The Danger of Chimamanda’s Single Story About Nigeria’s 2023 Election, By Folabi Ogunleye


I remember going out to Manhattan, New York, to see the ‘Half a Yellow Sun’ movie in 2014.

Until then, I had habored reservations over the ban of the movie in Nigeria by the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration.

Seeing the movie, however, was an eye opener. I remember being shocked and disappointed by the dangerous revisionism of Nigeria’s civil w@r years that the narrative constituted.

Whole sections of the saga, especially the v¡olent events that preceeded the tensions that came before the w@r [including the brvtal tortvre and ann¡h¡lat¡on of a broad section of leaders of northern extraction by young military officials of south-eastern heritage] were neglected.

The movie, like the book on which the movie is based, simply focused more on the aftermath of the aforementioned v¡olence.

I sat there in the movie theater, disturbed by what I was watching on the giant screen: A half-cooked story that distorted history, and risked flaring old tempers anew.

No wonder why it was banned in Nigeria!

It was at that moment I began to pay more attention to Chimamanda Adichie, the author of ‘Half a Yellow Sun.’ Before then, I was merely a happy-go-lucky fan of the baritoned girl with a gifted pen, who lectured us all on the ‘danger of a single story.’

Single stories, according to Adichie, originate from lack of exposure to a fuller perspective of events and situations. The danger is that such lack of exposure to facts often feed into malicious intents and purposes, as dictated by prejudicial dispositions.

Ms. Adichie is a patient of her diagnostic theory: The single story that derived from her narrow perspective on issues surrounding the recently concluded general election in Nigeria apparently comes from a prejudied mindset, where her preferred candidate and his supporters are saints and everybody else is a sinner.

So blind, so prejudicial and so bigoted Adichie is, that despite her extensive social and educational exposure, she repeatedly misses the opportunity to employ critical introspection in her analysis of historical and contemporary events, much less find the grace to deploy her otherwise brilliant take on the ‘dangers of a single story’ to analyzing these situations.

Only a few things undermine individual privilege of thought and wisdom than the kind of congenital prejudice that afflicts the likes of Chimamanda Adichie.

It is why a woman of her enlightened pedigree would do something as lamentable as to pen a letter to a foreign leader who is battling his own hoarde of delusional revisionists in his country, to come help delusional revisionists in Nigeria live up their own fantasies.

It is apparent that a grand plan by the likes of Adichie was afoot to dominate the 2023 elections by hook or by crook, backed by the assurances of influential powers within and similarly influential powers without.

Fortunately for Nigeria, this agenda FAILED in spectacular fashion.

Hence the inordinate reactions of disappointment that we see among the lot of these shortsighted schemers.

The ‘Chimamandas’ out there have lost out and are merely braying to be noticed.

If their claims of illegitimacy about the 2023 elections in Nigeria have any truth in them, they would have lashed out in widespread protests right after Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared president-elect. Chimamanda’s letter to Biden would not have come a whole month after the fact.

Thankfully, the world has moved on.

America, under Joe Biden’s watch, has already joined the rest of the world leaders to congratulate Nigeria and Nigerians on Asiwaju Tinubu’s emergence as president-elect.

Ìtìjú [Yorùbá for ‘shame’] has become the portion of the likes of Chimamanda Adichie whose dangerous ‘single stories’ seek to undermine the imperfect success of the last general election in Nigeria.

Nigeria has seen the worst of her type, and the country has managed to endure in spite of the worst expectations of these miserable naysayers.

With Tinubu in charge in the days to come, it will begin to be a different kind of story for Nigeria.

The good among Chimamanda’s ilk will be wooed and blessed for holding out hope for Nigeria.

And the ranks of the hateful and envious among them will be decimated and scattered.And Nigeria will survive and prosper.

Bola Tinubu’s Orí (Chi) is strong. With him in charge, I believe it would be a whole different kind of Nigerian leadership.

Obstacles in the way will be swept off by the gales. Our hopes as Nigerians of all walks of life, and of diverse creed and heritage, is renewed.


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