Chimamanda Writes Biden, Slams 2023 Electoral Process, US Congratulations To Tinubu
Famed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has criticised the United States over its congratulatory message to the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential election.
A spokesperson for the US State Department commended Nigeria on Tinubu’s victory, the same day the President-elect was declared the winner, while calling for calm amid accusations of voter fraud and concerns over technical glitches.
According to him, many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted and the shortcomings of technical elements that were used for the first time in a presidential election cycle.
Chimamanda, in an open letter to US President Joe Biden published in The Atlantic on Thursday, expressed bewilderment that the US went on to describe the process as a “competitive election” that “represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy.”
American intelligence “surely cannot be so inept”, she argued.
“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.
“It seemed truly perplexing that, in the context of a closely contested election in a low-trust society, the electoral commission would ignore so many glaring red flags in its rush to announce a winner.
“(It had the power to pause vote counting, to investigate irregularities—as it would do in the governorship elections two weeks later.)”
The award-winning novelist raised the alarm over a brewing rage, especially among young people. The discontent, the despair, the tension in the air have not been this palpable in years, she added.
“How surprising then to see the U.S. State Department congratulate Tinubu on March 1,” she said.
Addressing the US president, Chimamanda hoped that he did not personally share what she described as “this cordial condescension”.
She cited Biden’s history of advocating the importance of a “global community for democracy” and the need to stand up for “justice and the rule of law”.
In her view, a global community for democracy cannot thrive in the face of apathy from its most powerful member.
“Why would the United States, which prioritizes the rule of law, endorse a president-elect who has emerged from an unlawful process?
“I supported Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate, and hoped he would win, as polls predicted, but I was prepared to accept any result, because we had been assured that technology would guard the sanctity of votes.”
The smoldering disillusionment felt by many Nigerians, according to the author, 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.
“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 said.