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I saw Obama speak

By Tony Momoh
YES, I saw the world’s  most influential   political leader speak – on the day he was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America; in France after he had attended a meeting of the world’s most serious and organized nations in London, a meeting Nigeria complained it was not invited to; at the press conference he gave afterwards at which he threw a pebble in the direction of Africa, at another press conference in Italy where the G8 met and remembered to invite Nigeria so that the merited crowing will stop; and finally in Ghana where he spoke volumes about Nigeria without mouthing the seven-letter word.

But let me say that what I read from all the speeches was his regret that we do not seem to have discovered the joy in affecting positively the human condition. You see, we belong at a level of development where the human condition can be sacrificed to meet the greed of vested interests.

This status is a choice! I recall what Obama said about the human condition when he was sworn in as president on January 20. Hear him, “The time has come to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness..”   It looked like he was speaking to us here who do not know what being free means, that it is the only route to peace.

I said then that Obama would do his work as president of the United States of America, not president for Africa.

I think I am being proved wrong, or right, depending on how you look at it.

At the press conference which university students from all over France and neighbouring countries attended, after he had spoken at the European Parliament, Obama referred to his roots, to where his father was born.

Let me tell you. Obama himself was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii, but that is not where he should be said to have come from.

He is a native of his father’s birthplace, Nyangoma-Kogelo, Siaya District, Kenya. That father, Barack Hussein Obama, (God bless him for his act of neglect) left his son after two years of his birth.

Ibelieve that he had performed his cosmic brief and so had to leave! If he had taken his son to his home in Kenya, that young boy would never have accessed the opportunity that the environments he needed to mature in would have provided.

Kenya, like many other countries in Africa, has not grown enough to appreciate what it takes to find joy in affecting positively the human condition. When he spoke in France, he was unhappy at what was happening in his home in Africa.

He did not explode in words by attacking our lack of capacity to take care of things that are there in the public domain.  That would wait until the press conference in Italy.

There, he spoke again about Kenya and how that country was slightly ahead of South Korea in the early 60s.

See what South Korea has done and see the depth Kenya has sunk. When he left Italy, he came to Ghana.

I knew that Obama must all along have been agonizing over what Nigeria has been doing to Africa, to the Black Race by those who know no shame.

We, the promise of Africa at independence, have moved up the ladder of failed states. We were number 17 in 2007, number 18 in 2008 (a slight improvement!) but this year we are number 15 where Somalia is number one, Zimbabwe number two, Kenya number 14 and Ghana number 124!

The United States is number 159, the UK number 161 and Norway which leads the pack of states studied is first as number 177.

I have said and will continue to say so that Obama is the president of America, not the president for Africa.

Before he moves out of the shores of the United States, he is briefed on everything he has to know, and visiting any African country was one of such briefs. See what the State Department said in a 2008 report on human rights record of Nigeria, a key yardstick for measuring how democratic you are and what you do or are ready to do about the human condition.

The report is quoted in Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia.

It said, “ the most significant human rights problems (in Nigeria) are: extrajudicial killings and use of excessive force by security forces; impunity for abuses by security forces; arbitrary arrests; prolonged pretrial detention; judicial corruption and executive influence on the judiciary; rape, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees and suspects; harsh and life-threatening prison and detention centre conditions; human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labour; societal violence and vigilante killings; child labour, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; female genital mutilation (FGM); domestic violence; discrimination based on sex, ethnicity, region and religion; restrictions on freedom of assembly, movement, press, speech and religion; infringement of privacy rights; and the abridgement of the right of citizens to change the government.

Under the Shari’a penal code that applies to Muslims in 12 northern states, offenses such as alcohol consumption, homosexuality, infidelity and theft carry harsh sentences, including amputation, lashing, stoning and long prison terms.”

Tell me, if you have such a report in front of you and you come from a continent where the country under reference harbours the largest concentration of black persons on earth, has resources, both human and material, that only a few countries in the whole world can boast of, has a climate which provides opportunity for every one of the 36 constituent states to grow its food and feed others; where at least 15 of its states have populations and facilities that Ghana cannot boast of; but where the national motto is abuse of office and daylight robbery of the national till – if you were confronted with such dirty and heartbreaking reports of what those who say they are human beings do to and about the people they govern, would you not pity Obama that America has offered a pedestal for him to have achieved the height he attains, what does not seem feasible in the most populous country that had most promise for the growth of Africa!

To now come to Africa and visit Ghana that had learned from the mistakes of history, why would he not throw barbs at the one which knows nothing because it had perfected the art of using its memory to forget with, not to remember with!

Why would he not tell us boldly that we are a stinking ulcer on humanity’s foot;  that even if the colonial masters enslaved and exploited us, some 50 years out of those colonial doldrums are more than enough for us to have learnt the most important lessons man can have – that for you to build a city, please first build the man, not just one man, but every man because everyone has a mission on earth and you would not know whose path you would derail because of your neglect.

We must learn the lessons that are shouting right at us for absorption.  We must do the absorbing, or perish


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