DREAMS DO COME TRUE … thoughts on the Nigerian Dream
Exactly 40 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr gave that historic speech when he led thousands to march on Washington for civil rights and jobs; a black senator from the state of Chicago accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party in the state of Denver.
Exactly 50 years after that same speech; that same relatively unknown Senator with a black skin and now the most powerful president in the world stood on the same spot where Dr. King shared his dream to the world and expounded how much the dream has shaped the American dream.
Summoning the spirit of Dr. King and his over 250,000 protesters, President Obama said, "They assembled here, in our nation's capital, under the shadow of the great emancipator, to offer testimony of injustice, to petition their government for redress and to awaken America's long-slumbering conscience."
"Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislators changed and Congress changed, and yes, eventually the White House changed," Mr Obama said to great cheers. "Because they marched, America became more free and fair."
"We must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks had joined the ranks of millionaires," President Obama emphasized.
President Obama said the 1963 march "teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history, that we are masters of our fate."
Indeed, this is reminiscent of five decades ago, as Dr. Martin Luther King led thousands of protesters through the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to tell the world the dream he had.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character," Dr. King prophecy.
This speech is one of the most memorable in the history of mankind.
As I listened and compared the speeches of President Obama and Dr. King's, I can't but reinforce my belief that the Nigerian dream does exist. I know, many may disagree with me but the more I think about it, the more I believe that the Nigerian dream is not inexistent.
You may ask, 'Where is the Nigerian Dream?' It lies in the bellies of so many of our country men in the forgotten corners of Maiduguri where bombs and shelling are now as common as the air they breathe.
The dream is right there in the eyes of our students in higher institutions studying under tattered roofs and behind crumbling desks.
The dream is right there in the bellies of the millions of Nigerian youths toiling away in the wilderness; and pregnant with great ideas for change.
The dream is there in the inks of the indefatigable and vibrant Nigerian press who toil daily in a depressed industry to bring news alive to millions of people and put elected representatives on their toes through constructive criticism and investigative journalism.
The dream is there in the tools of millions of Nigerians from all walks of life standing for diligence, justice and honesty.
They may not be able to verbalise or articulate it perfectly like Dr. King.
They may not have the platform and the audience to hold people spellbound like Dr. King.
But we hold these truths to be self-evident, that those who are pursuing the dreams of a better Nigeria, however few and far between they may seem, their dreams will surely come true, and that in our lifetime!
Samuel O. Adeyemi is a Journalist based in Lagos. He tweets from @XtremeWisdom