Nigeria’s politics is an old men’s club, says US diplomat
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a United States diplomat, has likened Nigeria’s political circle to an old men’s club.
Thomas-Greenfield, who was the assistant secretary of State for African Affairs between 2013 and 2017, made this known on Tuesday while speaking at ’20 Years of Democracy: a Retrospect’, a programme organised by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in partnership with Ford Foundation and YIAGA Africa.
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The diplomat predicted that the 2023 election will be challenging because of a gentleman’s agreement that has to be honoured.
“Nigeria’s politics is an old men’s club. There is also a gentleman’s agreement to rotate power between the north and the south,” she said.
“The next election will be a challenging one because of a gentleman’s agreement to rotate power”.
Speaking on the challenges of Nigeria’s democracy in the past 20 years, the diplomat said Nigerian elections have a huge potential for violence.
“Nigeria made a huge step backwards to violence in 2019,” she said.
“I read that 30 people lost their lives to electoral violence but I think it would be higher than that.”
According to Thomas-Greenfield, elections are expensive in Nigeria because there is no framework for candidates to receive donations from electorates.
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Although Nigeria was given credit for having the financial ability and institutional infrastructure to hold elections, Thomas-Greenfield said the government occasionally “uses its ability to pay to influence how the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) performs”.