American Wonder Is Possible In Nigeria

OPENNESS WITH KOLA ODEPEJU The Centre Stage taken by the United States of America as the leading leader in making the entire world a global village could not be questioned as dictated by the just-concluded presidential election with a landmark election of Barack Obama as the 44th United States President. The issue of race, ethnicity…”
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November 21, 2008 4:07 am
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Oba-magic is possible in NigeriaOPENNESS WITH KOLA ODEPEJU

The Centre Stage taken by the United States of America as the leading leader in making the entire world a global village could not be questioned as dictated by the just-concluded presidential election with a landmark election of Barack Obama as the 44th United States President. The issue of race, ethnicity or religion had been discarded by majority of Americans saying that qualification for any position is the New World Order. Barack Obama’s victory brought tears to every emotionally-laden human being. Jesse Jackson, media gurus, Oprah Winfrey among others could not curtail their emotions and shed tears of joy. Don’t get too comfortable that racism, any form of discrimination is totally wiped-out from the veins of human beings.

Nonetheless, the approach to any type of discrimination would be different from this point on. And now Barack Obama is joining the league of American Presidents. What a historic win! On the historical lane, in a landmark victory, Senator Barack Obama is the first African-American to be elected the USA President. The First African-American to vote for himself in the presidential election. the first Senator to win election into the position and the first member of the Congress since J. F. Kennedy in 1960; The first in 30 years without the incumbent on the ballot; The First President from Hawaii; First in 24 years without Clinton or Bush on the ticket; He is the third President from Illinois, after Abraham Lincoln and Grant.

Obama is the fifth youngest to be elected US President; He is the 27th lawyer to go to the White House; 16th Senator to run for the President; the 2008 presidential election was the 25th election when the incumbent would not be on the ballot; and the fifth without war hero to win USA presidential election. Regardless the sceptics’ toxin and thoughts at the initial stage of Obama’s campaign and throughout the campaign, the terrain of world politics have changed for ever.

There is a New World Order that has challenged the entire world as to the direction they have to carry their citizens. At the funeral of Coretta Scott King, Tuesday, February 2006, the baby of the family, Reverend Bernice King, stated that a generation was gone and people should look forward for a new generation in the offing, which would emerge soon. I was baffled by that statement as to who would carry on the Dream of MLK? No one ever thought that the new generation, that Bernice King prophesised about, would come this early. Barack Obama is the beginning of a new generation, a New World Order. The New World Order that Obama tossed to all human beings, most especially the world leaders, is that

“…to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you.”

In his Berlin speech given on July 24, 2008, Obama stated “I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.”

As the world is becoming a global village, the entire world, especially religious leaders, must work hard for world peace, while accepting all human beings as “Citizens of the world”. In his post-victory statement, Obama asked the entire world,

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

The answer is clear to everyone that the time has come for a real CHANGE. What a good message for the rest of the world, especially Africa and in particular, Nigeria. How Nigeria would handle the numerous Nations within the Nation; the Afenifere, Yoruba Nation, Igbo Nation, Arewa Forum, is a challenge to Nigerian leaders. When would Nigerian leaders make Nigeria a united, one Nation under God, indivisible? Barack Obama was raised by a single mother and his grandparents, with not much money but with values from the Kansas heartland.

“He took out loans to put himself through school. After college, he worked for Christian churches in Chicago, helping communities devastated when steel plants closed. Obama turned down lucrative job offers after law school to return to Chicago, leading a successful voter registration drives. He joined a small law firm, taught constitutional law and guided by his Christian faith, stayed active in his community.”

Obama past experience, in organizing voters’ registrations, helped in his success at the polls and got elected as the President of the United States of America. His style of inclusiveness, not too overconfident, encouraged the full support of all races, religious and interest groups in America, and he was able to raise enough money for the election of the century. The whole world fully stood behind his success and God endorsed his victory. He is leading America into the New World Order. Nigerians abroad armchair politicians’ input in this New World Order is inevitable.

Obama started with nothing, no contributions, no endorsements, no volunteers, but has the brain and use it effectively to get to the grassroots, raised the money needed, got focussed, no distraction, fully determined and inspiring, and got to the end of the race successfully. Nigeria should shelve the divisive programs promoted by the notion of nations within Nation, the Afenifere, Igbo Union, and Arewa United for the betterment of humanity.

