September 3, 2008


Obama’s day of glory
By Ben Nanaghan
Published: Monday, 1 Sep 2008
The bards will narrate in time to come. The folklorists will beam with pride as they tell the story of a country where a slave became a king.

Though Barack Obama is not the great grandchild of a slave but the present day America is the only country in the whole world where such a story is possible.

At exactly ten minutes past 3 ‘O‘ clock in the morning (Nigerian time) on 29th August 2008, Senator Barack Obama pronounced the words, ”I accept the Democratic Party nomination to run for President of the United States of America.”

The response to this acceptance speech was a deafening two minutes standing ovation from all the 76,000 people seated and about 10,000 (standing on the field) at the Bronco‘s Invesco Stadium at Denver-Colorado, venue of the 19th Democratic National Convention. For the records, the 1st Democratic National Convention took place in Baltimore in 1932.

The 2008 Democratic Party National Convention in Denver-Colorado will go down as the most defining moment, the most historic, the most glorious and the most emotionally edifying event in the annals of American history, for which President Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy would have been so proud. It was the day a Black American was nominated by a major American political party to run for the most exalted office in the world – the American presidency.

It was a day when tears flowed freely from both black and white cheeks – from those present at the venue and millions of others linked by the electronic media, which has been relaying American party national conventions live, since 1948. It was a day of sober soul searching. A day Ted Sorenson (late President John F. Kennedy‘s speech writer) calls ”a moment of fulfilled glory.” Rev. Jesse Jackson in a repentant mood confesses, ”I have a tear in my eye.” Tim wel D. Black, a civil rights survivor in his 90s, was asked what Rev. King would have said if he were alive. The now old firebrand said, ”We have overcome.”

Overcome indeed! It was also the 45th Anniversary of Martin Luther King‘s award winning speech, ”I have a dream,” in front of Abraham Lincoln‘s memorial in Washington DC on 28th August 1963, before an incredible 250,000 audience.

This victory is not only for Senator Barack Obama and his beautiful Michelle and children Malia (10) and Sasha (7). It is not a victory for America‘s Democratic Party either, neither is it a victory for America. It is a triumphant soul edifying victory for mankind.

For those up and coming civilizations, this is a great lesson to imbibe. Barack Obama is today, referred to as the Senator from the State of Illinois. He was neither born, grew up nor had his education there. He just decided to live and work there and today, he is a citizen of that state.

But here in Nigeria, a slave must die a slave. Till date, the Osu Caste system still operates with its attendant embarrassment in the eastern states of Nigeria.

I have lived and worked in Lagos for almost 30 years, but I can‘t even aspire to become a councilor because my name is not Adeyemi Arogundade. As it is in Lagos, so it is in all the 36 states of the federation, plus Abuja- the FCT.

By Obama‘s wonderful and epoch-making victory, the world should brace up for a gradual racial harmony that will encourage a global acceptance of man by man. A world that will be free of 2nd class citizens, a world that will accept his fellow man as a brother and fellow woman as a sister.

And if we take a cue from America‘s example in Denver-Colorado, it will not be long before mankind will interlock hands and sing with a united voice, the songs of freedom sung by Martin Luther King. I end with Martin Luther King‘s last sentence in his speech under reference, ”Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

May God bless the American Dream. May God bless Senator Barack Obama, the (44th) president of the USA.

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