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Tinubu’s aide, Alake, attacks Chimamanda over letter to US President



The recent open letter authored by Nigeria’s globally acclaimed novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, and addressed to President Joe Biden, of the United States of America, to question his congratulatory message to President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has continued to elicit reactions from Nigerians.

Chimamanda had in the letter described Nigeria’s democracy as hollow, insisting the 2023 presidential election was flawed by a number of irregularities.

Dele Alake, Special Adviser on Communications to President-elect Bola Tinubu, in a rebuttal published on Saturday, insisted democracy in Nigeria was thriving, contrary to Chimamanda’s claims.

Alake, who described the celebrated author as an unrepentant Igbo jingoist, argued that the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, had campaigned on the basis of religion and ethnicity.

He insisted the former Anambra State governor would never emerge Nigeria’s President having based his campaigns on those basis.

The rebuttal reads in part: “The noted and internationally acclaimed Nigerian novelist and essayist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, deserves a great deal of pity and sympathy for her so utterly biased piece titled ‘Nigeria’s hollow democracy’ published in the latest edition of ‘The Atlantic’ magazine. It is a piece that does little credit to the image and reputation of a leading Nigerian thinker who ought to be a voice of truth and reason in a time when passions run high and truth is almost indistinguishable from falsehood, in a situation in which many people are heavily emotionally invested in an election which, unfortunately, has not gone the way they expected.

“But that is the often difficult to anticipate way of elections in liberal democracies at varying levels of development. Chimamanda’s piece is a sad reminder that the possession of brilliance and high intellect by an individual provides no immunity against prejudice, bias and bigotry albeit disguised in the deceptive garb of elevated and high minded discourse.

READ ALSO:Chimamanda questions US, UK’s motives for congratulating Tinubu

“The writer can of course afford the luxury of pronouncing Nigeria’s democracy ‘hollow’ from the distance of her foreign abode all because her favoured candidate, Peter Obi, fell short in the election. She avers that Nigerians went out to vote on the morning of February 25 with high hopes mainly because of the promise by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload results of the exercise online from polling units in real time to enhance transparency. The INEC has admitted that its system suffered unanticipated glitches on that day which made it impossible for it to upload the polling units results of the presidential elections on its portal immediately as promised but it began to do so once the technical hitches had been resolved.

“It is unfortunate that an intellectual of Chimamanda’s stature would rely on rumours and hearsay to pronounce authoritatively on an issue as important as the 2023,elections in her country. She quotes “cousins” and “relatives” in Lagos to back up grievous allegations of violence and massive vote rigging in the election. For crying out loud, there are over 176,000 polling units across Nigeria. From what percentage of these polling units did she get her reports and how credible were these sources? In Lagos State, there are approximately 13,500 polling units. The exaggerated reports of violence and malpractices in the state did not occur in up to 1% of these polling units in one or two local government areas. How reliable and accurate then is the information which the writer feeds her readers?

“It is instructive that Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso broke away from the PDP to contest the election on the platforms of the LP and NNPP respectively. Had the PDP contested the election as one with Obi and Kwankwaso in its fold, winning the election would have been an uphill, almost impossible, task for the APC. But contesting on three separate platforms against the ruling party as they did, the victory of the APC was logically and empirically inevitable.

“Chimamanda betrays her ignorance of Nigerian politics and unwittingly misled her readers when she wrote that “Nigerian democracy had long been a two-party structure -power alternating between the APC and the PDP – until this year, when the Labour Party, led by Peter Obi, became a third force. Obi was different; he seemed honest and accessible, and his vision of anti-corruption and self-sufficiency gave rise to a movement of supporters who called themselves “Obi-dients”. Unusually large, enthusiastic crowds turned up for his rallies”.

“Obi targeted Igbo and Christian votes in his campaigns and he got his victories in the South-East and South-South. He won two out of six states in the North-Central and did not have up to 25% of the votes cast in either the North-West or North-East. He had no realistic electoral path to victory in the presidential election. Victory in two out of the six geopolitical zones cannot give any candidate victory in a presidential election in Nigeria. What is most tragic about Chimamanda’s letter to President Joe Biden is that she wrote as an unrepentant Igbo jingoist masquerading as an objective intellectual and patriotic Nigerian.

“The point is that she is Igbo like Peter Obi and wanted him to win for purely primordial reasons. Many allude to her novel on the Nigerian civil war, ‘ Half of a Yellow Sun’, as depicting her essentially ’Igbocentric’ perception of reality. This is understandable. After all, she is human.”

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