Americans can be exasperating. They just don’t know how to do things. Professor Maurice Iwu was right. Americans have a whole lot to learn from Nigerians. Their inability to do things the proper way cost me a lot of money on January 23, 2009. President Obama had been sworn in three days earlier. He had said he was going to hit the ground running and he did. He attended ten balls on inauguration night, returned to the White House at almost midnight, and still had a Champagne night cap with Oprah Winfrey and a handful of close friends.
The following day, his government was in full throttle. Even here in Ottawa, some three hundred kilometres away, I could feel the vibrations of governance. He attended a plethora of meetings to set the tone of his government, signed a welter of executive orders, swore in officials who were instructed to get kicking immediately like the new boss. Day two was even more intense. More meetings in the White House, more articulations of policies and agendas, more executive orders, especially the order to close down Guantanamo Bay. Then there was the hugely symbolic working visit to Hillary Clinton’s new lair at the State Department. By going there before the customary visit to the Pentagon, President Obama was giving the world an unmistakable signal: American diplomacy is back! Bye-bye to cowboy shock and awe!
After the State Department, it was back at the White House for more of the American people’s work. I noticed that emphasis was on the things that could immediately have an impact on the life of the American regular Joe. Governance must be felt immediately by the people. Then I had an epiphany while watching Anderson Cooper flirt as usual with Erica Hill towards the end of AC 360. Me I don’t know for those two sef. Anyway, I digress. So I had an epiphany: by the end of his second day in office, President Obama had done considerable more governing than Alhaji Umar Yar’Adua who is approaching his third year in Nigeria! All the Nigerian president has been able to do in two years is to cobble together two successively sleepy cabinets.
Somebody does more governing in two days than the Nigerian President has done in two years? Surely, Americans know what to do. So, on day three, I rushed to the nearest newspaper store and bought major American newspapers: USA TODAY, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. I eagerly flipped to the centre spread of each paper. Nothing! What? Are these Americans kidding me? No paid centre spread ads congratulating President Obama on the 2nd day anniversary of his spectacular Presidency? Are there no State Governors in America? No Federal Ministers – sorry, Secretaries? No Local Government Chairmen – sorry Mayors? No Stakeholders? No Party Chieftains?
Well, since Americans won’t do it, someone’s gotta do it. So, I took it upon my patriotic self to draft a paid ad, just to give President Obama a taste of what he would have seen in national newspapers had Americans done things the Nigerian way.
Centre spread Ad in the New York Times
Three Hearty Cheers to a Born Achiever: His Excellency Barrister Barack Hussein Obama, the Executive President of the United States of America, Grand Commander of the Order of the Potomac (GCOP).
Dear President Obama, on behalf of myself, my loving wives, my children, and the people of the state of New Jersey, accept our heartfelt celebration of your phenomenal achievements on this wonderful 2nd-day anniversary of your assumption of office. Your exemplary leadership and outstanding achievements in the last two days are indeed a confirmation of the nationally-held view that you have been divinely anointed to steer the ship of state and move the US forward at this crucial stage of our national life. By the same token, we respectfully extend our greetings and fellowship to our loving mother of the nation, Her Excellency Barrister Mrs. Michelle Obama, for the successful launching of her pet project, The Rural Woman Rocks! I hereby announce a token donation of three million dollars to Her Excellency’s project on behalf of the state of New Jersey with immediate effect. We look forward to your first familiarization tour of our beautiful state.
Long live Your Excellency!
Long live the State of New Jersey!!
Long live the United States of America!!!
HIP HIP HIP, HURRAY!
His Excellency Architect Dr XYZ
The Executive Governor, State of New Jersey