As I write these lines, in few hours from now on January 20, 2017, you will be turning over power to your successor and will retire to private life. Your rise to President of the United States is a motivation not only to the black struggling political class in America’s history, but all those who dare to dream. Yours has shown that every child living in the darkest spot of the earth can dream of owning the stars and shredding the skies of success and live forever as long as his dream lives. Yours is an accomplishment that shows that dreams can build castles with the strength of character and the power of belief. Born to a black Kenyan Father and a white Mother, your birth shows that destiny travels beyond oceans and failure is never an obstacle to what we can achieve.
As an admirer, I saw you deliver a powerful oration at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that propelled you to global stardom. That was a defining moment to the world that got to see a glimpse of the toil and sacrifice of an African American Senator from Illinois and the man poised to lead the ‘Free World’ Your rise was never sudden, but a culmination of preparation, setbacks, sacrifice and the overarching belief in what you described in your book as ‘The Audacity of hope’
You were elected during the great recession of 2008, the worst economic crisis since the great depression of the 1930s and signed the economic stimulus package and tax relief, amongst others, in response to the recession. This signifies that the character of a man is not only measured in good times, but during periods of enormous hardship and uncertainty. You ordered a military operation that resulted in the death of the greatest face of terror and the mastermind of 9/11 Osama Bin Laden and you used the power of diplomacy and negotiation to solve diplomatic stalemates by reintegrating countries like Iran and Cuba. This move of yours showed the world that crisis can be solved without the use of force and mass destruction.
Being a human, you have your flaws, but have taken great strides to face adversity with calm and poise, demonstrating your great sense of responsibility. You, your gracious wife and elegant first lady, Michelle Obama and your wonderful daughters, Sasha and Malia will go down in history as one of the most authentic, admired and a model family for generations to emulate.
As you take you bow, we remember the words you uttered on the night of your victory speech, ‘Yes we can’. Though out of the oval office, I hope you’ll carry within your heart the light and dignity of the world’s most powerful seat, for duty and honor are traits of the heart and not bestowed by the office one occupies. Go in peace. Yes, you did it!
Lekpele M. Nyamalon