preparing for victory

yesterday, i read this incredibly interesting article on theRoot regarding Rev. Jesse Jackson's desire to castrate (yes, castrate) Barack Obama for not paying more attention to the needs of African Americans in the US. I would encourage you to take a few minutes to read the article. But in case you're short of few minutes, the author, Jack White, sees an Obama presidency as a major victory for members of the African diasposra, not only in the US, but globally. White contends that just like the rest of America, blacks especially, do not know what to do with an African American presidency. In essence, they have spent so much time fighting for a cause,that they, including Jesse Jackson, have no idea how to handle victory. (Or rather, Jackson, like the honourable Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is a victim of the "Jealous Negro Syndrome.")

I (and I am sure the author of the article, too) realizes that an Obama presidency is not the end all of race relations issues - but it is definitely a huge move forward for blacks in America and the rest of the United States. But when we finally do get to that blessed day where "...little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls..." - what will we do with it? Before answering that, what does that blessed day even look like?

As I was going over the comments from my last post, StandTall reminded me of the sort of jaded-ness that Nigerians at home and abroad have of October 1. Its been almost 48 years since that October 1st victory and it we have not yet been able to handle its aftermath. Its seems like our forefathers failed to adequately prepare for this victory. Its the same type of mistake that Bush made of the Iraq invasion and the mistake that we sometimes make in our own personal lives when we spend years struggling towards a goal and fail to plan the next step. What does our own victory look like and how do we prepare for it?

I definitely think that Nigeria is on the road (very slowly, though) to improving itself in several different arenas - politics, health, business, etc.
We have a achieved democracy (or some version thereof)...now what?
We have passed a National Health Bill...now what?
Constant electricity is slated to come in 2011...then what?
If these are some of the victories we have achieved or are looking forward to, what's next on the agenda? What does our Nigeria's victory look like and how do we prepare for it?

Sometimes I wonder if the fact that we don't know what our victory looks like hints at our deeper personal and national expectations.

19 comments:

  1. SOLOMONSYDELLE said...:

    oh my goodness. This is exactly what i was thinking about just now!!!!! I was wondering who I could talk to to get a handle on what the post-independence Nigeria was supposed to look like according to those who fought for independence. What plans did they have? What objectives/goals did they set?

    I was wondering about this because I feel that present day Nigeria does not have a vision/goal that has been shared with everyone from the bottom to the top. A vision that we all own and can work together to achieve.

    Anyway, to me, the Nigerian 'victory' is a country with free education (from nursery to university), free health care (for children, pregnant women, young teens and the elderly), free electricity, a vibrant democracy and justice system that puts the needs of the underprivileged before those of the wealthy. A nation where men and women have the opportunity to achieve their personal dreams and live in harmony and respect with their neighbors regardless of differences in sex, religion, tribe, sexual orientation or ideology. Blah, blah, blah....

    But, in reality, just give me good roads, less corruption, affordable food, affordable healthcare, education and efficient energy/power generation to light homes so students can do their homework. And less bureacracy, so that Nigerians, who God have blessed with the unique gift of hustlability, can legally and efficiently empower themselves via entrepreneurship and personal wealth generation. Yup, give me and all Nigerians the basics and a system that will allow us to create the nation we deserve.

  1. "In essence, they have spent so much time fighting for a cause,that they, including Jesse Jackson, have no idea how to handle victory"-That right there is the truth. Jesse Jackson and his choir, need to realize that Obama is NOT Al Sharpton. If he is going to be successful, he will have to run as an American candidate, not an African-American candidate. I hope that issues like whether Obama is 'black' enough or reaching out to the black community enough, will not stand in the way of his getting the support he needs...
    In bits and fragments, I think most Nigerians share similar visions. They are very simple things: constant electricity, bettr education, etc. As these visions begin to become a reality, we will begin to have new dreams, and new visions. Thus, as a nation, our vision is evolving and will continue to evolve.
    I must say, on of the things I appreciate about your blog is your constant positivity with regards to Nigeria. It is a breath of fresh air...

  1. ...yo, this post is ill on soooo many levels...my head is kind of in a different place...i'll come back and post a proper comment when my head is a little more settled...but, interesting and thought-provoking indeed!!!...

  1. pamela said...:

    though the candidate I was rooting for didn't win(ahem, ahem, cough, cough)...I was very concerned when I read the comments made by Mr. Jackson. Obama, talking down on people....my first thought was, is this guy for real? Anyways sha, post independence Nigeria was kinda going in the right direction till we had some corrupt people placed there. Yes, we might hail Mr. Yaradua but I hope that the next election that takes place in Nigeria will be performed properly. No difference between Mugabe's presidency and Yaradua's presidency in terms of how the election was conducted. The only difference is that Yaradua knows that he 419'd his way in there but he is trying to effect change and policies...
    .....oh my gosh, what was the question.

  1. Naapali said...:

    very insightful post. now I have to go off and wonder what that victory looks like and then what?

