OYO101: Fallacy Of False Generalization— How Adichie’s Hollow Letter Insulted Sensibilities Of Oyo Voters | Muftau Gbadegesin


    When the acclaimed literary giant, Chimamanda Adichie spoke about the danger of a single story many years ago, she was hailed as one of a kind. Not many had thought she would one day fall into that abyss of one-sided political hypocrisy. Her contentious, tendentious, and off-putting open letter to President Joe Biden has again brought to the fore the danger of a single story she passionately and heartily discussed in 2009: a story that attempts to tell a part of an event as if it’s the whole – the Americanah writer must be a huge fan of SYNECDOCHE!

    For Chimamanda Adichie, the events that culminated in her public discourse about the danger of a single story 14 years have dramatically changed the moment her kinsman, Peter Obi threw his hat into the ring of the Presidential election many months ago. For the first time since the dawn of the 4th Republic, the likes of Chimamanda Adichie became energetically fired up as Nigeria’s pulse-pounding politics unfolded in a breathtaking manner. Quite ridiculous that those who have otherwise considered Nigeria a zoo would suddenly up the ante of their patriotism and start to sing the song of a better country. What a miracle! But now that their preferred candidate has been defeated, as statistically and realistically grounded pre-election polls have rightly and correctly predicted, they have crawled back to the shell of their marrow-mindedness and victimhood.

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    For the record and just so you don’t know, the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had an impressive outing in Oyo state at the last Presidential poll. He not only won convincingly but does so in a record time. Of all the 33 local governments, 351 wards, and 6390 units, the APC candidate defeated his rivals with a majestic landslide. Oyo is where the President-elect got his highest votes throughout the federation: 449, 884. And it is where the bulk of his votes came from despite securing a hugely important 517, 341 votes to second Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the NNPP in Kano. Whereas Peter Obi had a disappointing if not frustratingly disturbing experience in the state. His ‘religious war’ sentiment didn’t course through the veins of the electorates. Oyo voters saw through his pretenses and holier-than-thou disposition and thus rejected him outrightly. They were generous enough to dash him a paltry: 99, 110 votes. Unfortunately, Ms. Chimamanda Adichie couldn’t have referenced the much-expected victory recorded by the President-elect in places like Oyo and the remaining eleven states but could only point to Lagos where intimidation of voters wasn’t even up to 1% of the entire voting populace in her appeal for America intervention in Nigeria internal affairs. Of course, she couldn’t also point to where her candidate, Peter Obi recorded an earth-shaking victory, and that all the leading Presidential candidates won in their respective states of origin except one.

    Given that no other state in the country came close to Oyo state vote for vote, eye for an eye for the President-elect – isn’t it safe to say that Ms. Chimamanda Adichie’s fallacy of false generalization is not only an insult on the intelligence of eight million plus people but a misrepresentation of fact to confuse the minds of his readers. Not even in Lagos, the state of the President-elect, or Kano which had been projected and predicted to turn out a startling number of votes, or in Katsina which has vowed to pay good for good could such a massive and overwhelming number of votes be counted in favor of the President-elect. Like the rest of Ekiti, Ondo, and Ogun in the Southwestern states, the APC flagbearer floored other candidates including LP Peter Obi to a stupor. It funny how being the former governor of Lagos couldn’t save the President-elect from shocking defeat in his backyard but could raised the specter of hope for candidate Obi in his own state. In a way, those who understood the dynamics and dimensions of Nigerian politics and politicking knew Peter Obi winning the Presidential election would not only be as difficult as a Carmel passing through the eye of a needle but would be unprecedented in the anal of Nigeria’s history. They knew the strength of his movement and concluded his stamina wouldn’t carry him far beyond securing roughly six million votes. Oyo people plugged into that strategic projection and therefore voted accordingly.

    Rubbishing the impressive turnout and mammoth support given to the President-elect in Oyo is a joke taken too far. In Kebbi, where many had thought the APC flagbearer would make a mark, the outcome equally stomped observers. In other states of the federation, the results were equally breathtakingly unsettlingly. In Kaduna, the stronghold of the APC, the opposition PDP had an incredible moment. The nationwide coverage and reportage of the election show the ripening of democracy. The turnout might not be quite impressive, but the deployment of the Bimodal voter accreditation machine (BVAS) helped to put the usual manipulation that has bogged previous electoral outcomes to check. Still, the losers want the whole exercise dumped into the dustbin of history. Or simply put: they want to throw the baby and the bathing water away. In other words, Ms. Chimamanda Adichie might be good with words but not adept with a number. Throughout her long letter, no mention was made of where numbers were doctored to complement her storied narration.

    Expectedly so, the supporters of the Labor Party Presidential candidate of which Ms. Chimamanda Adichie is an influential figure, have been at the forefront of these cries and hues – at one time calling for the army to topple our democracy. At another, they tried albeit unsuccessful to taint the images of the supreme court judges. No other supporters of the cause in Nigeria have exhibited such bitterness since Nigeria’s independence. Because the bitter truth is that their candidate will and can never win an election in an ethnically diverse, pluralistic, and heterogeneous country like Nigeria by appealing to the sentiments of his religious and ethnic folks. Bitter as they say the pill is difficult to swallow. They don’t want to believe Peter Obi’s movement petered out on the 25th of February. And that what is left is just the remnant of disgruntled elements who have been tricked to enter into a movement that would not smell the seat of power! Like Chimamanda Adichie, they have been deluded by pre-election online polls that suggested their candidate is at the precipice of electoral victory. More so, they have been deceived into believing that only Peter Obi has the chance of winning at the poll ahead of others. Oyo state, a state whose voting pattern is as surprisingly unpredictable voted against Peter Obi. The people knew what they wanted and voted according to their conscience.

    The unfolding drama of the past week has been particularly interesting. From the headless mob attack on the Noble laureate, Wole Soyinka to Chimamanda Adichie’s open letter to US President Joe Biden, no other week can be as interesting and unnerving as we’ve seen. Reading through Ms. Chimamanda Adichie, one is quick to note the omission of evidence in her claims. For instance, she couldn’t walk her readers through the breakdown of the voting pattern. She couldn’t also tell her readers that Nigeria is a complex and complicated nation where winning an election is more difficult than ruling over the affairs of the people. She only reported the same cooked-up fantasies about the election being rigged and manipulated in favor of the ruling party. She referenced Imo state but forget to mention Bayelsa where the governor-elect was sent packing because of the discrepancy in the name of the deputy governor-elect. What will US do to save Nigeria’s democracy? Nothing much. America itself in caught between the rock and the hard place of democracy. The country is yet to heal from the damage of Donald Trump unfortunate incursion into America most coveted seat. No serious minded person would expect President Biden to dip his finger into the internal affairs of a sovereign country like Nigeria.

    OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via @TheGMAKing on Twitter, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850

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