Since the elections, there have been death threats issued against Obama, and reports have come in of significant increases in traffic on white supremacist websites. For such people, the emergence of Barack Hussein Obama as President of “the country their white daddies fought and died for” is the ultimate kick in the teeth. What made his victory even more annoying is that without the massed support of white folks like themselves, apparent traitors to the cause.
Among this fringe of right wing lunatics are God-fearing folk, the Evangelical Christians, the ones who believe most ardently in miracles. Were the white portion of the electorate composed solely or mainly of these people, Obama would never have won the Democratic Party’s nomination, let alone the election proper. Which brings me to my country.
Some days after the election, before the euphoria had begun to fade, I engaged in a conversation with a certain young lady of Pentecostal inclination, who, to my mind are the Nigerian equivalent of American Evangelicals. And she told me, most vehemently, that Obama’s victory was “ordained by God” and for that reason, and that reason alone, he had won the election. She went further to say that a certain Nigerian pastor had prophesized that a black man would rule America, and the victory was proof that the pastor was perhaps God’s closest confidant. Never mind that the same pastor had once “prophesized” that Baba would not complete his second term in office.
After recovering from my initial slack-jawed amazement, I asked her if she had ever heard of Dr. Martin Luther King (a pastor himself) and his “I Have a Dream” speech in which he had looked forward to the events of November 4 some 40 years ago. She said, and I quote directly, “That one is his own.” At that point, you could have knocked me over with a quark. Never mind the stark irrationality that formed her opinions. Her views, for me, displayed one of Nigeria’s biggest problems.
America operates, and is guided, by the doctrine that every man who wishes to make something of his life is free to do so, and not only that, he is free to oppose any person who tries to take away his right to the pursuit of happiness. Within certain legal bounds, of course. A central theme of Monarchies is that the King (or Queen) has been appointed by God, and is the representative of God on Earth. Thus, disobedience to the crown is equal to disobedience to God, and shall attract severe penalties on Earth and in Heaven. The resounding rejection of this theme is what created America. And throughout history, it has been shown that where the wishes of God directly oppose the wishes of men, men have their way. The Bible says that at a point, the Israelites turned to their Prophet who was their de facto ruler, and said to him “We want a King, a man who shall rule us.” The Prophet told them God was their King, and they basically told him, “That one is his own.” They got their King.
Nigerians are always too willing to subsume their wishes and their will, and leave everything “for God.” It never crosses their minds that nations make progress by basically saying, “X and Y is what we wish to achieve, and if God is with us right now, fine. If not, He’ll come around to seeing things our way eventually.” A while ago, Baba had the balls to tell Nigerians that only God could solve our problems. This coming from a man who had every opportunity to solve the said problems his own God damned self, but chose to do nothing. If God gave you free will, are you not expected to exercise it? Are you supposed to say, every single day, that rather than exercise your God-given will, you’d rather wait for God to come and solve your problems? When Abacha died, Nigerians jubilated, and many said that God himself had come to remove our problem. I say that Abacha, exercising his free will, took Viagra and had a heart attack, which killed him. Perhaps my people will tell me that God is the CEO of Pfizer?
In 2002, Baba delayed announcing whether he would run for a second term as President on the grounds that he was awaiting direction from God. So, it must have been God, then, who thwarted his ambition for a third term in office, abi? The courageous men and women of the Senate and House of Reps and AIT either had nothing to do with it, or were God’s tools. I’m sure if they had all sat on their asses, God would have given them the words and perhaps operated the cameras. Especially seeing as Nigeria is God’s own special constituency development project.
I’m sure the young lady mentioned earlier believes that if Obama had similarly sat on his arse, or misyarned as he saw fit, or run around buck naked every day for the last two years, he would still have become President because God had ordained it and a pastor had prophesized it. That Obama is, perhaps, the most inspirational political figure of the last 50 years, had nothing to do with it. That Obama is perhaps the most gifted orator of his generation also had nothing to do with it. That Obama ran the most disciplined political campaign of the modern era also had nothing to do with it. And that Obama one day determined that he would reach for the highest office in his land irrespective of all obstacles and challenges, and Bible-thumping Evangelicals, also had nothing to do with it.
In Nigeria we are waiting for God to give us good roads, 24 hour electricity, pipe borne water, fix our educational system, provide us with good leaders, and tackle corruption. However, when the most corrupt people in our country are the biggest contributors to religious causes, ensuring that religious leaders continuously pray that God will continue to grant them increase, and when that prayer requires God to permit them to continue to steal from the people, how then is God supposed to tackle corruption?
I despair for my country.