By Justine John DYIKUK

The tussle between Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney for the 44th President of the United States of America was not an easy one. The former’s slight victory over the latter and the resultant cheers around the globe for the Kenyan born was only befitting of one who has fought the good fight to the finish. The joyful spirit which surrounded the announcement of this success story of the African-american is reminiscent of the unprecedented news of his victory four years ago –  a success story that not only fulfills but perfects Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

“Success has so many children but failure is an orphan,” goes the saying.Some persons passionately associate with successful people like soldier-ants for sugar water. This is perhaps what gave birth to Obamania or Obamanation – A theory which sets Obama as a phenomenon – a man to watch out for; a man to listen to; a man to copy; a man to celebrate. Hillary Clinton, the US the Secretary of State, an experienced politician fit for every kind of political contact in favor of her boss, was more than ready for tasting ‘the White-House-tea’ again and again. Could this have been without criticism and sweat? Not at all!

Barack Obama

The NATION Magazine of November 7, 2012 carried a piece, ‘In Victory, Obama aims to truly enact an agenda,’ in whichthe reporter, George Zornick said: “the chief problem of president Obama’s first term was the recalcitrant, sometimes rabid opposition from Congressional Republicans and their allies.” The slow but steady strategy of resuscitating the economy, abhorrent civil liberties policies and extralegal drone strikes were portent tools in the hands of the opposition. The election was a brawl between Democrats and Republicans. What are the guiding principles of these giant parties?

As a Democrat, Obama has always been inspired by the dictates of his party. Having served as a Senator, he knew the rules well. Therefore, failing to keep its flag flying would be a ‘democratic-felony.’ Suffice it to opine that democrats are associated with the notions of absolute freedom. Freedom here accommodates – abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research and their likes. For the Church minded and religious in the States, these were a sure bitter pill. The polls were to determine who goes in or out base on these principles which touch on religious sentiments!

The Republicans on the other hand would not give in to anti-life activities or the free-for-all mentality that welcomes everything in the name of freedom. For them, the Presidential election was a veritable tool for taking their own pound of flesh by grasping the power they lost four years ago. A point to note here is, though Republicans may not share culpability in the ‘things’ associated with Democrats, the former more often than not, are on the offensive. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which led to loss of lives of many American soldiers and the concomitant effects of the economic downturn cannot be easily forgotten by any true US citizen.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD’S Fred Barnes identified Republicans’ problems thus: “In Senate races, it’s bad candidates: old hacks (Wisconsin), young hacks (Florida), youngsters (Ohio) …retreads(Virginia), lousy campaigners (North Dakota) and Washington veterans (Michigan). Losers all.”

A content-analysis of the philosophy of the two parties lays bare certain essentials points. If Democrats are accused of anti-life theories, how about the war-concept which appears to be a strong hold of Republicans? One danger the former would attract more culpability is, the absolute freedom it seeks to promote. The latter may excusably see going to war as a necessary evil occasioned by external threats to both national and international security. The ‘just-war theory’ would always be an easy excuse. What if many lives are lost in the process and oil is the target as some analysts would accuse the bush administration in the invasion of Iraq?

Why then did Obama succeed to become the 43rd man to be president (though 44th president because Grover Cleveland served for two-terms)?  Against all odds, his subtle yet steady policies on internal and external security which occasioned the inglorious exit of America’s number one enemy (Osama Bin Laden), is a major point in his favor. No sensitive American can easily forget the 9/11. One would think that; his discipline, diligence, hard work, resilience, doggedness and spirit of team-work made the magic. He engaged expertise, forthrightness, purposefulness and visionary strides to endear himself to the American people.

His speeches were electrifying. The immigration reform which endeared him to the Latinos and an increase in employment rate made him the man of the moment. These, worth the onion, paved the way for his re-entry into the White-House which was hitherto the exclusive reserve of White Americans. Does this have any lesson(s) for our democracy?

The Campaign for Democracy, Nigeria through its President, Dr. Joe Okei did not waste time in drawing lessons from Obama’s re-election for our battered democratic project. The group noted that we must ensure that the power of incumbency is not an automatic license for re-election. It pointed with dismay the habit of milking the treasury for electioneering campaigns, the culture of rigging, bloodshed/do-or-die and ‘Ghana-must-go’ mentality.  Lessons from this dogged legal luminary and president should probe the hearts of both the elected and the electorate.

In a prayerful wish and warm congratulatory telegram sent via the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington DC, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI urged the New President to endure that: “the ideals of freedom and justice that has guided the founding fathers of the United States of America continue to shine forth as the nation progresses.”  It would be recalled that before his election into office four years ago, Obama had in the foreword to ‘Change we can believe in’ said: “I have a vision for America rooted in the values that have always made our nation the last best hope of Earth – values that have been expressed to me on front porches and family farms; in church basements and town hall meetings…” One hopes that the exaggerated civil liberties policies would let these promises see the light of day.

His victory speech has much food-for-thought for our democracy especially the fact that democracy is people/masses oriented. In the spirit of national unity, he said, everyone ought to be carried along particularly the opposition. Get him in his own words: “Tonight you voted for action, not for politics as usual, you elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together…” Nothing works like altruism!

The BBC posted a news footage/video of granny Sarah, the new president’s step-grandmother wiggling steps amidst neighbors and well-wishers in a victory dance. Will you join granny in this celebration? Congratulations, President Barack Obama for this well-deserved victory – it is our prayer that this will open new frontiers of holistic approach(es) for our democracy. Would we have our own Jonathanation? God bless Nigeria!

 Fr. Justine John DYIKUK, a Catholic priest, freelance writer/poet and Public Affairs Commentator writes from the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Rivers State! and

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