Nigeria for Obama (ObamaNigeria.org): A Misplaced Priority

I regularly glance through the leading Nigerian Internet-based discussion forum Nairaland, to keep an eye on the current trends in Nigeria. Knowing the typical lack of a sense of priority of some Nigerian leaders, I wasn’t very surprised to see the topic: “Lagos Assembly Launches Website For Obama” on the Webmasters section of Nairaland last week. I was disgusted so much that I wanted to be spared the nonsensical details. Just yesterday, a friend I was chatting with online gave me the web address of the Lagos House of Assembly for Obama website – obamanigeria.org

Nigeria for Obama?I visited the website. The design theme is quite similar to that of Senator Barack Obama’s official campaign website but one could see Nigeria’s flag displayed beside Nigeria for Obama at the lower right corner of the website’s homepage. Other things on the website included the names of the honourable members of the Lagos State House of Assembly who had come together to register an organization (Obama Nigeria Initiative) to publicly push their support of Obama as President of the United States of America. What’s more annoying? Donation were being solicited from Nigerians and souvenirs being offered. Had it not been that I could confirm that this was official, I would have classified ObamaNigeria.org as a classic scam. Why the donations?

To add insult to injury, it appears the Assembly members are using public funds to oil the machinery of their “Obama Nigeria Initiative”. How? What official business of Lagos State House of Assembly is it, as to who wins the US presidency? Can you imagine a State in the USA officially declaring support for any Nigerian individual or party to win Nigeria’s Presidency?

Let’s give them the right of reply. From the Nigeria for Obama’08 webpage:

FELLOW PATRIOTS,
Though without a voting right in the ongoing party primaries of the Democrats in the USA, like everybody around the world, we are very much involved because of the global implications the outcome of the elections would have on the world.

We are particularly thrilled by the feat of Barack Obama because for the very first time in the history of the USA, he has successfully broken the colour bar. We are even more thrilled that white voters rally forcefully behind this charismatic black man in his quest to become the first black president in the most powerful nation on earth. Like Mr. Martins King Jr. said, today he is no longer being judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character which has propelled him from near obscurity to international limelight. In Barack Obama, the agitations of early black nationalists such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and so many others found concrete expressions as he attains leverage in the political calculation of the USA that would no longer ignore Afro-Americans and their electoral strength. To us, this is a feat worthy of celebration as the dawn of a new era. FELLOW PATRIOTS,
Though without a voting right in the ongoing party primaries of the Democrats in the USA, like everybody around the world, we are very much involved because of the global implications the outcome of the elections would have on the world.

We are particularly thrilled by the feat of Barack Obama because for the very first time in the history of the USA, he has successfully broken the colour bar. We are even more thrilled that white voters rally forcefully behind this charismatic black man in his quest to become the first black president in the most powerful nation on earth. Like Mr. Martins King Jr. said, today he is no longer being judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character which has propelled him from near obscurity to international limelight. In Barack Obama, the agitations of early black nationalists such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and so many others found concrete expressions as he attains leverage in the political calculation of the USA that would no longer ignore Afro-Americans and their electoral strength. To us, this is a feat worthy of celebration as the dawn of a new era.

Okay, Barack Obama should be celebrated but why not wait for the man to win the US Presidency before popping the champagne?

I’d wrap this up with my2cents’ comment on the Nairaland thread:

…At the taxpayer’s expense? If this were some project by a private individual, I would say, no problem. But from the looks of things, this is sponsored by the state. How many millions do you think has gone into this project (from the coder, to all the kick-backs)? Considering there are bigger issues facing Lagos (roads, security, electricity, water, etc), as Afam has said, this is a misplaced priority.

Support Obama? Yes. At taxpayer expense? No.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Post your comment here and now!

25 Comments

  1. That is preposterous, sponsoring Obama with the tax payer’s money? How about another state sponsoring Hillary for President website? I still dont see what people see in that Obama, this singular effort from the lawmakers lead to the actual fact that a lot of people support his aspirations to be the President simply because he is black. I am all for Hillary, any day, any time, I believe she is more qualify than any of all those contestants.

  2. Obama Fever Crosses the Atlantic: Lagos Legislators Launched ‘Obama Nigeria Initiative’ - AfricanLoft

    […] fever just crossed the Atlantic and has inflicted the entire cadre of the Lagos State Legislature, David, a Nigerian blogger reveals. The state Legislators have launched an initiative for the Obama Campaign, and recently […]

  3. This is insane!

    There primary reason for their support for Obama is because he’s black. But Obama, just like the 2 others, have not spoken on their policy toward Nigeria or Africa.

