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Nigerian Minorities: Learning from Obama’s Victory

By Che Oyinatumba "
 Published November 12th, 2008

Let me state it clearly, I was in support of McCain in the just concluded USA election.

I wanted McCain to win so that USA will collapse, as it was obvious that USA under Bush was heading to isolation that would have killed the super power and make another super power emerge. Now I am forced to explain my silent support for Obama. Obama’s victory has given USA a breathing space to reinvent herself and continue her global domination. How I wish McCain won. Poor Obama, he will spend the good part of his first year clearing up the mess Bush left from Cuba to Iraq . It won’t be an easy run for Obama.

I also supported Obama because he is a Blackman. He has shown that there is nothing wrong with the colour black but bad leadership in Africa is responsible for our backwardness. My support for Obama though in a the daring attitude of his audacity of hope and in him, we now know that you can be your dream, if you wake up and walk towards it, organize and not waste your time kneeling or bowing to the East but finding in your history those ideologies that made you great. As a Pan-Africanist, I support Obama because he has incarnated the ideas of Malcolm X and Martin Luther Jr. Finally the blacks in USA can sing free free free at last thank God we are free at last. Obama’s victory is an icing on the years of struggle by the slaves and sympathetic slave owners. Now the Blacks can stand up tall and look anyone in the face and say I am an eagle, I am a champion, YES I CAN be all that I want to be.

Apart from these, the question is, what lesson will Nigerians learn from this unprecedented victory?

The group that need to make maximum gain from this victory are the minority groups in Nigeria , especially ndi igbo from South East Nigeria . Like the USA slaves, ndi igbo has suffered in this country, especially after the civil war. Come 2015, there MUST be a Nigerian President of an Igbo extraction. Did I hear you say ndi igbos are not united? Same was the plight of the blacks in USA until Obama tirelessly organized and motivated the younger generation of Americans to come out and vote for the first time in their life. The Igbo should go beyond reading Obama to sound Obioma and start a nationwide movement that will get a credible Ibo candidate to clinch Aso Rock. Like the African-American, there is no State of Nigeria where the Igbo man is not found. If only ndi igbo can organize and work their dreams in a new credible face of a new breed, not these ex-this and that with civil war mentality of the vanquished but with a post June 12 mentality. Ndi igbo can because igwe bu ike and ebe obi di out there is no mountain the igbo man can not climb. The young igbo leaders should understudy Obama and galvanize the youths around him and form a national movement and not the current elitist SA jobs!

Another thing that has to be learnt from Obama’s victory is the perfection of their electoral system. When was the last time an incumbent political party lost to the opposition? Prof. Iwu of INEC claimed he schooled in USA yet these golden values did not rob off on him. There was no election tribunal where all manner of SMS messages will be exchanged between petitioner and the judge. Nigeria should evolve a system that spews out election results so fast that there won’t be time for Mr. Fix to thinker the result. YES WE CAN, we did it in June 12 and given the political will we can repeat the feat again.

The younger generation of Nigerians, should learn from this victory of Obama, as it shows that YES WE can be all that we dream to be, if we keep our parts correct. Imagine if the Republicans uncovered a careless dirty deal by Obama as a young man. It would have been the end of a dream. In Nigeria, we do not have those who dream to be this or that, all we have are group of money miss road, who after getting rich, think that the next elusive trophy is political power. The time has come to ask any politician soliciting your vote, what does he have to offer.

Furthermore, political parties in Nigeria should be financed by those who believe in the manifesto of that party. The era of government giving subvention to political parties should be done away with. The younger generation (0-60) should start demanding for a political space to draw the Nigerian of their dreams. We cannot still be shackled with nightmares of these blind leaders. This is a country where leaders of the youth wing of most parties are old men well over 65. Nigerian Youth, Obama has broken the jinx. Stand up and be counted. YES YOU CAN.

Nigeria should also learn that elections are run on issues and not ethnic cum racial divide. The Global Financial crisis played into Obama’s calculation. Like Nigeria under Obasanjo and PDP for 8 years, Bush brushed aside all known economic theories and put everything in the war against his former business partner called Osama Bin Laden. As a result, the citizens wanting to continue in their soft life rebelled against Bush and gave a rebel vote to Obama. In the next years to come, this victory of Obama, will remain a subject of political analysis. Pundits will be theorizing over what McCain did wrong or not but what cannot be taken away from Obama, is that he is a grass rooter, an orator and a man whose speeches inspire hope. When last did you hear a Nigerian politician’s speech how much more move the people to revive their faith in the country.

Nigerian politicians should start tabling their agenda on the table rather than relying on power shift, party affiliation. YES Nigeria has what it takes to be great only if we can organize, YES WE CAN live in a country where we shall be rewarded according to the content of our character and not the stretches of tribal marks on our faces.

As we celebrated Obama, please spare a thought for Nigeria , a country abundantly blessed yet cursed with bad leaders

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