This blog would like to congratulate President Barack Obama for his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States of America. At the same time it reflects on the lessons his achievement teaches us.
Today history is in the making for the millions of black people all over the world. Your presidency in the most powerful country in the world uplifts many people of the trodden race. You have made what many thought was impossible achievable. This has a number of lessons for the black people.
The first lesson goes to the African leaders. True leadership is about uniting the people not dividing them. The evils bedevilling Africa from poverty, disease, ignorance, illiteracy, war, hatred, bigotry, corruption, you name it is a result of false leadership. Obama has demonstrated that true leadership does not thrive on the misery of its people but on the hope and inspiration it brings to the people. On the other hand, African leaders have used all tactics in their possession to divide the people on ethnic, religion, and regional lines in order to get and remain in power. If Obama had listened to bigotry he would not have won the presidency. Through his actions and words he proved that the presidency was not about African-American turn but about the best candidate. How many times have we heard African leaders shout themselves hoarse “it our turn now”. By projecting himself as the best candidate, Obama won the hearts and minds of the people. True leadership is about winning the hearts and minds of the people and not preaching divisive hatred and fear.
President Obama has demonstrated that it is only through the cooperation of a people that their greatness can be attained. For him a great America is not black, white, Asian or latino. A great America is black, white, Asian and latino. It is a poor and rich, young and old America. You cannot exclude any one race or class and then claim greatness. On the other hand, African leaders are masters of exclusiveness. Their greatness comes from their race or ethnic group in exclusion of all the others.
President Obama has also proved that a great leader does not ally himself with bad and tainted leaders or persons. When Reverend Jeremiah Wright preached bigotry he denounced and rejected his prejudices. Obama said, "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies . . . I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright." A leader could have a big constituency of votes but that is not what matters to Obama. Integrity comes first. Our African leaders embrace even murderers.
The second challenge is to the African, black and all trodden people – complain about the wrongs done to you but do not embrace a victim attitude. Do not let anger and bitterness overtake you. Abhor the injustice suffered but do what you must do to uplift yourself. In Obama’s words, “never succumb to despair or cynicism; you must always believe that you can write your own destiny.” If Obama had emphasised his disadvantages, he would not have had the capacity to dream big and go for presidency. He would have consoled himself by saying “no African-American can ever win the presidency”. But he dreamt and his dream came true.