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10.04.2010 Feature Article

AFRICANS INTEREST IN A STRONG AMERICAN AND WORLD LEADER

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The President of United States of America Barack Obama has managed to triumph in the midst of adversity. A weakened or wounded presidency is no good for any country but selfish political ideologues to bring him down have no bound. There are some Africans like Obama at home and in Diaspora that let him know he is not “all that”. Nobody is asking them to give him a blank check but they better watch how many obstacles they place in his way to the detriment of all African middle and hard working communities.

Relatively, some African countries have resources that have been intentionally mismanaged in collusion with their foreign partners. The icy relations between them and Obama stems from a feeling of disappointment about a country like Nigeria that should be on its feet as donor helping other countries. Africa has remained in the dark because of insincere do-gooders that seek out selfish leaders known to be unscrupulous or “akotileta” in the discharge of their duties. Obama refuses to play along.

When we wanted steel industry, we got dislocated plants that became money sinkhole. In our search for power, we got thermal plants but no gas channeled to power them. Yet the gas is in abundant, being flared. Before the thermal stations could get gas, they are idle long enough to be in need of spare parts. Nigeria has oil and gas that are flared as waste to pollute our environment and our crude oil never has enough refineries. The way we are going, all revenues will be spent on imported petrol until our crude runs dry.

More than anything else, we need trading partners where we can exchange our goods and services on equal and fair basis. While it is true that Africans want what others want, it is important that policies directed to the enhancement of the middle, working and poor classes benefit us more at home and in Diaspora. Apart from the money sent home by Africans in Diaspora, their scholarships, acquired technical and goodwill projects targeting the poor in developing countries especially in time of disasters also benefit us.

If we have a world leader as the President of United States that is well grounded in the issues very close to African Americans and Africa because he experienced it, studied it and thinks that by reaching the poor he is reaching his people, fine. The last program or policy we need is the ones written in black for Africans only so that all types of extremist right wingers can have their fill bashing and deriding them as aids, hand outs and quotas.

Never mind that more money is looted out of Africa than coming back, any strong US President that is familiar and sympathetic to the issues that affect us at home is critical. There are also, African Americans that supported a wrong candidate during the election and now claim they want to hold Obama accountable. If others could do so, they reason it would be racist to discount their demands because they happen to be black.

It has only been just over a year that President Obama was elected in the United States of America. In spite of rocky moments from his opponents, he has led the world out of the worst economic downturn since the depression. A leader cannot be respected without strong economic base. No matter how strong militarily a country is, it needs economic viability to back it up. That is the President Africans need at home and abroad. Since Obama is ready to point out our leaders' weakness as General Colin Powel did calling Nigeria a country of schemers, looters are uncomfortable and hesitant.

After about a decade, America and Russia agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenal under Obama which is a big deal if we take into account the danger of mishap and diversion of needed resources from people in need. This has also sent a message that the world powers cannot be stock piling nuclear material while telling smaller countries to subject themselves to inspections from United Nation. We want nuclear generation to satisfy our increasing need for electricity, but not cursed ones like our steal and oil industries.

The largest tax cut for middle and working classes in US was put into place which the rich and other opponents claimed they had to pay for. When they got theirs from the previous administration in the middle of two wars, they took it kindly. Yet they were able to manipulate some working class including some Africans to go against him.

The new healthcare that became law in the US is one of the largest redistribution of income in many years since Lyndon Johnson. Both proponents and opponents know it but neither propagates it as such very much. But it is the basis of their disagreement. The revamping of the student loan programs that bankrupt and discouraged many poor students from attending colleges which is the easiest way to middle class confirmed the intent of a President who is more interested in poor and disadvantaged youths.

African and African American students have crossed one another recently because of the dwindling and stricter college programs reversed for minorities. The story is that the African students competing with African Americans are the children of the very rich in Africa that are not in need. This may be true in some cases but it also misses the point. The children of the poor struggle harder in Africa to achieve than those of the rich. Our poor neighborhoods in Africa do not define us later in life as American Zip Code does.

Well, they are the same African American that did not think Obama was black enough because he had an African father and a white mother. Those of them that campaigned against him were so rough, you would think they were hired by extreme wing of the Tea Party. One of them had been sent to Obama to let him know it was not his turn. But then, we cannot expect every African at home or in Diaspora to support Obama because he is black. He needs more white votes anyway.

Some Africans at home or in Diaspora will always knock one another out, no matter who is in charge. We know that most of the programs designated to black projects in the past have only empowered few middle class who quickly forget African base. Also, first ladies of Africa have also gone to the western world promoting pet projects they want funded back home when we know that it never reached our base. Whatever they got was minuscule compared to the money they laundered out in these western countries.

Obama tried to make peace in Kenya, he was told to mind his business. He snubbed Nigeria during his African visits, looters could not care less. But when his State Department and other western countries started denying African leaders visa, they came alive wondering where to fritter their loot. It takes a leader, black or white, dedicated to the plight of the poor to know where it hurts and how to ease their pain.

Farouk Martins Aresa
Farouk Martins Aresa, © 2010

The author has 539 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: FaroukMartinsAresa

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