Obama’s Re-Election: The Implication For Nigeria – By Emmanuel Onwubiko

President Barack Obama has coasted home with a Pyrrhic victory against his hard fighting Republican opponent in the November 6th 2012 presidential election-Governor Mitt Romney.

Barrack Hussein Obama, the first ever black President of the most powerful nation in the World in history, was born to a white American Mother-Ann Dunham, and a black Kenyan father- Barack Obama [Senior], a United States trained Economist. His both parents (now late) met as young college students at the University of Hawaii.

Obama who incidentally is one of the youngest persons to emerge President of the United States of America in 2008 at the age of 48 as the 44th President in United States of America, was educated in some of the best schools even though he grew up only with his mother since his father left them and returned to Kenya where he became a government economist before his demise reportedly in a car accident.

In a mini biographical sketch downloaded online, President Obama attended Columbia University, but found New York’s racial tension inescapable. He became a community organizer for a small Chicago church-based group for three years, helping poor South Side residents cope with a wave of plant closings. He then attended Harvard Law School, and in 1990 became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama reportedly turned down a prestigious judicial clerkship, choosing instead to practice civil-rights law back in Chicago, representing victims of housing and employment discrimination and working on voting-rights legislation. He also began teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, and married Michelle Robinson, a fellow attorney.

Eventually, Obama’s phenomenal spell in politics began when he was elected to the Illinois state senate, where his district included both Hyde Park and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side.

Little wonder then that Obama is seen as the friend of the poor especially when during the campaigns, his rich rival Governor Romney was caught on tape castigating poor Americans for dodging payment of tax and even stated that almost 47 percent of Americans don’t pay income taxes.

Obama’s re-election on November 6th 2012 could be considered a tough victory since he fought a very tasking electoral battle against one of America’s finest rich men and a former Governor Mr. Mitt Romney of the Republican party just as the election is now considered one of America’s most expensive electoral contests in history with over six billion United States Dollars going down the drain which in the estimation of a certain American economist interviewed by the Cable News Network (CNN) could comfortably be distributed to six out of every seven persons in the world at the rate of one United States Dollars per person. America’s campaign funding mechanisms are however water tight and transparent.

Substantially, the just concluded election was focused on the thematic issue of the declining economy of the United States even as the eventual winner and the incumbent President came under considerable pressure for failing to keep to virtually all of his noble electoral promises which he rode on to defeat senator John McCain of the Republican party in the 2008 presidential poll which became a landmark/watershed event for producing the first ever African- American president for the united States of America.

Few months before the November 6th 2012 poll, the influential The Economist magazine of the United States ruled out the possibility of President Obama’s re-election on merit considering what the editorial team saw as Obama’s colossal failure to deliver on any of his lofty electoral pledges since four years of becoming President.

For instance, the September 1st-7th 2012 edition of The Economist magazine reduced the reasons why Obama may lose his re-election bid into one major issue- for importantly failing to create new Jobs and save the United States economy from a free fall.

According to The Economist; “Three million more Americans are out of work than four years ago, and the national debt is $5trillion bigger. Partisan gridlock is worse than ever: healthcare reform, a genuinely impressive achievement, has become a prime source of rancor. Business folk are split over whether he dislikes capitalism or is merely indifferent to it. His global-warming efforts have evaporated. America’s standing in the Muslim world is no higher than it was under George W. Bush, Iran remains dangerous, Russia and China are still prickly despite the promised resets, and the prison in Guantanamo remains open.”

The Economist wrote further; “The defense of Mr. Obama’s record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse. He inherited an economy in free fall thanks to the banking crash and the fiscal profligacy that occurred under his predecessor; his stimulus measures and his saving of Detroit carmakers helped avert a second Depression; overall, he deserves decent if patchy grades on the economy. Confronted by obstructionist Republicans in Congress, he did well to get anything through at all. Abroad he has sensibly recalibrated American foreign policy. And there have been individual triumphs, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden.”

For us in Africa, Obama’s emergence as the first ever black American President was interpreted to mean that our continent and our largely impoverished citizens may witness advancement and development given that the United States apart from being the world’s richest economy also ranks as the largest trade partner of much of Africa.

Obama’s last four years has however being anything but good for Africa just as most analysts say Africa under Obama suffered the worst neglect in the framing and implementation of the United States foreign policy.

Andrew Beatty, an analyst who contributed a well researched work to the Africans review online was of the considered opinion that Africans never benefitted much from the last four years of the Obama administration.

Mr. Beatty recollected that when President Obama paid his first post election visit to Africa beginning with stop in the West African country of Ghana, the united States President told Africans in very lucid terms that as a man with African blood running in his veins, his administration would work to better the situation of the citizenry of Africa who are facing widespread poverty; corruption; terrorism; lack of proper democracy and totalitarianism. But did he fulfill thesewonderful solemn pledges? The writer replied in the negative.

Andrew Beatty however offered possible raison‘d’être for why Obama’s Africa’s dream are largely still unrealistic.

He wrote thus; “But as America’s Great Recession deepened, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan trundled on and the Arab Spring exploded, sub-Sahara Africa found itself in a familiar spot; on the back-burner.”

With his re-election, President Obama in his victory speech also indicated in very subtle way that Africa may indeed not benefit from his second term just as crude oil rich nations like Nigeria, Angola that currently rank as trading partners of the United States may lose out given that Obama has showed clear determination to free America from excessive dependency on foreign crude oil resources.

His second term may be used to developed alternative sources of energy such as the green energy and if this scientific aspiration is achieved, Africa’s and Nigeria’s prized asset-crude oil will inevitably witness a decline in international price. Already, political elite of Nigeria have reportedly stolen over $400 billion from crude oil revenue since the last three decades.

Addressing his supporters after his re-election was confirmed, President Obama said;

“Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together – reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.”

Writing under the catchy title of “The rich and the rest of us” The Economist edition of October 13th-19th 2012 also indicated that Obama’s second term would be devoted to solving the rising inequality in America and this disclosure is another indication that Africa may not witness much assistance from the Barack Obama’s second term because he has shown remarkable readiness to practice the wise saying that“Charity begins at home”.

The Economist magazine had written thus; “Over the past 30 years incomes have soared both among the wealthy and the ultra-wealthy. The higher up the income ladder, the bigger the rise has been. The result has been a huge, and widening, gap-financially, socially and geographically-between America’s elite and the rest of the country”.

What Barack Obama’s re-election should truly mean for Africa is that Africans must work hard to bring the needed changes in our collective fortunes by fighting corruption, mounting pressure on the political elite to abide by the tenets of accountability and transparency before looking up to the United States of America for the big brother assistance.

 

*    Emmanuel Onwubiko, Head, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, blogs@www.huriwa.blogspot.com.      

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