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Nigerian Election Observer Celebrates Obama's Victory

Many international observers witnessed the election of Barack Obama as 44th president of the United States and first African American to occupy the White House. They are among the observers from 90 countries taking part in the US State Department's "I Vote" program.

Among the observers is Rekiya Momah of Nigeria, who's in city of Rochester in western New York State. Momah spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Chinedu Offor about the moment when Obama was announced as the winner of the election.

"The atmosphere was electrifying. And to think that I came here just to observe, but I am so much more excited, even more than the average American. Things went so well (that) before 11 p.m. people have laid out various parties. Everyone calls his or her own victory party and celebration all around the place. You could walk into any party and have some drinks and small chops with the people. The atmosphere was very electrifying, very fulfilling, and it's like WOW! We got there!"

Momah says Nigeria has a big lesson to learn from the American experience. "There are lots of lessons and I feel like we still have a long way to come with democracy. The understanding of democracy is still not what it should be. People still must learn to put country above self in our various African countries. The problem with us is that we are not putting country above self; we are now putting individual interest above country; that should not be it. I was deeply touched -- so much to learn even about the processes of democracy. Can you think of people going to get injunctions on the day of elections to be able to vote? It would never have happened (in Nigeria). So orderly in various places -- I would particularly take this lessons home."