Clinton condemns corruption in Nigeria

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Aug. 7, 2009 | EMMANUEL WOLE/AFP/Getty Images   Secretary Clinton took on corruption in Nigeria yesterday, saying that Nigeria had the potential to become a G-20 country, “but — a big but — the corruption reputation … it is a problem.” Clinton also took on Nigeria’s “flawed electoral system.” (Foreign Policy named ...

582162_090813_UmaruYar__Adua2.jpg
582162_090813_UmaruYar__Adua2.jpg

 

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Aug. 7, 2009 | EMMANUEL WOLE/AFP/Getty Images

Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Aug. 7, 2009 | EMMANUEL WOLE/AFP/Getty Images
 

Secretary Clinton took on corruption in Nigeria yesterday, saying that Nigeria had the potential to become a G-20 country, “but — a big but — the corruption reputation … it is a problem.”

Clinton also took on Nigeria’s “flawed electoral system.” (Foreign Policy named the “comically flawed” 2007 election of President Umaru Yar’Adua — with hands raised in the photo above — as one of the world’s ugliest elections.) In an invitation-only town-hall meeting that included democracy activists, business leaders, and state governors, she drew a big laugh when she said, “I know a little bit about running in elections, and I have won some elections and I have lost some elections. And in a democracy there have to be winners and losers.”

Referring to her home country, Clinton went on to say: “Our democracy is still evolving. You know we’ve had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember. In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state, so we have our problems, too.”

U.S. conservatives pounced on those words. A spokesman for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush, referred to them as “ill-advised comments,” in an ABC News report. Meanwhile, The Guardian called it a “gaffe.”

As usual, the State Department’s P.J. Crowley clarified in order to calm the right-wing hysteria: “The point she is making is that it’s about a disputed result and then the willingness of the candidates to accept a flawed result rather than, say, resort to violence.”

Photo: EMMANUEL WOLE/AFP/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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