Chimamanda Adichie warns President Biden against congratulating Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s president-elect
Renowned Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie has advised US President Joe Biden to refrain from congratulating Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s next president because it could legitimize what she described as an “illegal process” that led to his victory.
“By congratulating the (election) result, President Biden is tarnishing America’s self-proclaimed commitment to democracy,” the author said in a letter titled “Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy” published Thursday in The Atlantic.
Do not lend legitimacy to an illegal process. America should be what it says Adichie urged the American leader.
In a public letter, Mrs. Adichie said the election that brought Tinubu was marred by irregularities as photographs taken by voters at various polling stations did not match the sheets that were late uploaded to the commission’s server.
Voters compared their cellphone photos to the uploaded photos and saw changes: numbers crossed out and rewritten; part originally written in black ink was rewritten in blue, part slightly whitened with Tipp-Ex,” the author noted. “The election was not only rigged, it was done in such a vile and vile manner that it insulted the intelligence of Nigerians. “
“It is ironic that many of the images taken from the altered tables showed an overwhelming transfer of votes from Labor party to APC,” Adichie wrote in the letter.
She also said the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Mahmood Yakubu may have been compromised by its conduct, especially its speed in declaring the winner despite the objections of concerned citizens.
“Some election workers at the polling stations claimed that they could not download the results because they did not have the password, which was an excuse that voters saw as fraud.
By the end of the day, it was clear that something was seriously wrong.” the author recounted the unfortunate experience of most Nigerian voters.
She said it “really seemed confusing” that INEC “ignored so many glaring red flags as they rushed to declare the winner”. (It had the power to stop the vote count, investigate irregularities — as it did in the gubernatorial election two weeks later.)
Ms Adichie warned the American leader not to follow the path of his British counterpart Rishi Sunak, who rushed to congratulate Mr Tinubu. According to her, “the struggle for influence in Africa cannot be won by supporting the same undemocratic processes for which China is criticized”.
Members of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress earlier rejected the claim by Adichie, who praised the electoral office for improving Nigeria’s elections this year.
Foreign experts, including retired American diplomat Johnnie Carson, also hailed Tinubu’s victory, saying he invested resources and groundwork to achieve history.
However, Mr Carson said the election that brought Tinubu could have been done better.
“For me, the problem is not in Tinubu and the other candidates,” he said. “Nigeria deserves the best electoral process.”
The main opposition parties, the Labor Party and the PDP, filed a lawsuit against Tinubu’s election in a tedious process expected to reach the Supreme Court within eight months.
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