Nigeria Ambassador to the US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye

Ambassador Ade Adefuye, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, has written to the New York Times to express disagreement with its editorial of February 16 criticizing the postponement of Nigeria’s presidential election previously scheduled for this month.

In the letter, published in editions of the newspaper on February 18th and 19th, Mr. Adefuye stressed that the postponement was made by the Independent National Electoral Commission [and not President Goodluck Jonathan].

In the editorial comment, Mr. Jonathan took a shellacking.

“While Boko Haram poses a serious threat to our country, we have made great progress to eliminate the scourge; Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past,” Adefuye said, adding that it is not practicable to fight Boko Haram and provide the security necessary for the election at the same time.

The implication is that as long as a battle against the insurgency can be claimed to be going on, no elections are actually to be expected in Nigeria, where election security is constitutionally the business of the police force, not the military.  Professor Adefuye’s intervention did not refer to the significant body of opinion in Nigeria, including the advice of the Council of State two weeks ago, that there was no convincing evidence for the postponement. 

Taking another shot at the New York Times, the diplomat cited CNN Money’s opinion that Nigeria will this year be the world’s third fastest growing economy, approaching 7 percent growth.

“When The New York Times endorsed President Obama for re-election in 2012, the United States economy grew by only 2.3 percent,” he said. 

Ambassador Adefuye’s rebuttal appears to be a heavily-edited version of a longer statement that appeared in the Nigerian media on Wednesday.

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