Lessons according to Obama’s Victory

I promised to share my insights into the lessons Nigeria as a nation should learn from the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America. It is so sad that as at this moment; Nigeria does not have the kind of structure and moral fiber needed to have the kind of celebration we saw after that historic election.
I am not a prophet of doom nor a pessimist but I am just being realistic. However, I intend to be a part of the solution rather than contribute to rhetoric and whining that most of us are known for. My friend ‘Gbenga Sesan wrote an interesting article titled Obama ran an Utomi-like campaign. It is surely an interesting read and see my comment to that post.
I feel u GS. The thought came to my mind to link Obama with Pat Utomi. But I quickly made a reverse to analyse the situation in a more realistic light. Let us be sincere with ourselves – would Obama have won the elections if he ran on the umbrella of a party other than the Democratic and the GOP? How many people in the US even know the names of independent candidates? Even Bush did not invite the other candidates for their opinion in the height of the bail out debate. US media don’t pay attention to candidates of other parties. That is the reality of politics. Remember how much Obama spent on the campaign trail … a whooping 1.6 B dollars – wow. Politics is indeed very costly. I have been thinking seriously in the past few days on what chance people like myself and Pat Utomi have to ensure we break the power of the serial rapist parties like PDP and ANPP where members keep changing and names of the parties are remixed. I am longing for a party that will start and exist for the eternity without a change in name and integrity. I remember the last presidential election in Nigeria where Pat Utomi’s party did not have agents in polling booths within Lagos State. I remember asking myself how he could have won without those kind of structures on ground? If we are serious about emancipating Nigeria – it will cost more than rhetoric and one leg in type of politics —- it will mean a big commitment. Are we ready for it?
I am getting somewhere with this post and that is to highlight the lesson Nigeria must learn from the United States and the just concluded elections. The one and only Abami Eda – Olufela Anikulapo Kuti gave us a lesson in his song democrazy. He made us realise that the colonial masters taught us democracy but in a wrong way. He further said that when a student makes a mistake – a teacher makes the necessary corrections but in our case – the Oyinbos did not correct us. I am afraid that the kind of democracy we practice is bound to eternal failure and we might never be able to get to the level of advanced democracies unless we take a step back to get the basics. Democracy will never live to its billings unless the fundamentals and ideologies of political parties are right. What we have in Nigeria are people with the common goal of winning elections through whatever crooked means available. A political party should start due to ideology and a call to service; once the basics are wrong – we have the chaos we call parties in Nigeria.
Consistency is also a very important factor to consider in this case. The Democratic and Republican parties in the USA are very old and till today still possess to a certain extent the qualities which their founding fathers imbibed. Same in the UK where the Labour and Conservative parties still carry the flags of their founding fathers. The political landscape in Nigeria started on a false path due to the military intervention which remained a recurring factor till as late as 1999. The different coup plotters and sit-tight military head of states ensured a continuous disruption of political activities – banning the parties and ensuring that even politics was militarized. Let’s just imagine what could have been if the Awolowo ideology survived till today with the political machinery he made popular? What if we still have the Action Group as Action Group today and not the mangled Action Congress and Alliance for Democracy? What if the political ideology of Zik of Africa still stands till today? These are questions that should be asked on the way to getting it right. I look at the PDP today and see many strange bed fellows with selfish agenda. Same goes for AC, ANPP and others. It is only in our part of the World where one politician crosses carpets to the next available party without thinking at all – yeah it is because the kind of politics we practice are not tied to beliefs and ideology but monetary gains.
If we will correct these maladies, the journey is not simple. It is not a matter of supporting credible candidates during elections. It is about understanding the lessons of Obama’s victory. It is about knowing that Obama did not only win because he was loved by the US and the world but that he ran on the ticket of a strong party and he had the support of the same party. If Obama were more eloquent than he was during the campaigns and he ran as an independent – forget it, he would have lost. So what do we take from all of this. I sense it is time for Nigerians to sit down and ask what they want. In Zimbabwe – Morgan Tsvangirai and others started a party that in just a few years successfully challenged Mugabe and won the elections. How they did it is novel because Mugabe never thought anyone could do that. Fine, it is still not well with the once beautiful country but imagine Nigerians having the chance of organising a strong party that could defeat the PDP? Imagine the same party having credible candidates like Pat Utomi on the ticket? Imagine the possibilities?
Unless we do this – our credible leaders will never have the chance of being elected.
As a good and progressive citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria- I have decided to embark on a study. This study will give me an insight into how the major political parties in the USA and the UK started and how they have been able to hold fort till today with common opinions and the love of their country in their heart. I will share my findings as I move on and I hope it will help us in deciding what to do.
I have a dream – that one day, Nigeria will have political parties based on solid ideologies, the will to do good, service to humanity and above all – the love of our motherland. Parties that will be known even to my granny in the village as well as the professor in the University. Yes … it will happen!

