An African-born scholar says the results of Tuesday’s presidential elections testify to President Obama’s political acumen and the wisdom of America’s electorate. African Studies Professor Sulayman Nyang of Howard University says the outcome also reflects voter recognition of Obama’s achievements during his first term against all odds.
“President Obama’s re-election tells us a lot of things about the American people, his own competence and ability to mobilize the American people,” he says. “Countless number of Americans feel that he came in with difficulties. As Charles Atlas, he has been carrying the weight, and in the end, he was able to carry the burden to the political end of the running.”
Obama in the eyes of Africans
Regarding Africa, Nyang says, it is wrong to see Obama as a “black President for Africa.”
“Obama doesn’t represent Africa. Obama is an American President”
He cautions Africans against unrealistic expectations, saying anyone who judges Obama on Africa would be disillusioned.
“The blacks (Africans) were hoping that Obama will somehow miraculously engage Africa differently from the previous leaders. Suddenly when they look back four years later, many of them did not get all their hopes and their dreams. I think that was exaggerated expectation,” he says.
Second term priorities
The African scholar says the Obama administration may place more focus on Africa during the next four years.
“Just as it was the Arab Spring for North Africa during Obama’s first term, Obama’s second term could very well be the political hamatan for Africa, the strengthening of the democratic process south of the Sahara,’ he says.
Nyang says he hopes the newly re-elected President will also deal with ways of engaging more African countries in the import-export business with the United States.