• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria’s elections in the lenses of the global press

Nigeria’s 2023 polls: The toxic misjudgements of Soludo, el-Rufai

Whether Nigeria likes it or not, the world is taking notice of how so poorly its elections are conducted. After all, Nigeria’s is Africa’s most populous nation. Many now believe that those who manage the affairs of the nation have become even more ingenious taking the nation in the wrong direction.

In the flowing paragraphs, readers can peep into the lenses of the world’s press that converged on Nigeria during the recent elections and what they have to say about the polls that were meant to be pivotal. It is vital what the global press says as they shape and influence global investors as they move their funds around the world, deciding as they do, to enter a country, to stay or to pull out their funds.

*The Economist* called the election a _“chaotically organized vote and messy count”_ that gave Nigeria a new president.

*The Financial Times* said in an editorial comment that Nigeria’s presidential election was _“deeply flawed”_ and the winner _“a wealthy political fixer.”_

*The Times of London* was the most disrespectful. It used this very bad phrase: _“a wealthy kleptocratic ‘godfather’ of politics”_ to describe the person who will replace Buhari on May 29, 2023. As bad as those characterizations are, they are not as damaging as the Financial Times’ revelation that it personally _“witnessed armed men remove a presidential ballot box in Surulere, Lagos”_ on Election Day.

*The Guardian of U.K.* described the winner as _“an immensely wealthy veteran powerbroker trailed by corruption allegations which he denies.”_

*The New York Times* described the president-elect as _“a divisive figure in Nigerian politics.”_

*Robert Rotberg,* founding director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s programme on intrastate conflict, wrote an opinion for *Canada’s influential Globe and Mail*; its headline: _“Bola Tinubu’s election is another triumph for Nigeria’s corrupt old guard.”_

*The CNN* last Friday played back a part of Bola Tinubu’s acceptance speech where he described what he got as _“a serious mandate.”_ A CNN anchor then asked if it _“was really a mandate”_ with less than 10 percent of the registered voters behind it. He must be wondering what kind of people are these? The CNN and that anchor were not the only ones bemused by our electoral culture, our elections and their outcomes.

One of *Germany’s* largest newspapers, *Sueddeutsche Zietung*, had unflattering words for the winner; it also queried the legitimacy of a mandate that was spurned by 90 per cent of the voting population.

Read also: Don’t be deceived, elections in Nigeria are shams

*Aljazeera* ran a special report on how the election was disrupted in Lagos on election day. The headline is: _’How violence robs Nigerians of their votes.’_

*The Washington Post* quoted Matthew Page, associate fellow with Chatham House’s Africa Program, as accusing INEC of making both deliberate and unintentional mistakes: *_“They raised the hopes about the election and its transparency, and then they dashed them. When the opposition says the process was broken, it’s hard to argue with them.”_*

*Other Newspaper Headlines from around the world used unprintable words to describe the president-elect.

Another newspaper in Canada with a large Nigerian immigrant population spoke of how “Depression, anxiety, uncertainty be-clouds Nigeria’s political space a kingpin wins the election.”_

Quite stinking!