  1. anonymaus said...:

    I would not have believed of such a thing existing amongst African Americans, but there you go.

    Is this what African American press have to say? Is this the support Mr Obama needs from his one of his core constituents? ( I think not). Obviously, there will be a few disgruntled individuals out there, but I find it hard to believe that a significant proportion of black America will be-grudge Mr Obama for the strides he has taken towards becoming president. It is comments like that, that cause black people not to be taken seriously (the world over).

    Another point is that African-Americans only form something like 12% of the population. Should Barack Obama be successful in his bid to become president, he has to cater for all his constituents, and has to walk a fine balancing act. So people shouldn't expect the world from him, because he won't be in a position to deliver all they want. I'm sure he will do his best and will not neglect them. People should be realistic as to what he can do for them.

    Nneoma, all this talk of Nigeria's victory and how does one prepare for it. Nigeria is a long, long way from realising this victory. The basics of life still haven't been dealt with. The ordinary citizen is suffering. I respectfully have to disagree with you that the country is gradually improving. On paper maybe the figures look good, but on the ground it is entirely a different matter.

    The quality of life is poor and to be honest, no serious strides have been made to arrest this situation.

    Have a look at this article:
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200807150351.html

    The money that is made goes into "prestige" projects, that really aren't the most pressing concerns right now.
    Please read these articles
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200807150379.html
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200807141189.html

    For one reason or another dealing with issues like proper sanitation, healthcare, proper education, infrastructure and the incumbent maintenance that is required to keep them working properly are neglected and are not seen as sexy.

    I was shocked to come across this article:
    Poor state of healthcare in the country: http://allafrica.com/stories/200807160592.html

    Yet states are talking about flyovers and six lane highways, I can't understand the powers that be there. The people also don't help themselves by failing to question authority, when it is obvious that sometimes they are wrong, for instance the case of polio in Northern Nigeria. Why can't they vaccinate their children, to avoid unnecessary deaths?

    Read this:
    Inertia to medical progress: http://allafrica.com/stories/200807141058.html

    Did you know that Nigeria's population is almost nearly half of that of America's, but the land mass is only 1/10 th of that of America. This makes for a very cramped and uncomfortable existence. Imagine what America would be like with a population density of Nigeria's, you're right, not very nice and now imagine a low standard of living thrown into the mix and a weak and feeble state to preside over things. Then you see that Nigeria is almost of the picture.

    The government is making an attempt to educate people about family planning, but that seems to be falling on deaf ears.

    You can read this:
    Family planning in Nigeria: http://allafrica.com/stories/200807140911.html

    Erosion due to poor agricultural practices and over-population are destroying the land beneath people's feet.

    Please read the article on land erosion:
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200807150068.html

    Yes, there is a new breed of super-rich people in Nigeria, but their numbers are almost insignificant compared to the overall population and their wealth certainly doesn't trickle down to the masses.

    For instance:
    Dangote's wealth http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6572289.stm

    Obaigbena's rosey view of Nigeria: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/10/business/worldbusiness/10nigeria.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=nigeria&st=nyt&oref=slogin

    But these highly selective and buoyant views, should not distort the real picture.

    I think before people start getting carried away with talking of victory and the like. They should make sure that the basics of life are available for the average citizen (that would be real victory, that would be worth guarding for fear of slipping back to the bad old days). Nigeria has not made it in any respect of the word, until the "boring" basics are addressed to allow people to live a dignified existence, then all talk of victory should be put on the back burner.

    It is a sad indictment on the people of Nigeria, that after 48 years of independence, little or no progress has been made.

  1. I read an article about that Jesse Jackson thing, and to say the least, I am deeply upset at the statement. The fact that he would look to "tear down" an extremely viable candidate that would definitely help the black position in America.

    About Nigeria...yes, it's sad to see how little has actually changed since independence, and in ways how things have actually gotten worse. Failure to plan is a huge issue, but lets hope that things can be worked out sometime in the future.

  1. Doja said...:

    Jesse jackson needs help, really needs help. I think he might be jealous of OBAMA.

  1. Jaycee said...:

    That's a very deep reflection u've got there...even after our victories, what next? Preparation is key...or else even if Rome wasn't built in a day, it may fall in one day!

  1. ...salient points...i think also that too many people plan and develop lofty goals and even the strategy to attain them...but they forget to also develop means for maintaining the goal, once achieved and even evaluating whether the goal still serves the purpose it set out to serve...i could set the goal of becoming a doctor to help people and make money...i become a doctor but become sour because i work long hours, spend a lot of money on insurance and can't enjoy the little money that i get to keep...i didn't factor/plan in how i would maintain the goal...as a great friend of mine says all the time, 'balance is a verb'...so is change...

  1. nneoma said...:

    hmmm, did i not respond to the comments? i guess not. here it goes

    @SSD - i wonder what our forefathers must have wished for the future of Nigeria and what they would say now. The only "forefather" i have actually heard from is Ojukwu (forefather of Biafra), but honestly, he needs to go and sit down.

