As early as 4am on November 5 Nigerian time, I woke up and tuned to the BBC. My aim was not to merely keep up with my normal routine but to be able to witness the declaration of Obama’s victory first hand rather than be told by a third party. A BBC reporter was at a venue in Arizona where John McCain and some of his supporters had gathered in anticipation of the results of the elections. The result however, came earlier than I had expected and I had it first from McCain himself. The BBC reporter announced that McCain was on his way to the podium to give a speech and since I have not heard the result declared, I thought McCain was going to speak about something else. McCain on climbing the stage told his supporters that he had just spoken to Barack Obama a short while ago. During the speech the Republican candidate said he congratulated Obama for his victory at the polls. I screamed and jump up from my bed. Obama the African-American had become the next President of the United States of America.
Obama, in his acceptance speech, which came later, underscored the fact that his election has proven that anything is possible in the US. Yes, the US has led the world to understand that anything is possible. The fulfillment of Martin Luther’s dream came earlier than many had thought. Martin Luther foresaw the gradual fading away of the line that divided the races in the US.
The news of Obama’s victory was relayed alongside other stories. There was also the story of suicide bombings in Iraq and the war in eastern Congo. Since the Civil Rights Movements, the US had grown from racial segregation to a stage where white people could vote a black man to become the President of the United States. Thus Obama is truly a symbol of change and whom people from all parts of the world supported. He is hence a global figure that will be expected to lead the world to overcome the problems of sectarian differences that saw people fly planes to buildings and killing thousands, a problem that has led to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan killing hundreds of thousands of people.
Obama could also be that symbol of change that can lead the world to overcome global poverty and hunger. A problem that has led to the type of wars in Liberia, Sudan, Angola, sierra Leone, and many other parts of the world.
It happened that the US, a country whose presidency Obama had won, is largely responsible for the causes of global warming. Obama could also be that symbol of change that will lead the world to overcome this next big threat after terrorism.
Obama’s political victory might be just the first stage in a series of unthinkable changes that will finally remake our world.