Senator Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Communications, Mr. Dele Alake, has refuted Chimamanda Adichie’s claim that the All Progressives Congress (APC) could not have won the election if the results had been uploaded in real-time to the INEC Result Viewing (IREV) portal. This was ostensibly done to ensure that President Joe Biden sends a congratulatory message to the President-elect.
In an open letter to Vice President Biden, Chimamanda criticised the United States government for congratulating Tinubu on his election victory.
Although the United States has congratulated Tinubu, the President has not sent a formal message of congratulations from the White House.
In Chimamanda’s open letter titled ‘Nigeria’s Hollow Democracy,’ which was published in The Atlantic, a newspaper in the United States, she stated that “something remarkable occurred on the morning of February 25, the day of the Nigerian presidential election.”
Many Nigerians walked out to vote with a newfound sense of confidence. Cautious trust, but still trust.”
In the letter, she argued that the subsequent influx of evidence of voting irregularities on February 26 constituted a breach of this trust.
“Numbers crossed out and rewritten; some numbers originally written in black ink were rewritten in blue, and others were whited out by accident with Tipp-Ex. “Not only was the election manipulated, but it was also conducted in such a shoddy, sloppy manner that it insulted the intelligence of Nigerians.”
According to her, Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling party, was eventually proclaimed as the incoming president of Nigeria.
Adichie stated, “Anger is developing, particularly among young people.” This level of discontent, despondency, and tension in the air has not been felt in years.”
The author criticised the response of the United States State Department in congratulating Tinubu and acknowledging the election results.
“American intelligence cannot possibly be so incompetent. The process was jeopardised not by technical inadequacies, but by deliberate manipulation, which would be evident to them if they did a little research, as it is to me and countless others.
She stated to Biden, “You have emphasised the significance of a “global community for democracy” and the need to defend “justice and the rule of law.”
A global community for democracy cannot flourish if its most influential member is apathetic. Why would the United States, which places a high value on the rule of law, support a president-elect who emerged from an illegal process?”
“By congratulating (the election’s) outcome, President Biden tarnishes America’s self-proclaimed commitment to democracy,” she argued. Please do not give an illegitimate process the appearance of legitimacy. The United States should live up to its reputation.”
In response, Alake stated that Chimamanda Adichie’s letter to the President of the United States was based on “falsehood.”
In her letter, Adichie relied on “rumours, hearsay, presumptuous conjectures, and blatant falsehood,” according to Alake, who added that she offered no evidence to support her claims.
In rebuttal, Alake stated that the novelist would be fortunate to avoid having to substantiate her allegation in court.
He stated, “Chimamanda will be fortunate if she does not have to substantiate this weighty allegation in court.”
Alake stated that the decisions of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, and his counterpart in the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Mr. Rabiu Kwankwaso, to defect from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the Labour Party (LP) and the NNPP, respectively, helped Tinubu win the election.
“It is instructive that Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso left the PDP in order to run for office under the banners of the LP and NNPP, respectively. Had the PDP contested the election as a single entity with Obi and Kwankwaso, it would have been nearly unthinkable for the APC to win the election.
“However, because they ran on three distinct platforms against the ruling party, the APC’s victory was logically and empirically inevitable,” he wrote.
He noted that Chimamanda predicated her assessment of the election’s outcome on “faulty opinion polls” conducted prior to the 25 February election.
“Chimamanda had pinned her hopes on a possible Obi victory in part on flawed opinion surveys, some of which were based on statistically insignificant and thus unreliable sample sizes, while others had no discernible empirical foundation. Alake stated that opinion polls do not win elections.
Alake questioned Chimamanda’s familiarity with Nigeria’s electoral laws and the role of technology in the most recent election.
“Chimamanda betrays her ignorance of Nigerian politics and unwittingly misleads her readers,” he added. “Without a shred of evidence, Chimamanda asserts that INEC’s inability to upload results of the presidential elections online as promised on February 25 was not due to technical difficulties, but rather deliberate human mischief and manipulation to rig the election. If results were updated immediately following the conclusion of voting, the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), which has been in power since 2015, would have no room for manipulation. Technology will rehabilitate democracy. Results would no longer include voters in addition to voters. No longer would Nigerians’ leaders be selected for them.
Alake characterised Chimamanda’s claim as a sly distortion of reality that was completely absurd.
According to him, the initial implementation of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) in the 2023 election ensured that only properly accredited voters could cast ballots.
Alake argued that it was no longer possible for party agents to collude with dishonest electoral officials and security agents to thumbprint ballot papers and fill ballot boxes in favour of particular parties and candidates.
In contrast to the acclaimed author’s claims, he asserted that democracy was flourishing in Nigeria, describing her as an unrepentant Igbo nationalist and arguing that Obi had run a campaign founded on religion and ethnicity.
He insisted that the former Anambra State governor would never become Nigeria’s president if he continues to campaign on the basis of these issues.