What’s in a name? Story of two Kogelo boys named after Obama


Okoth and Asam
Okoth and Asam

Barack Obama Okoth, a pupil at Senator Obama Kogelo Primary School in Siaya County, was tugging at his Blue sweater trying to remember everything he could about the man he was named after.

“He lives in America, and he is a president,” the visibly shy 7-year-old said after a long pause.

Just like the man he was named after, Okoth would one day want to become the president of the world’s most powerful nation, USA.

Patricia Akinyi Owino, Barrack’s teacher, says his classmates love him, and he equally reciprocates, adding that the young Barack shows great leadership promise and is always willing to help out his classmates.

“His fellow pupils love him so much and he loves them back. Barrack Okoth is polite and always takes initiative.

“When the class prefect delays in distributing study books to fellow classmates, he quickly rises up to the task and take responsibility; he is a very good leader,” adds Ms Patricia.

Barack’s mother, Lillian Adhiambo Okoth, said she named her son after the popular US president in honour of his election as America’s leader.

“Obama inspired many people so my husband and I decided to name our son after him”, she said, adding that she hopes the name will inspire the youngster to be like President Obama when he grows up.

But that is not all; Mrs Okoth has presidential hopes for her son.

She says: “I would love my son to be the president so I advice him, feed him properly, and educate him so that he can be another Obama.”

Lillian was, however, disappointed after she learnt that President Obama will not visit Kogelo Village during his visit to the country next week.

She had hoped to meet the US head of state and shake his hand.

“If Obama was to come to Kogelo, I would love to shake his hands. I would love to see him meet my son,” she said.

Seated  next to Barack Obama Okoth is a boy who not only shares a desk with Okoth but also shares a birthday, a name and a story.

Barack Obama Asam was also born on the day the US president became Illinois Senator, thus the name.

The two boys, who are reportedly best of friends, also share a common dream, to be the leader of the free world.

Asam’s mother also expressed disappointment that President Obama will not be visiting Kogelo.

She said: “My wish was if Obama comes, he meets the children named after him; to see how big they have grown, and remind him the far he has come; eight years later.”

For now the two Obamas will have to wait longer to shake their powerful namesake’s hand.

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Brian Okoth
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