I have heard that name enough to last me four lifetimes. It was on every wall, wet and dry; on every lip, young and old; in every joke, sound and lewd; they would even love to hear his name in church. When I would sit at the back of the old ‘trotro’, held at the seams by rivets, he was the centre of every gossip; when I wanted to hear some rejuvenating ‘adadamu’ from my transistor radio for a change, his name would be in every news headline. All of a sudden, he was the world’s most famous human being, and his name sold faster than ‘Kofi Brokeman’ or the hitherto unequaled ‘Graphic and Times’. Before you could say ‘JAcK’, and add whatever, his name would have been spelt out in full: Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe, just maybe, some children might have been named after him: Osama Bin Obama, Saddam Hussein Obama. Obama here, Obama there, Obama this, Obama that, Obama Says. ‘Maaba?’ Obama! ‘Namo ji lε?’ Obama! ‘Mini yaa nö?’ Obama! ‘Mini nε?’ Obama! I have been silent on this phenomenon that rocked the whole world, but finally I break my hymen of silence.
The Invited States of America had to go to the polls. The old bush was on fire and almost reduced to ash. We had to officially retire and the old order, to give room for the transfusion of fresh blood into the veins of our multinational body. A new lid to be placed on top of our intercultural melting pot. Beside this exercise, everything else was second rate.
Above the tug of two political ideologies, parties and personalities, I saw two worlds and two generations, striving for dominance. After all those years of struggle, Father Africa, as part of his Image Reconstruction and Enhancement Programme(IREP), managed to confidently present one of his sons as a prospective to our common throne. Africa versus the rest; this promised to be a venture worth our historical while.
Today, we know the outcome, and there could be no better time to be who we are, proud sons and daughters of Father and Mother Africa. We rule the world at last, but my joy would even be sweeter, if those kinsmen sent away in 1914 and down the years, whose blood and tears and sweat fertilized the egg of struggle which has hatched our glory and made our voice heard: Nat Turner, Du Bois, Luther King Jnr, Nkrumah, and Garvey. Indeed, a child is nothing, it is only the glory of his forebears that the world sees and tolerates in him. Now it is clear that something good can come out of Africa; that we have always been a bright continent in hiding, for this appointed time.
I wonder if the best still comes from the West. A river forgets is source soon dries up. Our gold and timber, cocoa and labour, made their glories possible. United States of America, still from Africa, ‘Obaa ma’spiritual illumination, economic redemption, and political direction – that is the African testimony and miracle, Obama!