Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Biden, but analysts are reporting an air of tension amongst his kitchen cabinet.
“President Buhari’s key advisors were hoping for a Trump victory and are currently worried,” tweeted by Joe Parkinson, Africa Bureau Chief of Wall Street Journal.
The thinking behind this assertion is that the Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy gave many leaders around the world the latitude to behave as they wished without any external checks.
Amnesty International and other bodies have recorded numerous cases of human rights abuses under the Buhari’s government, which a Biden’s presidency may not take lightly.
According to Joe Parkinson, Buhari’s advisers are specifically worried because of the #EndSARS protests which the government confronted with brute force.
“President Biden may be much less welcoming to Buhari; much more skeptical about selling weapons to Nigeria’s military and much more forthright in criticising any crackdown on protests. That’s why, despite the tweets, some at the top of the Buhari administration are nervous,” Mr Parkinson said.
Recall that Joe Biden wrote to the Nigerian government shortly after the Military shot peaceful protesters at Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October, 2020.
“I urge President Buhari and the Nigerian military to cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria, which has already resulted in several deaths. My heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one in the violence. The United States must stand with Nigerians who are peacefully demonstrating for police reform and seeking an end to corruption in their democracy. I encourage the government to engage in a good-faith dialogue with civil society to address these long-standing grievances and work together for a more just and inclusive Nigeria,” Biden said.
“The heady days of 2015 when Buhari was seen by Obama & Biden as the man who would fight a quick and victorious war against Boko Haram are long gone. The war has metastasised. Northeast Nigeria has become the base of one of Islamic State’s most successful regional franchises—ISWAP,” Parkinson said.
Recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria has written to commercial banks in the country to freeze the bank accounts of 20 people whom they consider as promoters of #EndSARS protests, a move which runs counter to democratic tenets.