On November 4th, a huge chunk of the citizens of the United States of America participated in a free election that put in place the first black man as the 44th president. For country that grew its economic wealth on the exploitation and oppression of others, this was an amazing feat even in itself. And today, braving the bitter Washington DC cold, this man was sworn in with a ceremony that was moving and inspirational, into his office. This man, Barrack Obama, has become the new iconic symbol of global change. He is the black man from the West. He is the future of international relations.
My feelings at this point towards this man and his people are a combination of being impressed and envy. The journey to this point and the ability to get here is what I envy. On the day of the American elections, there were no reports of violence or rigging (no reports might not mean that they did not happen). People went to the polls, cast their vote and went about their day. At the end, the results were announced and the losing party bowed out with a graceful show of sportsmanship and stepped aside so the winning team could take centerstage. The entire country, irrespective of their beliefs and voting choices unified to welcome the new president home. It was like a page out of fairy tale book on what democracy is all about.
My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the 44th president make his first speech as president but I refused to let them fall. It is quite the heartbreak to hear such inspirational words coming from someone addressing his people and come from a country like mine.
I am a Nigerian. And I am wondering when we as a people will be courageous enough to demand leaders who manage our growth towards stability and further development. I wonder when we refuse to be poor in thought, words and deed because poverty is not just about a lack of legal tender; that is simply being broke. When will the mention of my nationality not mean an invitation for people to share what negative experiences they have heard about or experiences with some other Nigerians?
I don't know.
Maybe in twenty years. If we all make the conscious decision to work towards it.
Now, I watch the Americans celebrate.
In a while, and God willing I will be a part of it, so will we.
The Nigerians, I mean....and all other nationalities who wish it.