Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie has expressed her disappointment and criticism towards United States and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for congratulating President-elect Bola Tinubu in her open letter titled ‘Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy’ on The Atlantic.
In her letter, Adichie accuses the American president and British prime minister of prioritizing stability over democracy in Africa, and questions their endorsement of an illegitimate government despite widespread concerns about the integrity of the electoral process.
Adichie starts her letter by expressing surprise at the U.S. State Department’s congratulatory message to Tinubu on March 1, despite acknowledging the frustrations expressed by Nigerians and political parties about the manner in which the presidential election cycle was conducted and the reported technical shortcomings.
She points out that the process was described as a “competitive election” that represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy, which she finds misleading.
Adichie questions the competence of American intelligence, suggesting that a little homework would reveal the obvious fact that the electoral process was not compromised by technical shortcomings, but rather deliberate manipulation. She expresses her hope that President Biden does not personally share this condescension towards Nigeria and its democratic process.
As a vocal advocate for democracy and the rule of law, Adichie calls out the contradiction in the U.S. endorsing a president-elect who emerged from an unlawful process. She questions the United States’ commitment to a global community for democracy, which President Biden has spoken about, and the need to stand up for justice and the rule of law.
Adichie argues that endorsing an illegitimate government in Nigeria, a country full of frustrated young people, does not bode well for stability, and she highlights the inconsistency in U.S. foreign policy towards Africa.
Adichie suggests that the U.S. may be prioritizing stability over democracy in Africa, or succumbing to pressure from China, a major player in Africa’s economic and political landscape. She mentions the quick congratulatory message from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Tinubu, which she finds troubling, and questions whether it is influenced by China-centric foreign policy.
Adichie argues that supporting undemocratic processes, which China is often criticized for, will not win the battle for influence in Africa.
Adichie’s open letter to President Biden on The Atlantic titled ‘Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy’ is a passionate critique of the U.S. and British endorsement of an illegitimate government in Nigeria, and a call for prioritizing democracy over stability and avoiding China-centric foreign policy in Africa.
She raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process in Nigeria and questions the inconsistency in the U.S. stance on democracy and the rule of law in Africa.