By Femi Aribisala
In the past one year, he has spent a great deal of time criss-crossing Nigeria, bringing hope to the despondent; presenting ideas as weapons; educating our future.
Barack Obama was just a first-term senator from Illinois when he had the “audacity of hope” to run for president of the United States. It was not only an uphill task; it was an impossible one. To succeed, he had to confront, in the first instance, a principality of the American political firmament in the person of Hilary Clinton, wife of a former president, in the bid to secure the nomination of the Democratic Party.
As far as his wife, Michelle, was concerned, Barack did not stand a chance. In the first place, he is an African-American. No black man had ever become president of the United States. In the second, he was a greenhorn; neither well-known nor well-liked by the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party. Michelle was convinced Barack’s run for the presidency would be nothing but a waste of time and resources.
So Barack asked two of his strategists to have a talk with her. They sat her down and told her the innovations they had devised for defeating Hilary Clinton against all the odds. She listened respectfully and intently. By the time they finished, they had made a believer out of her. She became convinced that Barack would not only secure the nomination hands down, but also go all the way to win the prize of the presidency.
That was the birth of a siren that rang all through the United States for the next few years: “Yes We Can.” The rest, as they say, is history. Barack Obama went on to become the 44th president of the United States. He was one of America’s youngest presidents, and the very first African-American to achieve that feat. He not only won the election handsomely in 2008, he was re-elected for a second term in 2012.
Fierce Urgency of Now
Kingsley Moghalu is the Nigerian Barack Obama: a youthful upstart who dared to confront the ancient juggernauts of the Nigerian political establishment. When he started his journey, he met skeptics along the highway. Many were convinced the APC and the PDP are too entrenched to be dislodged from their traditional supremacy. Others felt his timing was misplaced: Why could he not wait until 2023 when there would be a more open field without an incumbent president?
But it is increasingly clear, from the popular response to his candidacy and from the incredible coalitions he has been able to make, North and South of the Niger, that Kingsley Moghalu is about to confound all expectations by not only dislodging an incumbent president, but by also becoming the very first Nigerian president of South-East extraction.
Like Obama, I believe Moghalu’s audacity was impelled by a thinking similar to that of the late Martin Luther King, who believed that, in all cases, tomorrow is always too late. Said King: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”
When a building is on fire, you don’t wait till tomorrow to get the fire brigade; you become the fire brigade. Once an appendix has ruptured, there is no more time for prevaricating debate and discussion; the patient must be wheeled into the operating theatre for immediate surgery. This is where we find ourselves in Nigeria today. The country is not only sick; it has gone into a coma. Things have fallen apart and the center cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the land.
Out With the Old
We owe a depth of gratitude that, in contra-distinction from the odd-jobbers of the APC and the PDP, a man as dynamic, experienced and imaginative as Kingsley Moghalu has decided to come to the rescue of Nigeria.
Unlike the aged snake-oil salesmen of the two major parties who are busy trying to convince us that our poverty, insecurity and hopelessness is in some incredulous