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What Biden presidency means for Nigeria

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Biden Already Carries Himself As President – Obama
• His Victory, Triumph Of Good Over Evil – Obasanjo
• U.S. Foreign Policy Not Likely To Change Under Biden Presidency - Akinterinwa 
• Biden Most Likely To Be Friendlier To Nigeria - Adesina

Four years after President Donald John Trump shocked the world by winning the White House with a victory over Hillary Clinton, former Vice President, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, yesterday, cut short Trump’s rollercoaster ride for a second term. In the process, he also completed his whirlwind cruise to replace Trump at the White House.

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Many international media channels, including the CNN, NBC, the BBC and Associated Press projected Biden as America’s next helmsman with different headlines. While CNN declared Biden “elected president,” Associated Press was more direct. It tweeted: “Joe Biden Defeats President Donald Trump.”

Swiftly reacting to this, Trump said the election was far from over, stressing that the media cannot decide the next American president.

In his statement, Trump said that Biden is “rushing to falsely pose as the winner… his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed.

“The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” the statement read.

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But despite the uphill task of leading a polarised nation plagued by economic, health and social crises, the President-elect in his maiden tweet after being projected winner wrote: “America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”

The crushing defeat has made Trump the first incumbent since George H.W. Bush to lose his bid for a second term.

Biden, 77, a member of the Democratic Party, who served as United States Senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009, not only made his way to the American Presidency after garnering the highest number of votes to win the presidency in history, he also arrived the seat of government in tow with the first black woman and first Asian American elected vice president in history, Senator Kamala Harris.

The defeat handed Trump by Biden notwithstanding, wild jubilations broke out on streets, as Biden emerged the 46th President of the United States of America, after he crossed the 270-vote threshold in the Electoral College. His victory in Pennsylvania consolidated his position having earlier on taken Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona states that Trump carried in 2016.

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As the race neared the end, and a number of key states remained too close to call, the Trump campaign filed multiple lawsuits to contest the legitimacy of certain ballots. The fate of those challenges was obscured Thursday after Biden was projected to have won the Electoral College .

Biden, who served as vice-president for eight years, now holds the record for the most number of votes cast for any presidential candidate in history — more than 73 million, shattering the previous mark (69, 500, 000) set by Barack Obama in 2008. He led Trump by nearly four million votes nationwide.

Yahoo News reported that the former vice president, who turns 78 this month, won his bid for the White House on his third attempt, becoming the oldest person ever elected president in the U.S.

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Trump, on Wednesday, however, signaled that he is not likely to concede defeat quickly. In a tweet, the president declared without evidence that he had won in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina.

“We have claimed, for Electoral Vote purposes, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (which won’t allow legal observers) the State of Georgia, and the State of North Carolina, each one of which has a big Trump lead,” Trump wrote in tweets that were quickly flagged on Twitter as containing disputed or misleading election information.

“Additionally, we hereby claim the State of Michigan if, in fact, there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported!”

Hours earlier, the Trump campaign had announced it would seek a recount in Wisconsin, another state Biden had won.

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“Our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away, in secret,” Trump said, again without evidence. “This is a case where they’re trying to steal an election. They’re trying to rig an election.

Biden’s election was as much about rallying support among Democrats, independents and even some Republicans with a message of unity as it was a repudiation of Trump, whose approval rating, according to Gallup, never hit 50 percent.

In poll after poll leading up to Election Day, large majorities of voters disapproved of Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 234, 000 Americans and infected more than 9.5 million in the United States, including Trump.

Throughout the pandemic, Trump sought to downplay the virus, mocking Biden for wearing a mask and falsely claiming that the United States is “rounding the corner” on the pandemic at a time when cases and deaths from COVID-19 continued to rise.

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As the race for the White House pushed into October and November, the country set a string of new daily records for coronavirus cases and saw a dramatic spike in states that Trump needed to win to secure his reelection.

After recovering from his bout with the disease caused by exposure to the Coronavirus — which led to a three-day hospitalisation and forced the cancellation of one presidential debate, the president returned to the campaign trail in mid-October, holding rallies where he and many of his supporters eschewed the recommendations from public health officials to wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

The Biden campaign offered a sharp contrast, adhering to guidelines from Trump’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, avoiding large rallies and making attendees at campaign events wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Biden overcame numerous attacks from Trump on the campaign trail, including claims of cognitive lapses (Trump branded him “Sleepy Joe”) and questions about his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. Trump even called on Attorney General William Barr to launch an investigation into the Bidens just two weeks before Election Day. Barr did not.

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But none of the punches managed to land, infuriating the president and the GOP.

“If I lose, I will have lost to the worst candidate, the worst candidate in the history of presidential politics,” Trump said at an October 17 campaign rally.

FROM far-flung parts of the world have come congratulatory messages for the president-elect and vice-president elect. One of first world leaders to do so was President Muhammadu Buhari.

Noting that Biden’s election was “at a time of uncertainty and fear in world affairs,” he added: “your election is a significant reminder that democracy is the best form of government because it offers the people the opportunity to change their government by peaceful means.”

According to President Buhari, “the most powerful group are not the politicians, but voters who can decide the fate of the politicians at the polling booth.”

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He added: “Respect for the will of the people is the very reason democracy remains the best form of government, despite its limitations from one polity to another, and from one society to another.

“I am thrilled by the fact that you are an experienced politician who had served as Congressman for 40 years and a vice president for eight years. This is a remarkable track record that gives us hope that you will add value to the presidency and world affairs.

“With your election, we look forward to greater cooperation between Nigeria and the United States, especially at economic, diplomatic and political levels, including the war against terrorism.”

On international affairs, President Buhari urged Mr. Biden to “deploy your vast experience in tackling the negative consequences of nationalist politics on world affairs, which have created divisions, conflicts and uncertainties.”

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The Nigerian leader also called on Mr. Biden “to introduce greater engagement with Africa on the basis of reciprocal respects and shared interests.”

IN congratulating Biden, France President, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted: “The Americans have chosen their President. Congratulations @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris! We have a lot to do to overcome today’s challenges. Let’s work together!,” Macron said on Twitter.

GERMAN Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who is also the first female leader of Germany, while congratulating Biden and Harris wrote: “I look forward to future cooperation with President Biden… “Our transatlantic friendship is irreplaceable if we are to master the great challenges of our time.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in congratulating Biden on the “spectacular victory,” said that he’s looking forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights.

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“Congratulations Joe Biden on your spectacular victory! As the VP, your contribution to strengthening Indo-US relations was critical and invaluable. I look forward to working closely together once again to take India-US relations to greater heights,” Modi wrote on his official Twitter account.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was one of the first African leaders to congratulate Biden. Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi, said in a statement, “The President stressed the aspiration for cooperation and joint action to strengthen the strategic bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States, in the interest of the two friendly countries and peoples.”

Biden’s former boss, former President Barack Obama on his part, said he “could not be prouder” to congratulate Biden and Harris.

In a statement Saturday, Obama said Biden has “got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way,” because he will enter the White House facing “a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has.

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“I know he’ll do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote… I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support.”

FORMER President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, described Biden’s election as the 46th U.S. President-elect as “a victory of good over evil.”

Obasanjo who congratulated Biden and Harris, tasked the newly elected President to restore confidence in the role of America as the largest economy in the world, which has a very significant responsibility for the peace, security, stability and progress of the world.”

The former president lamented that the majority of the people had watched helplessly as the world was being pulled down. According to him: “Not that the world was perfect and equitable, but it was reasonably predictable with some measure of rule of law and respect for international agreements and treatise.”

Obasanjo in the six-paragraph letter said, he was reasonably sure that Harris “will have some Nigerian DNA in her as most of those taken to the Caribbean from Africa went from Nigeria of today.”

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COMMENTING on what a Biden Presidency holds for Nigeria, a former Director General (DG), Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Professor Bola Akinterinwa, said the implications can be multidimensional, stressing that it is important to note that US foreign policy is not likely to change under a Biden presidency.
 
His words: “It is the technique of diplomacy, or tactical diplomacy, that has the potential to change. In this regard, the expected changes cannot be constructively addressed now for reasons of conjectural limitations.
 
“However, there is no disputing the fact that every U.S. democratic administration has been more sympathetic to African concerns than the Republican administrations. This means that better understanding between the United States and Nigeria can be expected,” he stated.

FOR a Professor of History and Development Studies, at the University of Ibadan, Prof. Tayo Adesina, being an establishment man and a seasoned public administrator, there is the likelihood of more foreign policy interactions between Nigeria and the U.S.
 
“What is important in all cases, is the capacity of Nigeria to impact on US foreign policy. Most unfortunately, however, Nigeria’s foreign policy is unnecessarily too reactive. It lacks focus and lustre. It is not programmatic. Consequently, there cannot but be very little to gain from the election of Joe Biden, unless there is a deliberate attempt to first address the domestic challenges. Whatever is the case, Joe Biden is most likely to be friendlier to Nigeria, and therefore, we should salute his courage, pray for longevity of life for him and ask God to make him have eyes that can see objectively and maintain very cordial relationships with the Nigerian Diaspora in the United States.”

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