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“I never thought it would get to this level” – Nigerian Albasheer Adam Alhassan a Possible Author of President Trump’s “Irish Proverb”



Albasheer Adam Alhassan. Photo Credit: Facebook – Albasheer Adam Alhassan

At an event marking St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday, U.S President, Donald Trump sparked web derision for himself as he tried to impress visiting Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to the White House, with an Irish proverb.

“As we stand together with our Irish friends, I’m reminded of that proverb … And this is a good one. This is one I like, I’ve heard it for many many years, and I love it,” Trump said before quoting the following:

“Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue. But never forget to remember those who have stuck by you.”

“We know that, politically speaking. A lot of us know that, we know it well. It’s a great phrase,” Trump added.

However, what he quoted was not an Irish proverb. The quote however, coincidentally or not, is a line from a poem by a Nigerian man Albasheer Adam Alhassan.

Alhassan submitted the poem on, a website that collects famous poems as well as those submitted by users, on January 22, 2013.

Photo Credit: Twitter – @colz

Speaking to CNN, Alhassan, a business manager at a bank in Katsina state, said:

“My sister just brought the news to me. I didn’t want to believe what she said initially. I posted those things when I was back in school, over 10 years ago. I never thought it would get to this level. Maybe I shouldn’t have been a banker, maybe I should have been a poet all my life!”

Alhassan’s bio on PoemHunter reads

Born in Kano state of Nigeria on 3rd of March in the mid 80s. Parents hailed from Niger state of Nigeria. Nupe by tribe. Attended Warure special primary school, Kano (1989-1995). Then Aminu Kano Commercial College, Kano (1995-2001). And finally Bayero University Kano (2001-2006). Served the nation as a graduate in Taraba state (2007). Presently working with the first financial institution in Nigeria. I love basketball, music, poems, video games and sleeping.

Many Irish Twitter users declared that they have never heard that proverb before.

Alhassan disclosed to CNN that he hasn’t written poetry for sometime, adding that he may get back into it, considering his newfound fame.

He added: “Personally I am not so much into politics. I have heard a lot about Trump. Especially the fact that he victimized some of my people, some Muslims.”

Explaining the meaning of the poem to NBC, Alhassan said: “I noticed that people are always nice to you when they need something but when they get what they want they abandon you. People use you as tools.”

However, the line appears on page 325 of the Speaker’s Quote Book by Roy B Zuck, published in 1997.

The same line is also on on page 388 of Crystal Inspirations by Joanne Tuttle, published in 2012.

The Guardian UK reports that at least as far as Google Books is concerned, the earliest appearance is in volume 31 of the International Stereotypers’ and Electrotypers’ Union Journal, published in 1936 in America.

The poem also appears on several websites as an “Irish blessing.”

Photo Credits: Twitter – @colz | Facebook – Albasheer Adam Alhassan


  1. Mavi

    March 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    So let me get this straight; Trump plagiarized AlBasheer, who possibly copied from Zuck, who may have lifted it off Tuttle, who likely took it from a 1936 journal?
    No blame here jare, It’s all good ?

  2. Idomagirl

    March 20, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Why is the Albasheer taking credit for a quote he himself “copied”?
    At least Trump isn’t claiming that he made up the quote…

    • adelegirl

      March 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      My thoughts exactly! But why is he still being interviewed as though he wrote the poem himself and he is also not being outed for plagiarising?

  3. josdaily

    March 20, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Hello my “Irish brother poet”. May you rise ojare

  4. Jani

    March 20, 2017 at 4:52 am

    Pity Albasheer lied too. 1930’s poem, Irish Blessings.

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