The visual message of Trump and Buhari’s laughing photograph By Okechukwu Nwafor

Many people have commented on the implications of Buhari’s visit to the United States. Among the comments is a submission by Farooq Kperogi who praised Buahri’s smart moves in the course of fielding questions from journalists. I am not particularly sure, and convinced, that Farooq exhibited a cautious articulation that corresponds to his erudite intellect as against his rather impetuous endorsement of the president.

On my part, I want to comment on the visual message of the photo showing Buhari signing a document amidst a smile while Trump also wearing a wry smile crouches behind him. This photograph is quite compelling yet many Social Media users would rather not reflect on the underlying nitty-gritty of both president’s laughter or smiles as seen in the photo.

First, the image suggests that their smiles are mechanical. There seems no reason why both of them should exhibit that weird grin simultaneously especially at the instance when Buhari was just signing a document. While the content of the document was not made public one wonders how such signing should suddenly elicit the amusement that, in actual sense, looks curiously emotionless.

First reason: Buhari knew within him that Trump does not like him neither does he like Nigeria (ala shithole, and Christian sentiments), yet he was desperate for American backing in the face of severe widespread opposition by the Nigerian masses.

Second reason: Buhari knew that a smile for the camera means a lot: it is a chimerical strategy of hiding awkward and difficult bilateral relations. It is also a way to mock Jonathan loyalists, and other opposition, who think that their repudiation at the home front would translate to western rejection. No. He seems to say that no amount of killings, human rights abuse, corruption and bad leadership, could actually blight Trump’s camera from perceiving him (Buhari) as a white angel instead of the black devil Nigerians portray him as at home. His smile, captured by the American camera, has indeed restored his temporary misfortunes and fixed the political catastrophes that would bear remote consequences for his future ambitions in his country, Nigeria.

On his part, Trump knew inwardly that he does not like Buhari, Nigerians and Nigeria but he needed to do this. He needed to force a smile no matter how spiritless. Despite his acerbic utterances he needed to do diplomatic job, imperial job and, above all, rapacious business with a deficient clientele. He is the only one who understands what Buhari was signing. And the smile on his face seems meaningless to him because he managed to squeeze it out for the purposes of imperial enrichment and postcolonial impoverishment. And we know that Trump has always made headlines for his mischievous smiles. This time around the mischief in the smile became even more pronounced.

Whichever is the case their smiles look unfeeling and detached and a case based on the fairy tale of the Lion and the tortoise. Yet, here, I am yet to figure who is the Lion and who is the tortoise.


Okechukwu Nwafor. 02/5/2018.


About Don Saint

PR Guru / Author / Promoter / Controversial Writer / Hip Hop Artiste / Actor / Human Rights Activist. The First Nigerian Hip Hop Artiste to obtain a Masters Degree (M.A) in Arts ( Religion & Human Relations). The author of one of the most controversial books in Nigeria; "Emancipation from Masturbation". With over 12 Movies and 3 Musical albums since 2003. Former Events Manager at Silverbird’s Rhythm Fm Awka Station till 2010. For more info. Call : 08033239298, 08056381068.

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