    Yes, Obama appears promising and has done exploits by breaking the glass ceiling, but to support his campaign with public funds is not only stupid, but against everything the American democracy represents.

    I will follow up the discussion on the loft. Thanks.

  4. A friend was advising me just yesterday not to board a local airline when i get to Nigeria, not because the plane may crash, but because when it does, it may never be found. How’s that for a rhetoric. Anyway, this has been going on for nearly a week and nobody has resigned from office or been sacked. Instead a group of law makers are making a state support for what is essentially of no consequence whatsoever to the millions of Nigerians who’s basic needs hang daily. This is at best pathetic

  5. Una don start………….make una no go disgrace us again. Leave Obama and Americans alone. Na Power sector dem dey probe when Obj no fit manage. You people are chewing too much.

  6. This at best is a misguided venture comsidering the enormity of problems facing Lagos State and indeen, Nigeria. At a time when ordinary citizens do not have electricity, good roads, security, health care and decent housing, a couple of peppersoup lagislators from lagos decided to support Obama. They have not solved the problems of their own backyard yet the seek to be relevant in other countries.
    These clowns who call themselves legislators with nothing better to do should realise that if america had been run the way Nigerian politicians had run the country, Obama would not have been a phenomenon in America.
    How many websites have they launched to call for citizens to protest the witholding of lagos fund by the Obasanjo government? How many websites did these jokers launch to support any cause that would have furthered the growth of Lagos state?
    This is just a refelction of the total disconnect between the political leadership in Nigeria and the ordinary citizens. These locusts and palmerwors just take Nigeria for granted! how would there venture bring security to Lagosians? how would it improve the road? the traffick holdups? the filthy environment? they are nothing but jokers and they should be treated thus!

  7. It is okay to support Obama in his political ambition to the White House, and Honourable members of the Lagos State House of Assembly are also at liberty to display their support for him like anybody, but not necessarily with public funds if that is actually the case.

    Dr. Titi Oyejola (Olaniyan)

  8. I just saw the web on the paper i bought, i was even thinking of how i will have this oppotunity, luckly i saw the web on the paper. so i like obama to win the 2008 US eleciton

  9. i was overwelmed with some soft feelings when heard about a phenomenon, Senator Osama as an America presidential candidate . Apart from having his root from africa , he is an enignimatic being , an orator, non racist who is not considerably going to see to the problem of America alone but the whole world.

  10. Yeah am feeling the whole support for Obama from naija and Africa…also not a bad idea if a group of Lagos legislators flags off an official website to promote thier views…PUBLIC FUNDS ?….. if publicly they will reveal how much is coming in and going out then i will donate but it wont happen that am sure…..for example am an artist and i just recorded a song for Obama willingly and that will be everywhere on the internet soon as my own liltle quota for U.S and for the black man am felling is words….”i may be skinny, but am tough” but note i aint asking nobody for FUNDING! ………..hOLLA Back 1

  11. I think you have gotten the whole idea wrong as the site is not funded with tax payers money. I feel disappointed when supposed intellectuals randomize and Jump into hasty conclusions about what they do not have facts on. I personally know a few of the people behind this site and i can tell you no one has diverted tax payers money to the obamanigeria site/project. Also, i think its kinda cool that a few Nigerians are coming together to celebrate someone in the persona of Barack Obama, if at least for his stance on alot of issues which i find plaguing the nigerian also. Celebrating a man of this kind should not matter if his Nigerian or not. I think the celebration of Barack by Nigerians might just spur up courage amongst the positive thinking Nigerian who might view the whole idea as indirect support for them(their visions for a better nigeria) if they came out also to fight for a better Nigeria. Come on guys i think Barack should be celebrated regardless of his country citizenship. Perhaps you do not understand that there is a way the believes/actions of the USA president transcends upon the African continent.

    Let us not complain about everything, especially not things like these.

  12. I need an answer to this question to solve the problems by most ignorant people in nigeria who dont know the main essence of tax

  13. Just like some people have rightly said u got the whole idea of support for OBAMA wrong and the fact that a Lagos legislator is flaggin the support up.Everybody is at liberty to support whoever he/she wishes to.If u are not pleased with support for Obama,then what will u do to the attitude and support given to football i mean foreing league to the extent that nigerians can do anything to support their choosen club or footballer.So my brother forget sentiment,the world is a global village.If we support Obama and he wins its a good omen for Nigeria,Africa and the entire black race.All thesame thank u for ur observation.You have a nice web.Thanks.

