Bola Tinubu the candidate of the Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress, won the Presidential election on February 25th, 2023. However, a major political showdown began soon after with the opposition vowing to contest the results.
Now, the Nigerian-President elect, Bola Tinubu, will take office on schedule on 29 May, despite court challenges to the election result. However, as Tinubu prepares to become the President in Nigeria, there are speculations that it is actually an American who could shape Tinubu’s administration in the African nation.
As per a report, a retired American diplomat Brian Browne has served as the de facto chief of staff to Lagos “godfather” Bola Tinubu for nearly 10 years. With Browne having such a long history of working with Bola Tinubu, he has built a reputation for himself and has gained considerable influence on Tinubu.
With Tinubu set to become the President it could be Brian Browne’s advice that could determine the destiny of over 200 million people.
Browne is very powerful as he is responsible for planning the latter’s schedule and determines who is worthy of working in the Lagos godfather’s team.
As per the report, Brian Browne who lives in Tinubu’s house, also vets Tinubu’s speeches, formulates his policies and is in charge of vetting those who work closely with Tinubu.
He lives in Tinubu’s house and has an office in both the Lagos and Abuja mansions. Browne is also a staunch confidante of Tinubu. He connected Tinubu with notable diplomats and government officials in the US and is an adviser and middle man of Tinubu till date.
Tinubu: a US puppet?
All of this raise speculation on US influence in Nigerian politics under Bola Tinubu. It is seen often, how Western lobbyists play a significant influence in African elections.
For instance, politicians in DRC reportedly appointed lobbyists in Washington for the 2023 Presidential election. In fact, western lobbyists have played a major role in the elections of DRC.
Read More: Western powers hold Africa’s elections hostage
Now with influential American diplomats like Brian Browne who exerts significant influence on Nigeria’s President-elect Bola Tinubu, his involvement in Nigerian politics will only deepen.
Further, his presence can also provide the US an opportunity to strengthen its position, secure its interests with Nigeria and even interfere in the Nigerian internal affairs.
At a time, when the US has been upping its game to counter Russia and China’s influence in Africa, it could prove to be its golden opportunity, more so because Nigeria is also the largest economy in the African continent.
On the other hand, it might also make things difficult for Tinubu at home as he already faces major opposition. Tinubu was declared the winner of the election on an overall turn-out of 29%, the lowest in Nigeria’s democratic history.
The result is already being challenged in court by Obi – who came third – and by the second-placed opposition People’s Democratic party (PDP) led by Atiku Abubakar.
But the APC is asking the courts to strike down the Obi challenge on a series of technicalities. Further, as per a report, acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote an open letter to Joe Biden urging him to rethink his decision to endorse the results.
In any case, the American diplomat’s influence on Bola Tinubu might also become yet another reason for his political rivals to intensify their opposition.
However, one thing is clear that under Tinubu it is the retired US diplomat who might actually hold considerable power to decide the fate of Nigerians.
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