Chimamanda Adichie warns U.S. President, Biden against congratulating ‘illegitimate’ Nigeria’s president-elect, Tinubu

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Renowned Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden, warning him against congratulating Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In the open letter published in a U.S.-based newspaper, The Atlantic, on Thursday, Adichie warned that congratulating Tinubu as Nigeria’s next president could tarnish America’s self-proclaimed commitment to democracy and “give the sheen of legitimacy to an illegitimate process.”

In the letter titled, “Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy,” Adichie noted that the passage of the 2022 Electoral Act in Nigeria, which gave legal backing to the vote-counting process, gave many Nigerians a new sense of trust.

She, however, said that trust was breached “when, by the morning of the 26th, social media became flooded with evidence of irregularities. Result sheets were now slowly being uploaded on the INEC portal, and could be viewed by the public. 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.

She wrote that “many images of altered result sheets showed votes overwhelmingly being transferred from the Labour Party to the APC.”

Adichie said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), headed by Mahmood Yakubu, may have been compromised based on its actions, particularly its rush to announce a winner despite concerns from concerned residents.

She said it “seemed truly perplexing” that INEC “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 author added, “Congratulating (the election’s) 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.”

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