The Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) has been charged to emulate the success of the 2015 election, to uphold and promote Ghana’s democracy in the 2016 general election.
According to the immediate past Electoral Commissioner of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, the 2015 Nigerian election was not perfect but had a lot of successes to celebrate and serves as a guideline for other sister countries, including Ghana.
He said the healthy competition between Ghana and Nigeria needed not remain on the football field, but had to be extended to the completion of political stability between the two countries.
Professor Jega gave the charge while delivering a lecture, the first in the series, which formed part of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Kumasi last Wednesday.
He, however, challenged Ghana not to hold an election using the Nigerian elections as the standard, but one that would beat Nigeria’s good example convincingly.
Speaking at the lecture on the theme: “Towards Free and Fair Elections; the Nigerian Experience.”
he shed light on the recent general election in Nigeria, factors that ensured the credibility of the electoral processes.
He expressed the readiness to assist the EC in Ghana whenever the need arose to enhance the upcoming local election in November 2016.
Political parties to do more
Professor Jega appealed to political parties in Ghana to support the EC and not leave the responsibility of voter education to the electoral body alone.
That, he said, was because political parties benefitted more and directly from valid votes more than any other entity, therefore, they needed to put all hands on deck to ensure maximum valid votes.
As a result, he charged political parties to do more than just getting their supporters out to vote on election day and also ensure they voted right.
Professor Jega said there was no point having a high voter turnout only for a good number of those ballots to be declared invalid.
Professor Jega underscored the need for electoral commissions to be financially independent to ensure credible and successful electoral processes.
“Financial autonomy of a commission is important. The situation where a commission has to go cap in hand to a government will undermine the integrity of the commission,” he said.
As Electoral Commissioner of Nigeria, he had played a leading role in ensuring credible and peaceful election in Nigeria