Obama and Nigerian spiritualists

Casmir Igbokwe


Published Sunday, Nov.9, 2008


Since Tuesday, November 4, when Barack Obama won the United States Presidential election, the whole world has been agog with victory dance. Many people have also poured encomiums on the American ideals. The world media are awash with many stories about the life and times of this president-elect. Analysts and commentators have also written on the lessons Nigeria could learn from the Obama phenomenon. I almost could not write this week because I thought that people had said and written everything worth saying and writing about Obama.


But Nigeria is never lacking in stories of dramatic significance. Last week, one Banji Oguntayo sent an SMS to me. It reads: “Breaking news…Barack Obama is the next President of America. Like President Umar Yar’Adua of Nigeria, he is coming to power with spiritual number 5. 21-4-07. Add them together they will give you 5. What it means is that Yar’Adua would persevere and succeed in spite of opposition and cynicism on his path to political greatness.


“Tomorrow (last Tuesday) is 4-11-08. Add them together again; they will give you 5. This is the moment of change that America and the world need but President Obama of America should learn to be a little bit taciturn like President Umar Yar’Adua. This is the master key to his political success as the new American President. I see unbridled attempts being made to terminate his administration and life in the first five months. After this comes sweeping positive changes that will confound his cynics. That will be the moment the world has been waiting for. And let us pray he sees the end of the 5th year of his administration as revealed by God.”


As I was trying to figure out what this person was trying to communicate, a friend came to my rescue. According to him, if one adds the first figure, that is, 21+4+07, it will give one 32. Three plus two gives you five. The second one, which is 4+11+08, will give you a total of 23. Two plus three gives you five. My friend adds that the figure 9 is seen as God’s number while 6 is seen as Satan’s number. The explanation is that if you multiply nine by two, it will give you 18. One plus eight equals nine. This, my apprentice spiritualist says, means that nine is as unchangeable as God. Six, on the other hand, is seen as the opposite of nine. While nine is pointing down, six is looking up.


One of my readers had earlier phoned to express the fear that Obama might be the long-predicted anti-Christ. He was honest enough to say that he was not sure, but that he had a feeling that Obama would rule for seven years and then the predicted troubles linked with the so-called anti-Christ would start.


There are some others who wrote to congratulate me for predicting that Obama would win. Recall that in my last Sunday’s article entitled “Before the new ministers assume duties”, I said, “On Tuesday, November 4, Americans will go to the polls to elect a new president. From the look of things, the incoming President Barack Obama…may announce his cabinet before our own president.”


Of course, were I to be a prophet, I would have been controlling a large number of followers by now. Not only did Obama win as I predicted, but he has also announced Mr. Rahm Emanuel as his new Chief of Staff. He will likely announce his other cabinet members soon before his inauguration next January.


To confirm that we are a nation of hypocrites, the Delta State lawmakers reportedly prayed for Obama during the election. The Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Akpodiogaga Emeyese, was reported to have said that the prayers of Nigerians were essential to sustain Obama’s victory. Many other Nigerians prayed fervently that Obama should win to restore the pride of the black race.


I have no problem with praying for Obama and Americans. But there is a huge problem when our ‘prayers’ are winning souls in foreign lands while we continue to sink further into oblivion.


I’m almost certain that some of those Delta lawmakers who advertised their Obama prayers rigged themselves into office. Ironically, the prayer request came shortly after the inauguration of one Dr. Alphonsus Ojo as a member representing Ukwuani Constituency in the state Assembly by the Speaker. Somebody else had occupied the man’s position until the Appeal Court in Benin restored his mandate last month.


Over one year after our own presidential elections, legal fireworks between the incumbent president and some of his opponents are still raging. More than a year after the gubernatorial elections in the country, erstwhile Labour leader, Adams Oshiomhole and the current governor of Edo State, Oserheimen Osunbor, are yet to know who rightfully won the election.


We are all happy that Obama has realised the dream Martin Luther King had over 40 years ago. As we celebrate the rare victory, let us also have our own dreams and move towards realising them in no distant time.


Perhaps, by this time in the next 40 years, I see an Ibibio man sitting in Aso Rock as the president of Nigeria. I see my son, Ebube, from Anambra taking Aisha from Kaduna as his lawfully wedded wife. I see Kemi from Ekiti hugging Musa in Zamfara after a successful exam without attracting any sanctions. I see Benin-Ore Road paved not with interlocking stones but with gold. I see ministers, military officers and even governors driving side-by-side ordinary mortals like us on Nigerian roads. I see a Gombe citizen contesting a gubernatorial election in Oyo State. I see an election that is open and transparent and not do-or-die.


I may not be a professional prophet. I may not be a Martin Luther. But these are my little dreams for Nigeria. My prayer is that these will come to pass before my final exit from this plane.


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