Saturday, 6 September 2008

Obama Saga: A Challenge to Nigerian Americans to Build Own Nation

By Hakeem Babalola
International Politics

Notice that I do not say Nigeria . This is because "Own Nation" simply means a place where we can be proud of; a great place greater than Barack Obama's America . Another reason for not using Nigeria in this context is because of my firm believe that Nigerians, especially those who call themselves patriots, do not actually love, or even believe in Nigeria. I have proved this in my previous comments and analysis.

I must as well confess that I am neither a fanatic believer in One Nigeria nor a fanatic believer in its dissolution. This is an excruciating personal problem I live with everyday. I simply detest the fraud and dishonesty that herald Nigeria . But at the moment I have no other country even though many keep saying Nigeria is not a country. Although Nigeria was built on fraud by Her Majesty, successive Nigerian governments have done very little to make Nigeria work. And it may never work, not because it cannot work, but because those at the helm of affairs do not want it to work. Yet they say they are patriots.

It is this Obama historic victory that re-kindles my enthusiasm for hope - of a new era for Nigerians all over the world - especially Nigerian Americans. The 4th of November, 2008 should be a moment for reflection for Nigerians in America who have the opportunity to witness world historical moment. They have huge responsibility to make things happen back home. It is time for them to extend Barack Obama's message of hope and change to their birthplace.

I am particularly calling on them because they are living in a country generally considered as God's Own Country where everything is possible like electing an African-American as the 44th president of the "most powerful nation on earth". They must have seen and learnt a lot from this historical moment. They need to share and ship such wonderful experience to their place of birth. The happiness of this moment will not complete until they transport today's joy to their place of birth.

As Nigerian Americans reap the dividend of democracy in God's Own Country, they must find a way to replace democrazy in their land of birth. It's time for them to fight, to inspire, to change the spirit of thinking; it's time for them to help conquer fears that often grip their people at home; it's time for them to devise a permanent strategy to liberate their people who are in perpetual suffering as each day wax. It's time to educate their people about the importance of today's historical moment in far away America .

Nigerian Americans must not sleep until they help pave way for a new era in their land of birth. Obama's phenomenon should have opened their eyes that nothing is impossible which is what Obama's historical victory stands for. Let them help us battle the fear that has rendered their people useless in their own land. Let them fight and flood their land of birth with everlasting energy that would last forever. Let them fight and fight, for until our votes count in Nigeria or Biafra or Odua or Arewa, Obama hope of change will have been in vain. This is because Obama is a global and world class fellow. His message must last.

One thing I have noticed about American people is their unwavering loyalty and belief in America . Even John Mcain in defeat puts America first in his concession speech that slowly moved me to tears. This is what I am living for: a country where votes count, where hope can energize my children and yours, where patriotism means patriotism and nothing else, where our grandchildren would love so much as to want to fight for it. A nation where genuine leaders leads genuine citizens; a nation we truly want to build; a genuinely open society.

At this juncture, I must confess that I had my doubt about this Obama's saga even when that influential American woman, Oprah Winfrey, endorsed him at the very beginning. I didn't believe that Americans were ready for African-American president. I had thought that White House is a symbolic monument for whites only. But as I have joyfully learnt, nobody could stop change. I really don't know whether this Obama thing is what people called destiny. Now I know that we are helpless in the face of Destiny. I admire those who saw this change from the very beginning and never wavered until the end, especially Nigerian Americans.

With Barack Obama's historic victory, America has reinforced whatever makes it a great country. I think it is such a great country despite its shortcomings because Americans are never afraid to make history. It will even be greater if nobody assassinates the president-elect like they assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. whose "I have a dream speech" became a reality as soon as the son of a former slave was elected American president. So Reverend King, a civil rights leader, knew about this moment even before I was born. We certainly have a lot of lessons to learn during this historical moment. And of course, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

Copyright 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

correction - the president elect is not the son of a former slave, he is the son of an african immigrant from kenya.