In his reaction to the election of Barack Obama, as the 44th President of the United States of America, Nigeria President, Umar Yar’Adua described Obama’s election as tearing down the “greatest barrier of prejudice in human history.” President Umar Yar’Adua went further that “…events in the United States have created a totally and completely new era. I believe for us here in Nigeria, we have lessons to draw from this historic event. Prejudices arising from various differences in tribe, zones, regions actually…

We should examine ourselves in the light of this experience and conduct ourselves purely as Nigerians to serve Nigeria and to serve humanity. When we find ourselves in position of responsibility, when we take decisions, we should take decisions as Nigerians in the best interest of the country, and not try to bring about issues of where I come from or which area I come from, or which tribe I come from. That is the old world. That is the old era. Its coffin has been nailed throughout the world and we have entered a new era.”

I love to read the rhetoric of President Yar’Adua. Hopefully the powers that be would transpose his rhetoric into reality. He has challenged Nigerian leaders, especially those that have no sympathy for the welfare of their fellow citizens. When would Nigerians be comfortable having that sense of belonging in a community where they have lived for years? It reminds me of Mr. Francis Aimakhu who was born and raised in Ibadan.

The fact that his parents, who made their living in Ibadan, originated from outside of Oyo State, could not get employment with Oyo State Government. Neither could he get contract job with Oyo State Government, despite his involvement in local politics. Even his wife, who is an indigene of Osun State, from Ilesha, but happened to marry Aimakhu, might have to go by her maiden name, Jegede, before her business could flourish in Ibadan. This is a challenge to Nigerian leaders while celebrating the successes of Barack Obama, as agents of Change to be part of the New World Order. That would be the time Nigeria could be the ‘Giant of Africa,’ as United States is raising its head as the world leader.

Obama did not have a god-father, he believes in himself, positively utilized the gift God gave him, reached out to all available races in the United States of America, applied the power of the modern technology to raise money, and focussed on the issues that are affecting America, and collectively, “Yes We Can”. What about poverty in Nigeria where the haves continue to swim in wealth and the poor continue to get poorer.

Nigerians are waiting for who among the Nigerian leaders, especially the Governors that would borrow from Obama phenomena and consider any Nigerian as “a fellow citizen of the world”, regardless where they come from. Or are we going to continue seeing the feudalism system in place, or Ngbati-ngbati philosophy, or I before others principles. As Otunba Gbenga Daniel of Gateway State stated, “For us as Africans, there are so many lessons that the victory of Obama has taught and will continue to teach us. You can look at it from virtually all angles.

In the construction industries, I am particularly excited because you can now see that what an expatriate company can do, an indigenous company can also do. You can now see that there is nothing wrong in dreaming dreams; you can see that with determination, there is nothing that is impossible.”

Would Nigerians agree with the assertion of Senator Smart Adeyemi that “the governors constituted the greatest threat to democracy in the country”? What about the Federal character, ethnicity and other threats as impediments to democracy in Nigeria. There would be no lesson learned by Nigeria, until Nigerians begin to see the changes in the way their leaders conduct their public services without religious or ethnic undertones.

Nigerians could do it. 2011 is around the corner when Nigeria would either bury its face in shame; or raise its head above its shoulders and say, ‘Nigeria is truly the Giant of Africa’. Matching the Nigerian legislature theories with actions.

Nigeria policy makers should be reminded how Obama became his party’s flag-bearer through primaries that he won fair and square, rather than an imposition with intimidations, hounding of opponents, without any manipulation or being aided to the throne. Obama ran a long relentless and excruciating campaign, and voters were never denied their rights in voting for the candidates of their choice.

Obama, the son of an African that schooled in America, was accommodated irrespective of race, and was judged at the polls by the content of his character. Obama is a well-educated, talented, tenacious, transparent, exposed and visionary leader. Obama, like his father, has been described as “… an ordinary man who did extra-ordinary things.” “Yes We Can”. Hopefully Nigerian leaders would see this as an end of years of misrule, deception, hypocrisy and lying to their fellow citizens. Nigeria should shun tribalism, ethnicity and religion, which had played a divisive role in the nation’s electoral system.

According to Obama and to Nigeria leaders, “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours.” Nigeria leaders, could do it. They have been exposed and traveled far and wide. It is just to have the guts to stand for something that would make an everlasting impact on their fellow citizens. “So … let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; … what change will they see? What progress will we have made? This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace…”

Would we ever witness an Itsekiri man in Aso Rock as Nigeria President? Yes, Nigerians too can make history – a positive one! Yes We Can!!!!!! God Bless the United States of America and God continues to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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