  14. You misunderstand me. I do not have a problem with individual legislators supporting whoever they want, but I have serious issues when they do it collectively as the Lagos House of Assembly. I would use your own analogy to drive home my point.

    How would you take it if Nigerian Football Association (NFA) not only declares open support for the national team of England in the on-going Euro 2008, but goes ahead to spend state resources in spreading the message?

    Thanks for your kind words about my blog.

  15. Oh my God could you believed that Lagos state was turned into an Obama state in April this year and Lagos State House of Assembly launched a website to popularise the Illinois senator and campaign for his White House bid. with taxis draped with banners bearing the senator’s pictures. Their Vote Obama Initiative website explains their stand thus: “Though without a voting right in the ongoing party primaries of the Democrats in the USA, like everybody around the world, we are very much involved because of the global implications the outcome of the elections would have on the world.We are particularly thrilled by Obama’s feat because, for the very first time in the history of the US, he has successfully broken the colour bar. We are even more thrilled that white voters can rally forcefully behind this charismatic black man in his quest to become the first black president in the most powerful nation on earth. i love obama and i will allways pray and fast as well for his winer as a president of us,thanks

  16. AFRIPOL ENDORSES SENATOR BARACK OBAMA FOR US PRESIDENT
    To be the leader of the free world and the president of United States of America is not a position for sophomores. A compassing maturity is criteria for the job, a balanced and seasoned intellect and personality. On Senator Barack Obama we found the characteristics of a credible and a great leader, an embodiment of hope, vision and courage.
    Senator Obama among the line-up of Democratic Party presidential candidates is the most outstanding and apparently the clear choice. His vision for America and the world is crystal clear – to build more perfect union and a better world. Senator Obama is hope for the troubled and the distressed, a hope for stability and peaceful world. His vision is a bold picture of rancor free, less bitter and tranquil globe rooted on justice and understanding. As a President, Mr. Obama can be an enduring bridge to the voiceless.His leadership is a transparent style without opaque agenda; he does not demonize his political opponents. Even in times of hostile attack, he maintains a profound calmness and collection, an unfamiliar trait among politicians. His styles of leadership we have witnessed have dignified the process of electioneering. His steady and firm hands are needed in the White House. His judgment, understanding and prudence are the most valuable leadership tools needed to pilot the affairs of our distressed globe.
    A symbol of hope and understanding he has become. America a beckon of freedom and hope will be enhanced and deepened with Senator Obama as the president. American’s image will be enriched and more people will identify with the promise of America.Senator Barack Obama unique heritage makes him the best suitable for the presidency. In the multicultural world, Obama of Kenyan and Kansas heritage and his early childhood in the most populous Muslim nation (Indonesia) equipped him to become the best and most credible salesman for American ideals of peace, liberty, justice and freedom. America and the world will view each other candidly with his presidency.

    At this point in our geo-political landscape, Senator Barack Obama is the right man at the right time to occupy the most powerful office – for he has the discipline, intellect and fortitude to get the job done. Therefore the choice is clear; the Afripol Organization hereby endorses Senator Barack Obama for the presidency of United States of America.

    Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.
    Mr.Emeka Chiakwelu is the Founding director/Chief policy strategist of Afripol Organization.

    http://www.afripol.org/Obama7.htm

  17. I don’t realy see what is rong for Lagos State Legislatures to give thier suport to Obama as the President of USA knowing fully well that the US President is a world President, Any one that know what Democrasy should look like must suport Barrac Obama. I will be part in any Godly way to suport Obama for the President of USA.
    Thanks.

  18. I was overjoyed by the liberty that Senator Obama brought to all Black folks.It is an indication that the blackman is capable of managing his own affairs when given the chance.all blacks should therefore feel proud for the sake of our race.For Gods sake our Colour is one out of a lot.
    This is a pride to blacksssssssssssss

  19. Well Oluniyi, thanks for the writeup. Am the designoooo of obamanigeria.org. the idea behind the whole issue is to celebrate obama as black, the fulfilment of Martin luther king’s word, truth always stands out no matter the years it takes to sufface. take it or leave it Obama been a president is for a purpose. To make some correction that either you are black or white, we are one, created by on God! Micheal Jackson said/sing it all.

    I always say this “Nothing u can do that I cannot do, either you are indian or US, white or yellow – if u can pilot a plan I can too.” Train me and give me a change, then u will see what am capable of.

    About the TAX, i think nigeria lawmakers are only referring to US tax payment. When u travel their, wouldnt u pay their TAX?

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