4 thoughts on “Lessons according to Obama’s Victory”

  1. chibuzor says:

    Hi,i agree with some of the shared thoughts but i would like to draw attention away from the political parties mentioned in the article. The problem is not with the parties but the people, the entire democratic experiment is Nigeria is representative of individual interests in which the same groups of indivifduals were responsible fror forming and developing all 3 parties AC/AD inclusive. Parties were not structured on clear ideological lines or driven by defined objectives but rather by the lust for political power and the ensuing access to wealth/ resources. Most of the so called grassroot parties tend to take a leave of absence at the end of each election only to resume for the next one.Given their lack or shortage of funds and other resources, this approach can only be described as being foolhardy. One would expect that these parties whose major resource are human resources would engage in more house to house mobilizations and awareness programmes to build up the required support within this period of political lull to help them overcome their financial constraints.Although funds played an important factor,the contribution of people who volunteered to knock on doors and spread the gospel is actually the second important part of the Obama winning formula and this should not be forgotten

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Chibuzor. I agree with you. We are saying the same things here. You will notice I keep hammering on ideologies and that the political parties do not have the will of the people at heart. The people make the party– so if the people are bad, can we not safely conclude that the parties are bad too? The last part of your comment is very correct as mass mobilization is a very important factor. Even if the money is there, any party that will make sense to us in Nigeria must possess clear objectives, ideologies and must be people oriented. Thanks again Chibuzor, I hope we can all commit to finding out the ways to an enduring democracy.

  3. Peter Odedina says:

    Ay, i share your thoughts. i look forward to a day when we would have political parties which would be based on the ideology of true service to the people, integrity and a commitment to the tenets of the rule of law.
    I also agree with Chibuzor that the value system of the average Nigerian needs to be changed. The people must come to a point where we all want a change from the status quo as it is today, probably we would have learnt some things from the US elections. God help Nigeria!

  4. OLUWASEUN LAWAL says:

    I FEEL THAT IT IS A CASE OF INDIVIDUAL BELIEFS WHICH IS USUALLY MOULDED I BELIEVE BY THE ENVIRONMENT. OBAMA I WILL SAY IS AN AMERICAN AFRICAN AND NOT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN,HE DID NOT SEE HIMSELF AS A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN AS MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS DO OR BOTHER HIMSELF WITH THE ISSUE OF BEING BLACK BUT BELIEVED THAT AMERICA IS THE LAND OF THE FREE AND NOME OF THE BRAVE AND THAT ANYONE WHO IS BRAVE ENUF TO CLAIM HIS FREEDOM WILL DEFINITELY AV IT.I BELIEVE AMERICA AS A SOCIETY HAS A LOT TO PLAY IN DEVELOPING SUCH A MIND SET IN OBAMA AND HER CITIZENS ALIKE. IF IN NIGERIA WE BEGIN TO LOOK BEYOND SELF AND DECIDE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AT WHICHEVER LEVEL OR POSITION WE FIND OURSELVES,WE WILL IN NO TIME DEVELOP TO THE FULNESS OF GLORY THAT WE DESIRE AND EVEN MORE,BUT WHEN WILL THAT HAPPEN WHEN SOME INDIVIDUALS FEEL THEY OWN NIGERIA AND OTHERS ARE JUST…………,LET US TEACH OURSELVES THE RIGHT ATTITUDE AND I BELIEVE EVERY OTHER THING WILL FALL IN PLACE BY DEFAULT.

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