Obama’s State Of The Union Address: Lessons For Nigeria


It’s 02:56am and I can’t just tell why I’m awake. Nights like this are becoming quite usual that sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me. But something else clouds my mind and I am writing to precipitate the train of thoughts. I’m thinking Nigeria and what a country it has become. Some hours ago i listened with rapt attention and careful interest the State Of The Union address by President Barrack Hussein Obama and I think that speech holds a lot of lessons for Nigerians. Please, take a walk with me as we explore lessons from Obama’s speech.

These were times that tested the courage of our convictions, and the strength of our union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we choose to move forward as one nation, as one people.

I think so for Nigeria, too. We are existing in times that will eventually define our future and shape what becomes of us after this. What we become is largely dependent upon the attitudes we learn and develop during these times. One thing I know is that there will be things that will stand to divide us, but overcoming our differences and moving forward, as one people, one nation is the key.

It’s because of this spirit -– this great decency and great strength -– that I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.

We do not give up! We do not quit! This should be our mantra. No retreat. No surrender. We’ll slug and sweat it out. We’ll lean our back against the ropes. we’ll stand and face the odds and work it out till we all arrive at that great future we all hope for. We, Nigeria should keep pushing with nothing sufficiently able to deter us.

It begins with our economy
A great nation always have a great economy. We must make our economy work and sustainable. Presently, this is not an easy task. But it is neither quantum physics. Surely, building our economy is going to be a rewarding effort. Issues like unemployment, enhanced financial institutions ability, small business stimulus and legislative bills that encourage economic growth, financial reforms, research, national export initiative, revitalisation od the agricultural and industrial sector
should be passed.

Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people
Education will always be the bedrock of development in any developed society. Let us invest in our universities and institutions of learning with the sole aim of turning them into world-class institutions. Tuition should also be affordable.

Here’s what I ask Congress, though: Don’t walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done… Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time to try something new. Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let’s try common sense. A novel concept.
Only if our leaders will carry this mindset and attitude. Only if we will not, politically, throw away worthwhile reforms and bills. If only they take their duties and mandate seriously and realise that much about Nigeria’s progress lies in their hands. Let us stop playing politics with serious national issues. It has never helped and never will it. There should be a divide between national concerns and partisan politics. It is not only embarrassing but it is debilitating, seeing public servants paying more allegiance to their political parties and not the people they are meant to serve.

I campaigned on the promise of change –- change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change –- or that I can deliver it. But remember this –- I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That’s just how it is.

We too have to realise that lasting change is gradual and takes time. Neither is it easy. But it is unavoidable and we can’t but change. But the change we are talking about is a change for the better, a positive change that pushes us into the league of enviable nations.

I dare say, we are strong. We are resilient. We are Nigerians!


2 thoughts on “Obama’s State Of The Union Address: Lessons For Nigeria

  1. I like the connection you’ve made between the two countries. It’s quite clever and clearly means a lot to you. The patriotism is commendable.

    I also like how you haven’t let the love of the country to cloud your vision of what must be done. Oftentimes it can. You’ve been objective, and that’s always important.

    Well done. 🙂

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