“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 founding father is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer” “Barack Obama” The world stood still for him, there was wild spread celebration in the air that cuts across races, countries, boundaries and continents. He spoke hope, believed hope and hope became reality. We might not fully grasp the enormity of the Obama victory today, but I can assure you that the tomorrow effect will be overwhelming for the black race of Africa.
The Americans have proved that they are true lovers of democracy and that dreams can be actualized. Barack Obama was able to defeat the “institution” in America with an audacious hope, not just that he represented the dawn of the Martin Luther King’s dream for the emancipation of the black race. His victory is not meant for the African Americans alone, it’s meant for the continent of Africa. There was one striking thing about him that kept the world mesmerized, the tempo in which he infected the Americans with his hope message, which lead many into a bust of energetic activity as to the fact that anything is possible if only we hope and believe.
This same principle and belief is applicable to all aspect of human endeavor, it knows no race, color, boundaries or countries. It’s a universal phenomenon that seeks to envelope the earth, with America as the start point. Change is coming; the time for change is now. The ZANU-PF’S of Zimbabwe, the PDP’S of Nigeria, the ANC’S of South Africa, should be awakening to this era of our existence. It will be unjust to expect the change in America to be replicated in Nigeria in a twinkle of an eye, the simple reason being that the mechanisms are not in place. Complacency of the spirit body and soul has developed into a cancerous growth that has continued to destroy the “yes we can spirit”!
We are known for. I stand to be corrected; I feel we are comfortable with our present state of underdevelopment. Why do I say so? The change that came to America was not an instant phenomenon; it was predicated on years of hopes, aspirations, determination, doggedness and belief. They held on to their dreams that one day the old order will be jettisoned. Nigeria is 48 and our achievements as a nation can be abridged in a sentence. We are fond of celebrating hypocrisy, praise singers are present at all level of government, constituting a nuisance to the polity largely responsible for the misplacement of priorities disorder exhibited by most political office holders. This brings us as humans into the picture; we are driven by basic necessities of life, manifest in food, shelter and clothing.
Whenever our basic needs are met, and in some cases not met, our ambitious trait pushes towards achieving greater heights. Greater heights could be political, social or physical. Political in the sense that we aspire to climb the political ladder to the zenith carrying along positive changes that will stand the test of time; ironically that is not the case in our beloved country. The American nation wanted a change and they got it! There were ready for it, they were tired of the old order that places emphasis on the color of the skin as a functional benchmark for intelligence. Obama’s overarching message is that America has the inherent potential to offer hope to anyone, regardless of their skin color, background or experiences; however, in order to ensure that opportunities exist for all in a secure, functional, and sustainable national environment, a number of key policy changes are necessary.
The Nigerian nation has double the inherent potential to offer hope and better lives to her citizens, though a number of policy changes are necessary, but what is paramount from an objective point of view is a re-orientation of our mind set. Why do I say so? Obama’s rise was astronomical in less than 5 years, he announced his bid and availed the American electorate what his plans were if elected president. Can we be bold to say that such can happen in our country? In the Nigerian polity, the first question that comes up is where is he from? North, south, east or west! Which party does he belong to and the likes? The sheer politicization of ethnicity into national life gives rise to all manners of decadence.
If we can be candid enough to admit the fact that our defeatist mindset gives the ruling cabal the impetus to lord over us with unpopular candidates. What happens next? We open the book of lamentations as regards economic policies and state of backwardness. The lesson to be learnt here is that tribal sentiments and ethnic divide should not be incorporated into national life. It only sets us back as a nation. Nigeria is one and belongs to all in respective of our religious and ethnic affiliations. This is also a lesson African and Nigerian politicians need to emulate. Those already clamoring for a Nigerian replication are merely chasing shadows. Numerous factors are responsible for my assertion; paramount is the zoning formula that we have embraced. It simply smacks a mockery of democracy as an institution.
Democracy is a government of the people for the people and by the people and not a government of geographical zones, tribe or religion. For example the presidency is zoned to a geographical zone, the senate leadership to another zone and the likes not minding whether there are qualified candidates from such zones, whether these candidates have what it takes to lead us to the promise land or not. If that were to be the order of the day in America, believe me Obama would not have been elected president in his life time. Our emphasis should be premised on what such individual has to offer and not the color of the party flag, tribe or religious affiliation.
Without much ado, we are in a learning process in Nigeria, our ideals as a nation is centered on an antediluvian index. Good and fine we might arrive at our destination through it or not as we have placed ourselves in an experimental stage. But to say that because Americans did it that way we can do it same way too is tantamount to suicide. I might sound a bit contradictory, but we have to view both sides of the coin. What we need as a nation is to be steadfast in our belief, hopes and aspirations. Change comes only to those that are ready for it.
Would I be castigating us by saying we are not ready for change from the old “order” as concerned citizens? It goes beyond the pages of newspapers; it’s centered on accepting candidates for who they are and not what they are, what they have to offer, content of character, and not the party they represent or religious and ethnic affiliations. Though we have a long way to go, the re orientation has to start from our homes. It’s just like building a brand for a new product line into the market. You have to plan and ensure the necessary mechanisms are in place to make your product a success. This is a simple law of business, which is applicable to all aspect of human endeavor.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters