We write to convey our admiration and commendation of your outstanding journalism and uncommon devotion to the expansion of public knowledge, through well-researched and balanced reports, on important subjects and cultural trends influencing the world and shaping the experiences of many.
We note your valiant contributions to topics such as human rights, climate change, and social justice for marginalized groups and communities and how your reporting, alongside other journalistic efforts, has stoked productive debates about these hugely important issues while also inspiring action in different parts of the globe, Africa inclusive.
Your success has not only inspired real-life changes and eased the suffering of many as a consequence, but it also provides motivation for women and girls in Asia and Africa who look to you for strength as they confront social barriers and other limiting factors that pose a threat to their dreams and ambitions.
We wish to also note our particular appreciation of your recent TIME feature titled “The 100 most influential people of 2023”, which included Nigeria’s President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
We agree with your submission that winning an election in Africa’s largest democracy is no mean feat and by pulling this off through a uniting campaign that appealed to broad sections of Nigeria’s diverse society, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu proved his political mettle and reiterated his position as one of the most impactful global actors today.
We are equally impressed with the quality of research that informed the report, having highlighted the President-Elect’s political activism and his successful struggle for the restoration and growth of Nigeria’s democracy. In general, your sound justification for his deserved inclusion underlines your journalistic rigour, nuanced and fact-based approach, and insistence on truth at a time when some disregard ethical obligations to amplify false but traffic-generating lies and baseless propaganda.
Furthermore, we wish to communicate our awareness and regret of the sad fact that your reporting on the matter has subjected you to various acts of intimidation and abuse from partisan trolls in our country who remain implacably embittered about the outcome of the election because their preferred candidate lost.
While such is not unheard of in a democracy, as it is expected that losers are naturally disappointed with electoral outcomes, your experience and the totally unwarranted harassment you have faced, which may have led to the recent restrictions made to your social media account(s), prove that these individuals have crossed the boundaries of what could be considered understandable opposition and election-loss grieving.
Indeed, they have constituted themselves as an illiberal, anti-democratic mob, not unlike the delusional and violent thugs that stormed the US Capitol in a dangerous bid to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Daily, in an organized fashion, these individuals, operating through various but centrally controlled troll accounts, target for abuse and other forms of negative actions anyone perceived as not in support of their defeated candidate. Their goal, like other anti-democratic mobs elsewhere, is to tarnish the credibility of the process and project a biased and inaccurate version of events through insidious manipulations of algorithms and trend charts, in the specific case of Twitter.
While we deeply sympathize with you over the sad and undeserved experience, please note that these individuals constitute a tiny minority of Nigerians. Their violent tantrums are unduly amplified by social media platforms such as Twitter in their refusal to accommodate local dynamics in necessary regulation.
Contrary to the deplorable behavior of this illiberal mob, the vast majority of Nigerians are not only approving of the election and its outcome, they look forward to the official handover of the outgoing president to the next one in an event considered yet another milestone for our maturing democracy. Safe to say that these Nigerians, oft-described as the silent majority who are undoubtedly peaceful, courteous, and tolerant of dissent, also appreciate your journalism and acknowledgement of our President-Elect’s global standing.
We hope that this clarification brings you relief even as we offer the assurances of our highest regards and best wishes in all your endeavours.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Media Centre .