Joe Biden’s Election: Lessons and truth for Nigeria


Election into the highest office of the United States of America has just ended with the triumph of the people’s will: They were resolved—and united–in the decision to remove the disorganized Mr Trump; they wanted change and they got it—through the ballot boxes—one of the symbols of democratic governance. In the process, the most powerful president on planet earth with controls over the biggest military arsenal succumbed to the people’s will; he saw the votes counting and moving against his wish to remain in office for a second term, but that was not to be; once the people had made up their mind, the rest was easy. The Americans were so sure that come November 3, 2020, President Trump would meet his waterloo. What lesson is this for Nigeria? A lot. The first is there was no ethnic consideration that “power must remain with a certain group”. This is very important. Americans did not see themselves as divided; they see themselves as one—guided by the spirit of America. A good president is not determined by where he comes from but rather his credentials—how much he knows and what he can do to inspire the nation and his people. Nigeria must discourage perpetual dependence on ethnic considerations. In a democracy, that is not allowed. Secondly, Nigerians must learn to subject themselves to the rule of law—and the constitution of the land. Each of the States in America has its own laws and electoral commission—unlike in Nigeria where the president can appoint and remove the electoral body—and even refuse to accent to modifications that are considered harmful to a certain tribe. It is time Nigeria move forward and shed this archaic and ancient practices. When Trump found himself losing, he went to court and sought protection; this is not so in Nigeria where the Judge would have been forcibly removed. The practice of individuals becoming bigger than the constitution cannot move the nation forward. This is 60 years of remaining in a spot—the same scenario plays out again and again. The third lesson is the seamless conduct of the election; there was no incidence of thuggery, ballot box snatching, violence, or killings. Americans voted peacefully from the comfort of their homes; many of them sent in their votes through the mail! In Nigeria, those mails would have been hijacked and destroyed. The police would have made some arrest and charged some suspects to court. Tribunals would have been set up to upturn the people’s will, yet we practice democracy! During the elections, we did not see soldiers parading the streets of America neither was there announcement of security forces drafted into the streets t—in their thousands—to maintain calm—or help rig popular votes. The Americans showed that they are one family; even those with different religious colouration spoke with one voice. In Nigeria, you would have been told that this and that is Yoruba or Hausa or Igbo. This is not a democracy. Joe Biden the new American President-elect was two-time vice-president, spent nearly 36 years as a senator; yet he is not rich—or extravagant. He is not going to appoint people of his own tribe, nephews, and cousins or extend the service year of those who ought to have retired. Nigeria needs to move forward. The nation needs a breather. This is the time to build our nation; this is not the time to censor the social media-or gag the press; these are the hallmarks of a third republic. The present generation of Nigerian leaders are too sold on stagnant principles. Achieving victory in any election does not end only in appointments, elevation and dismissals of officials; it goes more than that; for example between 1999 and 2020, the population of Nigerians increased astronomically; was there any requisite development on the ground to accommodate them? The answer is none. That’s why the capital city of Abuja now experiences traffic gridlock and a dearth of infrastructure. No railway for mass transportation, no new roads—except the existing ones. At this rate, it is better imagined what Nigeria would be in the next two decades. We must come together as one and elect only people who can deliver—not on the bases of sentiments.