    I hear you on what you see as a nigerian victory....but what about afterwards. free education - we may be able to attain it - but is it sustainable? does it ensure a highly education workforce or a large group of people with basic skills and then what? free healthcare - but what does such a system look like. its nice to achieve goals, victories, but how do you maintain such. Independence was a particularly victory at one point in time. but the fact that we have not been able to achieve much else since then (relatively) kind of weakens that initial victory.

    @nigeriandramaqueen - true. Barack Obama is not Al Sharpton. And I think the American black community is so used to a belligerent Sharpton-like leader because they are not used to what an American leader, who happens to be black, looks like. Though I think this was the victory they sought all along.

    @gnigeriana - "ill" - i got a kick out of that

  1. nneoma said...:

    @pamela - yeah, like I said, I knew you were a Clinton supporter for some time now. anyway, that feud was in the past. i wonder if our forefathers factored in the corruption angle? hmmm

    @everyone loves a naija girl - I agree, planning is needed

    @doja - i agree with the jealous negro syndrome diagnosis

  1. nneoma said...:

    @naapali - when you, please share, because I'm trying to figure that out too both at the national and personal level

    @jaycee - thanks, i agree.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @anonymaus - sorry for accidentally skipping your post. i was scrolling too fast. But i think your comments rivals that of my post and then some so i needed to start a new comment to address all your points.

    I am in no way saying that Nigeria is a utopia or even close to one. what i am saying is that now, as nigerians are starting to take their destiny into their own hands for the better we should not make the mistake of our forefathers which is to set a goal, but have no way of sustaining/maintaining it.

    by the way, i looked briefly at the articles you posted. it would take a separate post to address each of your concerns. though, the issues about the polio vaccine in northern Nigeria was addressed in this post (http://pyoowata.blogspot.com/2008/05/throwbacks.html)
    I guess from there you can see why the polio issue is bit more complex than simply telling northerns to suck it up and take their shots.

    Personally, I think boring victories, once achieved, are victories nonetheless. Failure will come if we acheive these victories without a plan to sustain them.

  1. nneoma said...:

    @gnigeriana - thanks for bringing up the other aspect of my post - which is preparing for victories in our own lives. I have personally witnessed many (including myself) fall in the trap of working for a particular goal in the lives in and in the process of fighting in the trenches, they become disilliusioned by what they were actually fighting for. Like someone said, nothing is more important than detailed planning that accounts not only for how to get there, but what to do once you finally achieve that victory.

    @nigeriandramaqueen - i've heard you, and I responded. thanks for checking up on the blog tho.

  1. anonymaus said...:

    By all means then planning is necessary to achieve a goal or goals and more planning is required to sustain it.

    You are absolutely correct, but Nigeria currently is nowhere and is going nowhere fast. It's like most people you speak to there are oblivious to the fact that the world is racing on, and Nigeria is like 100 years behind and falling further behind.

    People there tend to hide behind stupid and flimsy excuses to account for the backward nature of the country and it's people.
    1) Like we are the largest (in terms of population), country in Africa (like that is something to be proud of, as if having as many children as possible will somehow turn Nigeria into America. Too many people can result in self-destruction, an overburdened environment incapable of sustaining the life that dwells within it.
    2) We are Africas largest oil producer. That was true but no longer, Angola have now overtaken Nigeria in that regard, besides the oil that is extracted is exported unrefined at a lower cost, rather than refining it and deriving more income. The unrefined crude is then re-imported at an inflated cost. Also, oil and other non-renewable minerals in general are a finite resource.

    That can be no basis for greatness. People have to be humble, see the big picture, plan and be organised and orderly, then quietly work towards meeting those goals (less bragging and boasting). So yes, Nneoma, Nigerians must take planning seriously and stick to the plans in order to progress as a nation.

    I will look at your earlier post about Northern Nigeria and it's aversion to vaccinations.

    Thanks for the reply, your subjects are definitely interesting as are your points of view.

  1. anonymaus said...:

    Nneoma
    I came across this article, which reminded me of what you had said about the importance of planning. It's about Ghana, quietly and assiduously constructing a plan of how they can best utilise their oil revenues. They have looked East and witnessed the nonsense that is occuring in Nigeria and have wisely decided to put some checks in place to avoid them becoming the laughing stock of the oil-producing world, God bless them.

    Here is the link.

    http://www.blacklooks.org/2008/08/
    avoiding_the_slippery_road_.html

  1. Kush said...:

    "We need Unity in the Black Community" U.N.I.T.Y like the Queen would say. I remember the comments of Angela Bassett when Halle Berry won the oscar for Monsters Ball. She said Halle had prostituted herself for the award. Angela being a previous nominee but non winner should have been more conscious about how her comments would be perceived. Jealous Negro Complex? I'll let you be the judge