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Ghana doesn’t need to learn election lessons from Nigeria; communications consultant


IMG_20160218_230819_568A communication consultant has asserted that Ghana is sufficiently capable of holding her own elections without as much as drawing lessons from her colossal neighbor to the east, Nigeria.

Shooting down assertions by some civil society organizations  and some political parties that Ghana can learn proper election management from Nigeria, Mr Francis Ameyibor, Executive Director of Communications, Development and Advocacy (CDA) blamed the media for doing a poor job of objectively examining issues closely to enable citizens understand what is at stake regarding the voters register.

Mr. Ameyibor made these remarks in an interview with Zaa radio at a two-day training of journalists in Sunyani on the guidelines for coverage and elections reporting as spelled out the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA ) and media ethics.

It was organized by the Legal Resources Center (LRC) under the auspices of the British High Commission with the aim of equipping journalist with the requisite knowledge on Ghana’s electoral process.

The media’s failure to dig deep into issues, Ameyibor pointed out, enabled Professor Atahiru Jaga, former chairman of the Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission who was invited to Ghana, to take advantage of a polarized political environment to present one version of the story.

One other glaring failure of the media, Mr Ameyibor said, was its lack of advocacy for an audit of the voters register or for its entire replacement. He blamed the inertia on the media being caught up in an emotional game and its amplifying of a certain political party’s agenda.

He added that it was about time media houses in Ghana independently conduct research to find out beyond what politicians and the officialdom present and  what the real figures and facts are.Mr Ameyibor described as unfortunate some section of the Ghanaian media in Accra who trumpeted professor Jaga’s contention that Ghana can learn better lessons from the INEC.

Ghana, he said, has had a better election management since 2000. He explained that Ghana has been using teachers as EC polling officers and the process was successful except in when there were some issues in releasing teachers for the exercise.

Mr Ameyibor praised Ghana’s former EC chairman Dr Kwadjo Afari-Gyan for playing a key in Nigeria’s successful elections were successful. He cautioned Ghanaians to be wary of any decision to learn electoral reforms from any country. Those clamoring for lessons to be learnt from the Nigeria elections are bent on tarnishing the good image of Dr. Afari-Gyan, Mr. Ameyibor pointed out.

Ghana, he said, can surely learn from some of the good practices and lapses of the Nigeria elections but would have to tread cautiously. Ghana has had the best electoral reforms since 1992 and any lessons to be drawn at all from another country should be closely examined.
He also down played INEC  claims to the effect that it used professors as polling agents during its 2015 general elections. Nigeria had over 3,818 polling units, Ameyibor said and wondered if INEC was able get professors for each polling unit.

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