Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2016

Ghanaians Are Fully Ready For December 7 Elections, Says ECOWAS Observer, Abatemi-Usman

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By Nuel Suji – A member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) observer mission to the 2016 general elections of Ghana holding on December 7, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, has said that the Ghanaians have shown strong commitment and unflinching readiness for the exercise.  ghana-election

Mr. Abatemi-Usman, a member of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) who has been on ground in Ghana since November 18, 2016, as a long-term ECOWAS observer, noted that the process of preparation for the presidential and legislative elections have been quite satisfactory.

A statement by his media aide, Micheal Jegede, quoted a telephone interview, in which the former Senator of Kogi Central Senator said special voting commenced on December 1 and was concluded on December 4.

“The special voting, according to him, was scheduled to allow those who work on Election Day – security agents, electoral officers and media professionals – to cast their votes.

“The election process is underway. The special voting started on December 1. It was completed on Sunday, December 4. Generally, the Ghanaians are fully ready for the elections. From what i have observed here, the level of preparation is satisfactory. There has been transparency in the whole process of preparation for the election. There are currently ten regions in Ghana. As one of the long-term ECOWAS observers, I am coordinating one of the regions – Brong-Ahafo whose capital is Sunyani. You can see excitement in the people here.

“They are very much enthusiastic about the elections. The Ghana Electoral Commission has been working hard to conduct a free, fair and credible election. Political parties, stakeholders, observer missions, civil society organizations are to a greater extent satisfied with the arrangements by the electoral body here. Though, there are little complaints. But there is a general satisfaction with the preparations. The campaigns have been peaceful and in order. The general atmosphere is calm and okay. People are eager to perform their civic duty as citizens,” the ex-Nigerian Lawmaker said.

He advised Ghanaians to equally endeavour to conduct themselves properly on the day of election, saying that “the people have a campaign slogan here which is ‘We have only one Ghana’. This is what you keep hearing throughout the campaigns by the different political parties. So, my message to the people of Ghana as they come out en masse for the election on Wednesday is that they should try to act in accordance to their campaign slogan. The winners should be magnanimous in victory, while losers should accept defeat in good faith and believe that if they don’t win today, they could win another day. They should embrace peace, unity and oneness in the aftermath of the election.”

The ECOWAS mission team for the 2016 Ghana presidential and legislative polls comprised of 94 observers, out of which 80 are short -term while 14 are long-term. According to the African regional organisation’s newsletter, the short-term observers will come from all Member States of the ECOWAS, except for Ghana, and the Community Parliament. The short-term mission is comprised of members of the Civil Society, representatives of electoral commissions in West Africa, Ambassadors of Member States accredited to the ECOWAS, and observers from the Koffi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre.

The 14 long-term observers deployed since last month where Senator Abatemi-Usman belongs are experts in security, gender, electoral operations, constitutional laws and political affairs.

There are seven candidates contesting for the presidential seat. The incumbent President, John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), his main challenger, Nana Akuffo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party, NPP, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and Ivor Kobina Greenstreet, of the Convention People’s Party (CPP). Others are Paa Kwesi Nduom, of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Edward Mahama, of the People’s National Convention (PNC), and the Independent Candidate, Jacob Osei Yeboah.

Ghanaians will as well be going to the polls on Wednesday to elect 275 members of Parliament. 1158 candidates are reportedly seeking for the parliamentary seats.

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