG who have not been paid their gratuity and pension.

Donald Trump was incandescent with rage.
Trump’s take on the selection process regarding auditors is that it smacks of the same discrimination or “profiling” of which he is being accused and for that reason he is going to tackle Nigeria with all the “fire and fury” he can muster.

Besides, he has other issues to settle with the Nigerian government. First and foremost is the “Trump Super Tower” which he is proposing to build at Onikan, Lagos – as the flagship of the Trump footprint in Africa. In a deliberate attempt to frustrate the proposed “10th Wonder of the World”, the government demolished Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall and the adjacent Dr. J.K. Randle Swimming Pool. 

It does not end there. How come the government is dragging its feet over returning the “Love Garden” which Dr. J.K. Randle bequeathed to the Lagos City Council in 1928 “For the peaceful enjoyment and recreation of the people of Lagos” as it is no longer being used for that purpose?

According to Julien Assange of WikiLeaks, this is a clear case of domestic terrorism. To make matters worse, in 2011 the Federal Government of Nigeria published a long list of 12,000 abandoned projects all over the country following a report submitted by Arc. Bunu Sheriff Chairman of the Committee on Abandoned Projects. The estimated cost of those projects was ₦6 trillion at that time. We should now add the abandonedprojects in the thirty-six states of the Federation plus Federal Capital Territory plus Niger-Delta Development Commission; Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation etc.

Co-incidentally, on August 21, 2017 “ThisDay” carried the following report on its front page:


“The vertical tower is the key feature of an uncompleted Nigerian Cultural Centre. The sad tale is that the project which was initiated twelve years ago, has been abandoned.”
“You will not appreciate the magnitude of the project until you see it. Obviously, it is a task we want to complete subject to the availability of funds. By the time it is completed, it will edify the beautiful landscape of Abuja.”

According to Edward Snowden, the refugee former CIA consultant, Donald Trump is furious with Nigeria over the trillions wasted on abandoned projects. He makes no apologies for declaring that no country, not even the United States of America can afford to throw that kind of money down the rat hole. The government needs to wake up and salvage some of those projects in order to extract value and thereby rescue the economy which appears to be in shambles. 

Ironically, it was Donald Trump who challenged the retired partners of KPMG and demanded to know how come the Paris Debt Refund was so massive – a world record!! Someone needs to clarify matters regarding the authenticity of the debts and the reconciliation or deliberate non-reconciliation which resulted in the phenomenal over-repayment to the tune of what Julien Assange (WikiLeaks) estimates at over 500 per cent when the margin of error should at worst be no more than between 2.5 per cent to 5 percent.
Apparently, another reason Trump is angry is on account of Nigeria’s debt service ratio whereby about 40 per cent of this year’s budget will be consumed by debt service which is anathema to Donald Trump as a consummate business mogul.

It was a livid Donald Trump who brandished the front page of “The Nation” newspaper with the headline:
“Nigerian Judges and Policemen Share N400 Billion as Bribes In One Year.”

He did not stop there. He followed up with front page reports in major Nigerian newspapers – all of them about the diabolical kidnappings all over the country in addition to the atrocities of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen who have sent thousands to their graves and maimed many more.

Abruptly, the President of the United States disclosed that he was considering issuing a new green card to Professor Wole Soyinka , the Nobel Laureate who had destroyed his “passport to thrive and flourish in the United States of America” in protest against Donald Trump’s  election victory. He also had kind words for Lt. – General T.Y. Danjuma in recognition of his philanthropy , particularly in the health sector and for the profundity of the statements attributed to the general by Julien Assange of Wikileaks several years ago: “Nigeria is under the grip of a cabal” and by Edward Snowden ( “The fugitive offender”) ; “No nation can survive two civil wars.”

Both Assange and Snowden have disclosed that based on their algorithms and computer models as well as simulations, that is the most likely next president of Nigeria. 

Donald Trump was not yet done. He proceeded to distribute copies of the biography of former U.S. President Barack Obama (whose guts he hates with a passion) to the retired partners of KPMG.
The 1,500 page tome is titled : “RISING STAR” and it is by the Pulitzer Prize – winning author, David Garrow. On its cover is the health warning : 

“It includes sensational claims that Obama failed to tell the truth about the extent of his drug-taking, flirted with homosexuality and wrote out of his memoirs a girlfriend with whom he lived for two years and twice proposed to.” 

“Genevieve Cook described Obama to Garrow as riddled with self-doubt, arrogant, self-glorifying and having a ‘strong dislike for being embarrassed, losing status , of having his reputation tarnished’. Of course, many of Obama’s devoted fans will not let any of this tarnish their hero worship. But it is Michelle Obama who may have hit on the truth when, during his 2008 presidential election campaign, she said there were two Baracks – the public ‘phenomenon’ and the one that lives with her, ‘and that guy’s a little less impressive”. 

However, the polls suggest people are losing trust in Trump as his approval ratings decline.
According to SSRS, an independent research companythat conducted a poll on behalf of CNN : 

  • 45% of respondents approved of Trump's handling of the economy, while 47% disapproved.
  • 48% of respondents approved of the way Trump addresses national security, while 47% disapproved.
  • 31% of respondents approved of Trump's grasp on healthcare policy, while 62% disapproved.
  • 40% of respondents approved of Trump's handling of immigration, while 55% disapproved.
36% of respondents said Trump was honest and trust worthy, while 60% answered that the description "does not apply."
  • 39% of respondents said Trump could manage the government effectively, while 59% said he couldn't.

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