I love Obama for what he stands for, and for what he has done, to get to where he is today. And I will most likely vote for him for those reasons, not because he is black, like me.
But this is not how some of my countrymen in Nigeria see him. He’s their brother; he’s black; he’ll save Africa!
One of those people is Ndidi Okereke-Onyiuke, the Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Ndidi is the Chairman of the Africans for Obama 2008, a Nigeria-based pro-Obama group. Speaking in Lagos while inaugurating ‘Africans for Obama Presidency’ in June, she said, “the policies of Obama will have effect for Africa, not only the world, because he believes in Africa.”
On August 12, Ndidi and her friends held a fund raising dinner for Obama at the MUSON Center Lagos.
The price tag?
About $2,500 to 20,000USD per plate!
Their goal is to raise 100 million Naira (about 1 million USD) to mobilize the five million Africans in United States to support and vote for Obama in November.
There are many things wrong with this. Even if there are five million Africans with American voters registration cards, is it legal for a non-American pressure group to embark on political advocacy projects within America?
Was Ndidi and co aware of “The US Foreign Election Campaign Act (FECA) 1974?”
I don’t think so.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits any foreign national from contributing, donating or spending funds in connection with any federal, state, or local election in the United States, either directly or indirectly. It is also unlawful to help foreign nationals violate that ban or to solicit, receive or accept contributions or donations from them. Persons who knowingly and willfully engage in these activities may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.
One thing is clear about most Nigerians, including our dear Ndidi: An obsession for foreign ready-made products. This obsession manifests in every facet of life in Nigeria. Now some have seen Obama as a prime object for that obsession.
Did Obama get to be the first American black presidential candidate because he had people like Ndidi supporting him?
Wouldn’t it be great if the Ndidis of Nigeria (and their rich friends) re-channel their obsessive energy toward something more practical and relevant to their immediate society?
Rather that obsessing over an ‘American Obama’, how about helping to create a local system that would produce a ‘Nigerian Obama’, say within the next five years?