Like the last time Obama won in 2008, I am in Nigeria when his victory was confirmed after winning Ohio. It was about 5.12am, Lagos time.
About a week after the election, the news seems to have faded, at least in this part of the world. For many people, this time around didn’t have the same fierceness as the last one anyway. Many who seemed passionate about it either didn’t know why they should care this time around since “Obama hasn’t done anything significant for Africa since the last four years”, or have strong opinions on the president’s stance on gay marriage and abortions. Somehow, it seems that the GOP’s message of social conservatism has found its way out of America which has now rejected into every other part of the world open to imported beliefs.
I have had a number of short but bewildering conversations with Nigerians about the election. One of the most bizarre went somewhat like this:
“Obama is the anti-Christ.”
“It has been signed. By 2013, everyone will now have the mark of the beast. It’s Obama’s law.
“What on earth are you talking about?”
“You didn’t hear? This program that he signed… this… Medicare. It’s the end of the world we’ve been warned about.”
I gave up a few minutes later when it became virtually impossible to get past a perception that the president’s healthcare law was anything but that. A few months ago, under the bridge at Oshodi, I had come across some “calendars” and posters sold by local artists in which the president was portrayed with the numbers 666 on his head. Many of the other inscriptions on the poster said that the president signed a bill into law in 2009 that will mandate people to henceforth take a mark before they can be attended to… This was new to me, and till date, I still haven’t figured out how this piece of crap became news, and has now grained currency even among supposed educated folks.
I blame the cost of internet access.
In any case, back to reality, I suspect that the same reason many smart Americans elected Barack Obama is the same reason some smart Nigerians now dislike him: oil exports to the US from Nigeria has declined every year since 2009. As seen in this newspaper headline, the US economy is now on its way to some form of energy independence. If not for anything else, this piece of news should at least convince anyone who has any doubts that the president puts his country first. And that makes him a right choice for the country.