It was like a dream. Goose pimples were all over my body. I wished I could shed a tear or two, but the joy that enveloped me could not stimulate my tear glands. It just made me stare in awe. Is this real? Could this be true? I kept asking myself.
I took out time to dance. Yes! I danced, I jumped, I screamed, only to discover that I had several missed calls on my mobile phone. Calls from like minds within and out of my country of abode. Text messages came pouring in. It was not my birthday. I did not win a lottery. And what was the cause of all these? Barack Obama had just emerged as the 44th President of the United States of America.
In an election that witnessed an unprecedented turn out of voters- where the contestants had a thing to add to the history books, when a nation is on the brink of a recession and battles with a highly tarnished image abroad. The world stood still to watch the drama and intrigues. Only four hours after vote-counting started, Barack Obama emerged the President of the United States of America!
It is our moment of glory; it is our victory as Barack Obama has taken a place in the annals of history to emerge the first African American President of the United States. This man was the least likely person to get into the shoes of the most powerful man in the world. A senator that had just been a little over two years in the senate with little or no money to prosecute his ambition. A man scheduled to run for the primaries alongside Hilary Clinton, a party heavy weight and wife of one of the most loved and most successful President of the United States-Bill Clinton and John Edwards who was the Vice Presidential pick for the 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. Above all, a black!
Senator Obama, with sheer determination started his campaign not in cosy party meeting places or hotels but at backyards, downtown neighbourhoods and in garages. He moved on to stage the best organized Presidential campaign in the history of the United States of America. With donors giving even as low as $5 and $10, Barack went on to raise a ground breaking sum of over $600m. This is a man who was written off by many. His campaign moved beyond a conventional campaign to a movement. A movement for change. Tens of thousands of supporters comprising mainly of youths gathered in his campaign rallies to draw inspiration from this unusual man. Such inspiration was most welcome in a country where its citizens are counting their losses in the economic meltdown.
Playing a kind of politics devoid of bickering, a positive campaign that sought to inspire the electorate to look beyond personal attacks but issues; Barack Obama went ahead to defeat Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton in a close race in the primaries. Many bemoaned the fact that Obama emerged as the Democratic Party flag bearer arguing that Senator Clinton would give the Republicans a better fight. Other cynics simply emphasized that in no way will the American whites allow a black to step into the White House. Little did they know, that Barack Obama was a child of destiny. They failed to realize that the battle with McCain will be a lot easier when compared to the party primaries. Interestingly, the Electoral College vote margin of victory by Obama in the general elections was such that has not been seen in years!
This young and charismatic Illinois Senator, so gifted in eloquence did not leave the populace and the world in doubt with the way he tackled issues in the three Presidential debates. He was calm, calculated and exhibited a presidential comportment. His policies are seen as reformatory by the America populace who have lost interest in the unpopular Bush administration. Many analysts have described him to be sort of combination of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
No doubt, it is a defying moment of change. There was a time that blacks could not attend the same school with the whites, when a black man could not buy from the same market with the white. Blacks had to stand up from a sit for a white in public places. A black man could not vote and enjoy the privileges of modern social infrastructure like the white man. It was a time that the black man was considered to be an eternal servant to the whites. Even after slave trade was abolished, blacks were still looked down upon. It took the courage, prayers and persistence of the bold to fight this wickedness. Obama’s victory is still part of the journey to total emancipation.
I was touched by this text message ‘’Rosa Parks sat, so that Luther King will walk, Luther King walked so that Obama will run, Obama ran so that our children will fly’’ .This is our moment, this is our victory!
I commend the labours of our heroes past, the tenacity of purpose of Booker T. Washington, the boldness of Rosa Parks; the zeal, optimism and spirit of Martin Luther King Jnr. These people and many more blacks rose to the challenge to fight man’s inhumanity to his fellowman- a cankerworm eating deep into the fabrics of the world at large. Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jnr, a black man has become the President of the United States of America!
For those who see blacks as less human, it is even past time to remove the scales from your eyes. Obama’s victory to me, apart from being historically remarkable has taught us that politics can be played without bitterness. It has shown us all that you can become what you want to become. It is a lesson of discipline, good planning, wits, humility, good judgement and guts. It is the dawn of another era. America, has as well, taught the world that anything is possible!
It is unfortunate that Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who raised him up to become what he is today, did not live to see this. However she passed away when her grandson was at the verge of making history. No doubt she was proud of him before she passed away. May her soul, rest in perfect peace.
I, implore all the admirers of this great fellow not to relent in their prayers for him. The challenges that confront him are enormous. His safety is also paramount to us all. I do believe that the same spirit exhibited in his campaign will see him through in his responsibilities. The job is not for Barack alone, it is for all of us. Yes we can!
I could see the tears of joy in the eyes of several supporters of Obama including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey. Having suffered several hundred years of oppression; the blacks in the US, will always cherish this victory. It will be story that would be told for years to come. Outside the United States, people kept vigil to watch the emergence of this enigma, Barack Obama as President. Even in his home country, Kenya, the enthusiasm displayed by the old and young was symbolic. Somebody even remarked that Nigerians seem to have shown more interest in the Obama campaign and race to the white house than in the happenings in Nigeria.
All around the world from Asia to Europe, from the swamps in Africa to downtown in North America, the victory celebration is on. I can imagine how Africans will be twisting their hips doing the Makosa dance. Roll out drums and cymbals as we mark this milestone among many yet to come.
This is our moment! This is our victory.