E O EkeFriday, July 31, 2015




his week witnessed the visit of Obama to Africa. As expected, he focused on Kenya his ancestral home land and East and Central Africa.

It was a spectacular sight looking at two black men from different countries of common heritage, but representing different civilisations, cultures and values making history on world stage. It was true evolution made visible and, an indisputable evidence that nurture more than nature determines what a human being becomes.

Looking at Obama and Kenyatta, reminded me of Clinton and Blair. This a president of America who is not white talking to the president of Kenya who is black, but has different values, even though he has had similar education.

Obama's Kenyan and Au speeches are very welcome. It is only sad, that Kenya and Africa waited for Obama to give them the mirror to see what they have had on their wrists all along.

African leaders needed the frank and honest speech, even though some of what was said sounded patronising and delivered in condescending tone. It was not a speech, but a headmaster's address to teachers at their conference. It did not sound like an expert talking to his peers.

Nonetheless, Obama was a welcome departure from the tradition and an opportunity for many African leaders to hear what many patriotic and enlightened Africans have been saying for years about the cancers of abuse of power, contempt for due process, the rule of law and corruption.

Obama reiterated to African leaders that Politicians who abuse power sow the seeds of instability which may consume them.

He diagnosed the problem, but the challenge is how to afford and administer the treatment. He rightly identified education of all, and stressed the need for women to be treated equal as men. More than once, he alluded to equal treatment of all and the need to abandon traditions that hold people back.

I was impressed by the speech.

Arrogant and Corrupt Nigerian leaders should study the speech and understand that America has an interest in Africa, but her focus at the moment is not on Nigeria or west Africa, but on Kenya and East and Central Africa.

Nevertheless, there is enough in Obama's speech to help then move the Nigeria and the west African region forward.

His speech could not have been delivered at a better time. It was the day a Libyan court sentenced the son of former dictator Mummar Gaddafi to death. Members of Gaddafi's family, which once controlled Libya are today killed, living in exile or facing trial. A lesson which those who cling to power at all cost in corruption should do well to learn.

Nigerian politician who are only interested in feathering their nest by abuse of their position, should do well to study and understand what Obama said in his speech. He said that America is interested in good governance, human rights, equality and against corruption and abuse of power.

America would be interested in Nigeria and include her in the itinerary of her president trips to Africa, if Nigerian leaders demonstrate that they share the same values, which are pivotal to development and advancement.

Lastly, one irony that was not lost on me as Africans celebrate Obama's visit is the fact that, were Obama the son of a Nigerian man with a Kenyan woman living in Kenya, he would never have been considered Kenyan enough to hold any political office, talk less of being elected president.

In Nigeria, Igbos born in Lagos are not Yoruba enough and Yorubas born in Aba are not Igbo enough. Africa cannot developed, if the poison of ethnic bigotry is not neutralised.

Obama is another reason why Africa must end ethnic prejudice and discrimination and embrace politics of values, equality and human rights. These are the true message of the sermon according to Obama.