Monday, March 27, 2023

Two weeks after election, U.S. President Biden yet to congratulate President-elect Tinubu

Last May, Mr Biden had telephoned then Philippine president-elect Ferdinando Marcos Jr, to congratulate him. The details of the call were published on the White House website.

• March 13, 2023
Joe Biden and Bola Tinubu
Joe Biden and Bola Tinubu

The winner of Nigeria’s fiercely contested presidential election, Bola Tinubu, has yet to receive an official congratulations from U.S. President Joe Biden, as is customary when any nation deemed an American ally elects a new president.

Given that his distant predecessor, Barack Obama, congratulated Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 on the same day that the country’s Independent National Election Commission (INEC) pronounced him the winner, Mr Biden’s silence two weeks after Mr Tinubu’s victory seemed odd.

Last May, Mr Biden had telephoned then Philippine president-elect Ferdinando Marcos Jr to congratulate him. The details of the call were published on the White House website.

In a similar situation, the U.S. president had sent a congratulatory message to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, when he emerged winner of the presidential election in Brasil in October 2022, also published on the White House website.

Instead, it was Ned Price, U.S. Department of State spokesperson, who felicitated with Mr Tinubu on behalf of the foreign government while also pointing out that many Nigerians were frustrated with INEC’s electoral process.

Mr Price encouraged aggrieved candidates to challenge Mr Tinubu’s victory in court in the statement.

Mr Biden’s silent body language towards Nigeria’s incoming president may be perceived as his skepticism of the electoral process that produced him.

The European Union had said the election process was distorted and lacked transparency.

Similarly, British think-tank, Chatham House, said intimidation, violence, and irregularities tainted the presidential polls that gave Mr Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress the victory.

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