How Ghanaians perceive Buhari’s win

by Kwabena Opong

This year’s election in Nigeria is impacting the Ghanaian political scene in a way never experienced before. Particularly among the largest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) the feeling is one of hope for their party in 2016.
For the first time Ghanaians showed a deep interest in what was going to transpire in neighboring Nigeria in an election that was predicted to be violent. Some Nigerian politicians and business people apprehensive of a violent fallout fled the country for neighboring countries, including Ghana. There were others who left for the United States and England among other places. Ghanaians became even more apprehensive as they saw a marked increase in the Nigerian population in their country.
And for the first time, bill boards for the competing Nigeria political parties appeared in the Ghanaian capital raising a debate in the local media. Daytime radio and television talk shows are now inundated with discussions of the elections as if they hold the key to successful elections in Ghana in 2016. In fact CitiFM provided a live coverage of the collation from the center at Abuja.
The transparency in the conduct of the election has heightened the interest of the opposition political parties in Ghana. They see the involvement of Nigeria’s top intellectuals as encouraging. Ghana’s electoral commission chose to ignore teachers and employed people, some of who were illiterate, in running the 2012 elections. The two-step approach to voting has also generated more pressure on the electoral commission for reforms in the electoral process.
Nigerian voters had to first go through accreditation, a separate exercise in which one’s qualification to vote was confirmed. It ensured transparency in the process as it left little room for over-voting. The process could not prevent snatching of ballot boxes but it made nonsense of the criminal act. Counting and collating could show the excess ballots in the box and would be rejected. Many Ghanaians think the Nigerian methods are worth emulating. Among the NPP it is believed that could eliminate the kind of fraud that characterized the 2012 elections as was revealed during the Supreme Court hearings for the NPP’s petition challenging the election results.
Some NPP members also believe that their chances for winning are brightened by the similarities between the leaders and the two countries. They aver that Presidents John Mahatma and Good luck Jonathan are close friends. They are both 58, assumed their presidencies through the deaths of their respective bosses. Both men, they argue, are presiding over corrupt regimes. The NPP argues that the choice of Bukhara, 73 is the preference of maturity and wisdom over youthful exuberance and that is a precursor to what would happen in 2016 when Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo would be 72. Au contraire, the ruling NDC forced by circumstances to support Jonathan would not accept the NPP’s position. The situation in both countries may be similar but they argue, dumso is not an equivalent of Boko Haram, as if the only problems Nigerians and Ghanaians are facing are Boko Haram and energy respectively. The discourse continues but as the chairman of the NPP said, his party can only win the elections in 2016 on the merits of hard work and nothing else. Buhari’s victory is not a given for the NPP in 2016.

The writer is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Amandla

Posted by on Apr 18 2015. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply