THE OBAMA PHENOMENON: HOW IT ALL STARTED

It is no longer news that humanity is today basking in the Obama Phenomenon which from all indications is set to alter the socio-political equations both in the United States and the world over. Obamas’ emergence as the 44th president of the world’s sole super power is a thing that was unthinkable just some years back, more so, when his race is famous for anything but standard behavior. Worst still is the fact that his ‘ancestral home’, Africa, is notorious for an assemblage of poor leaders and political waywardness.

This is why I am still baffled that Kenya, barely out of a political violence that engulfed it as a result of electoral fraud, shamelessly declared a public holiday to celebrate Obama’s emergence on the world stage. You can also see those lazy folks in our national legislative houses, briefly suspending their theatrics of daily assailing our ears with one revelation or the other on frauds and pilfering of public funds and other sordid revelations from the probe of one ministry or the other, conducted in the most unserious manner, even in announcing their findings. Of course, we do know that such probes are more for public show-offs than solving our problems- probes that will never be concluded; these legislators are now taking turns to commend something they never will allow to happen here. What a shame!

Painfully, it is becoming obvious that we are about to miss the opportunity of learning the lessons embedded in this great change the Lord is thrusting on mankind through this messiah of the 21st century. Rather than sit down to study this phenomenon and see how and why it worked and probably, seek to know how we can best apply it to our own pitiable situation, we are busy clicking wine glasses to drink to a state of stupor.

As a matter of challenge, we need to remind ourselves that OBAMA became what he is today because he had a vision rooted in dreams dreamt by a fellow American, turned it to a mission with a solid plan, worked on it with all he has, focused and selfless, carrying every one around him along through persuasion and strong character base that assailed even the strongest of hearts, and he landed finally to our admiration and maybe, for some, consternation.

The dream referred to above was dreamt by the late highly respected Rev. Martins Luther King Junior quoted below in part, which was the seed sown back in 1968 hence this phenomenon called Obama. It also shows that with resilience, patience, focus and belief rooted in the strong faith that for a dream to be realized, you must have the vision and be exceptionally focused, carrying every one on the way along. This is what makes Obama. It is what makes nations great and that is the difference between us and the person we are celebrating. The dream as in the speech is as follows:

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the emancipation proclamation. This momentous decree came as great beacon of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous day-break to end their midnight of captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free, one hundred years later; the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and chains of discrimination, one hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the mist of the vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.

So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we have to our nation’s capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the constitution and the declaration of independence, they were signing a promissory note for which every American fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men will be guaranteed inalienable right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad cheque, a cheque which has come back marked insufficient-fund. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vault of opportunities of this nation. And so we have come to cash this cheque, a cheque that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of ***.

I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, we hold this truth to be self evident that all men are created-equal. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression; will be transformed into oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day in Alabama with its vicious racist with its government having its lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification- that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers…”

Well, every society it is said has its own gifts. We do have in Africa our own Rev. Martins Luther King in the mould of Nkruma, Awolowo, Nyerere, even the Madiba himself, Mandela. They may have, unlike the great Dreamer, participated in the governing processes in their various domains and times. They may also have made mistakes along the way. But what happened to their dreams? And where is our OBAMA? Instructively, as it is in politics and governance, so it is in business. Which is why we are still searching for a Bill Gate, neither are we able to light our homes 48 years in nationhood. Not to worry, the Germans are here maybe to ease out the Chinese? That is the typical rigmarole that characterizes our way of doing things.

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