Close-up shot of Chimamanda

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Pens a Striking Open Letter to President Biden

The Nigerian writer calls out the U.S government for its response to Nigeria’s election.

Esteemed Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichiehaspenned a poignant letter to the United States government. In the letter, Adichie confronts the Biden administration’s response to Nigeria’s presidential elections and Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s controversial victory.

On March 1, Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced that Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was Nigeria’s president-elect. The announcement quickly spurred a polarizing chain of reactions among Nigerians and sparked heated conversations around tribalism online.

Following the announcement, Edward Price, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State publicly congratulated Tinubu. Price stated, “...this competitive election represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy.”

At first, Price’s comments did not trigger much of a reaction from the Nigerian public, but in Adichie’s letter—published by The Atlantic—she went into extensive detail about why the U.S government’s response is problematic. Never one to back down from expressing her opinions, Adichie revisited the outrage that followed the election results, and the heightened skepticism directed at the Nigerian government from its citizens. In a poignant section of the letter, the acclaimed writer sharply states: “American intelligence surely cannot be so inept.”

Adichie, who was vocal about her support of Labour Party candidate Peter Obi, expresses her growing dissatisfaction throughout the rest of the article. In another portion of the piece, she points out America’s bigger role on the world stage, and labelled its seeming laissez-faire congratulatory message as apathetic.

“A global community for democracy cannot thrive in the face of apathy from its most powerful member. Why would the United States, which prioritizes the rule of law, endorse a president-elect who has emerged from an unlawful process?" says Adichie.

To mark the end of her statement, the Half of a Yellow Sun author writes: “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.”

It is not the first time that the author has audaciously expressed her opinions without fear of recourse. Her article has since triggered backlash from some Nigerian political affiliates, including Bayo Onanuga, the director of Media and Publicity for Tinubu’s campaign—who in a heated tweet—urged President Biden to disregard Adichie’s open letter, and called it “fiction.”

Adichie is yet to respond to the backlash, and it is unclear if she will.