Dewy-eyed Chimamanda wants Biden, US to disregard Tinubu as Nigeria’s president-elect
Award-winning Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has expressed her displeasure with the United States and other members of the international community for endorsing Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Party (APC).
She opined that the process through which Tinubu emerged as president-elect was unlawful.
Nigeria held one of its most competitive presidential elections on February 25 across all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, after which Tinubu was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
As usual with all elections in Nigeria since independence, the opposition is challenging the process and outcome in court.
In an open letter to US president, Joe Biden, Chinamanda said the electoral commission reneged on its assurance to Nigerians as contained in the recently amended 2022 Electoral Act and failed to upload results of the presidential election in real-time, whereas, results of the National Assembly elections which were held at the same time were easily uploaded.
She alleged that “Some electoral workers in polling units claimed that they could not upload results because they didn’t have a password, an excuse that voters understood to be subterfuge,” she said.
“Voters compared their cellphone photos with the uploaded photos and saw alterations: numbers crossed out and rewritten; some originally written in black ink had been rewritten in blue, some blunderingly whited-out with Tipp-Ex.
“The election had been not only rigged, but done in such a shoddy, shabby manner that it insulted the intelligence of Nigerians,” the writer added.
According to her, it came as a surprise when on March 1, the US State Department congratulated Tinubu, after noting that some of the parties had expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted and the shortcomings of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation Systems (BVAS).
“American intelligence surely cannot be so inept. A little homework and they would know what is manifestly obvious to me and so many others: The process was imperiled not by technical shortcomings but by deliberate manipulation,” she said and urged President Biden to distance himself from the position taken by the US State Department.
“Has the United States once again decided that what matters in Africa is not democracy but stability? The battle for influence in Africa will not be won by supporting the same undemocratic processes for which China is criticized.
“Congratulating its outcome, President Biden, tarnishes America’s self-proclaimed commitment to democracy. Please do not give the sheen of legitimacy to an illegitimate process. The United States should be what it says it is.”
She warned: “Lawlessness has consequences. Every day Nigerians are coming out into the streets to protest the election. Rage is brewing, especially among young people. The discontent, the despair, the tension in the air have not been this palpable in years.
“The smouldering disillusionment felt by many Nigerians is not so much because their candidate did not win as because the election they had dared to trust was, in the end, so unacceptably and unforgivably flawed”.
It is difficult to know if Adchie’s criticsm was fair or biased, given her open support and adoration of one of the losers in the presidential election she was criticising.
In 2022, she endorsed Labour party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi in a post she shared on her verified Facebook page to celebrate Mr Obi who turned 61.
In a dewy-eyed manner, she wrote then: “I cannot wait for February 25, 2023, when I, with personal pride in you and with hope for what Nigeria can become, will cast my vote for you and your running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.”
Her full post then:
Happy Birthday to Peter Obi, my dearest Big Bro:
I will never forget your kindness to my beloved parents. Thank you for the respect you showed them, for your many visits to Abba, where you gave to Daddy and Mummy the most precious gifts: your time and your attention.
Thank you for walking this still-unbearable journey of grief with my siblings and me.
I remember how you regaled Daddy and Mummy with your stories until we started joking about your obsession with the “GDP of Malaysia.” But your obsession spoke of hope: your hope for Nigeria, your belief in what Nigeria could be. A belief that has always been practical, grounded in numbers and in reality.
I remember when you came to support me as I was being honored by the United Nations Foundation in New York, and I teased you about the inexpensive hotel you were staying in, and you shrugged and said, “it’s just a place to sleep, why do I need to be in an expensive place?”
And then only days later, you once again exhibited your incredible generosity to the causes you believe in, and it reminded me of all the hospitals and schools and churches you have supported over the years, and often without fanfare. You have always been clear about what your priorities are, what matters to you, what you believe should matter, and that is deeply admirable.
I have always admired your humane pragmatism, how you are willing to talk to almost anyone if it will bring about a good outcome.
And how you believe in certain ideals without being an ideologue. And how you see people as people, knowing that human value is not measured in material terms.
And how you are able to laugh at yourself, and laugh when I tease you about your ‘one shoe and one shirt.’ And how you have always been consistent in the core of who you are.
Thank you for your compassion and your circumspection. For your honesty and your humour. For your willingness to acknowledge flaws, yours and others’, knowing that nobody is perfect. For your fuss-free kindness and your humility that is never performative.
I am inspired by your intellectual curiosity, your eagerness to learn, your genuine love of education (which is why you sought out, and honored, Daddy all those years ago when you learned that he was Nigeria’s first professor of statistics.)
Sometimes it is the simplest of language that captures the most complex of things, and so I will end with simplicity: You are a good man. You are loved. You are appreciated.
May your eyes continue to light up when you talk about the lovely confident Margaret (Thank God she agreed for you!) and your lovely children, A and E. May joy follow you and yours always.
Mummy called you her ‘first son,’ my siblings and I call you our ‘big bro,’ and I cannot wait to call you ‘My President.’
I cannot wait for February 25, 2023, when I, with personal pride in you and with hope for what Nigeria can become, will cast my vote for you and your running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Chukwu dube gi. God Keep you.
With love, Chimamanda.
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