By Uche Nworah ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
November 8th, 2008
I’m sure few years from now, we will all still be excited
trying to recollect how we felt the moment we heard that
Senator Barrack Obama had been elected the 44th President of
the United States of America.
Were you one of those that stayed up late on that special
election night of Tuesday, November 4th 2008, and even
passed up sleep while staying glued to CNN with your heart
practically in your mouth waiting, watching, praying and
hoping that audacity will finally have its day, and that
hope may also redeem its promise that those who dare to
dream no longer have to wait for eternity to see the
fulfillment of the dream, and the promise by God.
You are not alone, I did too and will forever remember the
day that destiny showed up in Senator Obama’s front door,
and in so doing the front doors of all who may have been
considered outsiders in life’s many contests.
My evening did not quite hit the high note I had expected
long before the election results started trickling in. My
Chelsea Football Club had just finished a banal display of
soccer immaturity in their Champions league game against AS
Roma, a match which could have earned Chelsea a place in the
last 16 round of Europe’s and indeed the world’s most
exciting football tournament had they pursued it with the
Obama seriousness. As I sulked and brooded over the 3-1 loss
to the Romans, Charles Okoli reminded me of the impending
Senators Obama/McCain election results.
The guys at CNN led by Wolf Blitzer and John King held me
spell bound with the high technology the news network
deployed for the election, the zinger for me was the
hologram technology which transports an interview guest into
the studio like a mirage thus creating the impression of
physical presence. John King toyed with the giant election
result scoreboard all through the night the way a child will
with a toy.
As I watched, I wondered in which generation Nigerians will
be able to monitor national election results as they break
on TV from the comfort of their homes as we did that night
on CNN. I wished that just like we were witnessing the
election of a Black American president in our lifetime, that
this technology thing too may come to pass. In this new
Obama era of dreams and hope, we have been thought that
anything is possible.
The early results didn’t quite look promising for Senator
Obama, but by this time, I had slept off only to be woken up
later by a shove from Charles, my election night co-camper.
He angrily announced that it didn’t look like Obama will
make it. I held on fast to the edge of the seat and rubbed
my eyes hard till it almost bled not wanting to drift off
again. I didn’t want to be told later what had happened. As
the results started to trickle in, my anxiety heightened and
that’s when I found solace in my phone.
As I called family and friends scattered all over the world,
I was comforted by the fact that they were all keeping
vigil, I imagined that there would be millions like us
keeping vigil and praying for Obama. There was just no way
God was going to forsake us I thought. Charles and I would
drift in and out of sleep but would wake each other up as we
waited for Obama to cross the finish line.
It was Charles who woke me up with a big scream eventually
pointing to the breaking news story on CNN that our man had
crossed the finish line first, and then another round of
calls again. First, to my wife in London who had also been
keeping vigil, then to my brother in Dallas who had earlier
voted for Obama, I could still hear champagne popping as we
congratulated each other. Next came my colleagues and then
some of my friends active in Nigerian politics who had also
stayed up. I teased some of them to make it possible for our
own Obamas to thrive locally.
And then came the speech, not Senator John McCain’s which
was gracious considering the circumstances but the
appreciation and rallying speech of the grateful who had
just been elected. Whoever gets tired tapping from the vine?
Senator Obama flew high above the skies with his oration.
The speech was more than enough to bring out the tears from
the very Reverend Jesse Jackson who must have seen himself
in the young Obama even as he recollected the years of the
Without taking anything away from the other events of the
night, the ‘scene’ with the Jesse Jackson crying will
forever remain etched on my memory. It is indeed my own
defining Obama moment on the night. I suppose everyone has
theirs, and yours?
I likened all these to the story of Moses in the Bible.
Despite long years of struggle, it wasn’t his destiny to
lead the Israelites to the promised land. It was Joshua’s.
I’m sure the likes of Jesse Jackson and the many before him
who gave up their lives for the black struggle will be
feeling fulfilled at this point, it was all worth it after
all. They have fought the good fight.
Obama’s election however may not signal the end of the
Blackman’s struggle for economic, social and political
emancipation, but rather it opens another vista of
self-consciousness, of pride and self-awareness for the
black man and other world people who may have suffered one
type of discrimination or the other. We should continue to
keep hope alive. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?