Don’t congratulate Tinubu, Chimamanda writes Biden

Chimamanda Adichie

Renowned novelist Chimamanda Adichie has urged US President Joe Biden not to congratulate Nigeria’s President-elect Bola Tinubu.

In an open letter to the US leader published on Thursday in The Atlantic, Chimamanda said it was shocking that the US State Department congratulated Tinubu and further described the election as a “competitive election” that “represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy”.

She said, “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.”

The Americanah writer asked Biden to uphold his stance on the need for a true democracy, adding that congratulating Tinibu would be endorsing the illegitimate process that produced him as president.

“I hope, President Biden, that you do not personally share this cordial condescension. You have spoken of the importance of a ‘global community for democracy,’ and the need to stand up for ‘justice and the rule of law.’ A global community for democracy cannot thrive in the face of apathy from its most powerful member,” she added.

“Why would the United States, which prioritizes the rule of law, endorse a president-elect who has emerged from an unlawful process?

“This Nigerian election was supposed to be different, and the U.S. response cannot—must not—be business as usual.

“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.”

Chimamanda, 45, added that INEC chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu failed to keep his word on the uploading of election results from polling results and left the door open to manipulation.