Home > Nigeria > Nigerian vote must succeed for Africa: Ghana ex-president

Nigerian vote must succeed for Africa: Ghana ex-president

April 15, 2011

(AFP)

ABUJA — Nigeria must hold a credible presidential election this weekend since failing to do so could set a disastrous example for the rest of the continent, Ghana ex-president John Kufuor said Thursday.

ex-president of Ghana John Kufuor

Kufuor, widely respected for having bowed out gracefully following his two terms in office in nearby Ghana, is heading an observer team from the African Union in Saturday’s election in the continent’s most populous nation.

“It’s very important that we should get this election right for the good of the image of Africa,” the 72-year-old told AFP in an interview.

“There are other elections pending in many parts of our continent. If things should go awry here, I am afraid to think of what may transpire elsewhere. Nigeria is too important for Africa.”

Kufuor stepped down in Ghana in 2009 after two four-year tenures in a peaceful transition after a closely fought election in which his party’s candidate lost to the opposition by less than one percent.

On what Nigeria, also Africa’s largest oil producer, could learn from Ghana’s elections, Kufuor said, “Nigeria, I believe, should serve itself well by playing by the rules… That’s all they need to do.”

Parliamentary polls held last weekend were seen as a major step forward for the country, which is seeking to break from a series of violent and deeply flawed elections.

But a first attempt to hold the polls a week before had to be postponed after personnel and materials failed to arrive in a large number of areas.

Kufuor said he was “a bit rattled” by the postponing of the vote after pre-balloting assurances by the electoral agency that all was in order.

“But in hindsight we have come to see that the (electoral commission) perhaps acted properly by postponing,” he said. “Otherwise, perhaps things would not have come off as well as they have come off so far.”

Kufuor said he expects turnout to be better this Saturday than last week and that security would be stepped up following bomb blasts and other attacks that claimed dozens of lives during the parliamentary vote.

“We expect that the security agencies would have corrected themselves wherever they fell short to ensure that the process would come through peacefully and in an orderly fashion,” he said.

The AU judged last week’s parliamentary vote as credible.

%d bloggers like this: