Years ago, I was in a swanky bar with some friends in the City sipping some red wine, my favourite tipple, discussing the elections in America and the arrival of the new kid on the block, some dude named Barack Obama. The question was on his background and race and if indeed the USA was ready to elect a black kid from Kenya, albeit being of mixed origin – white/black -, and being born in Hawaii in America. This has never happened before, so the question was, “Is America ready for this sort of deviation from what they were used to? White Presidents?”.
Anyway, every media was agog with these political debates and the possibilities of this actually happening. The rest today, as they say, is history.
That ‘black’ kid today is on his second term as the President of the world’s number one superpower. Many will argue on his achievements or lack of.
Back in 2008, we remember the slogan “YES WE CAN ” being used by the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign, a form of encouragement, to millions that Change was possible and it could be achieved. Although this slogan is credited to Barack Obama, it was infact first used by the Scottish National Party during the 1997 UK General Elections. I digress! !!
For both 2008 and 2012 elections, Obama’s campaign employed the social media, in particular Twitter and Facebook, in reaching out to millions. The use of social media as a campaign tool succeeds because it is usually based on the psychology of social behaviours as suggested by many experts including Dr Pamela Rutledge of the Media Psychology Centre.
Anyway back to my swanky bar. We debated these issues amongst many other issues and I remember having these feelings of regret, at the way the average black man is perceived. Are we really so intellectually stagnated that other races think we are so dumb to lead? Are we so redundant in our thinking that we have failed to understand or even interpret the complexities inherent in our world?
I looked around me and tried counting the number of blacks in that bar. Although this ofcourse was in London, a White man’s city, I couldn’t however help myself judging my black race and questioning why, as a people, we have retrogressed through history, if indeed the stories of the Mali Empire, Karnem-Bornu Kingdoms, the Ancient Egyptian Civilization etc count for nought.
Why am I back in that bar in 2008? Well, I suddenly suffer a chronic case of deja vu. I remember writing a piece on the state of the affairs of this world, “Crazy ol ’ world “. That piece rings true even today.
The effective use of social media in changing the political landscape of the most powerful nation in the world is today shaping the democratic future of the most populous Black nation in the world, NIGERIA. How this is done and to what extent this will be advantageous to us as a people, a nation, will be determined on the 14 February 2015 and beyond.