EC’s specious excuse

Mon, 14 Dec 2015 Source: Daily Guide

All stakeholders but the Electoral Commission (EC) are excited about the presentations that Prof Attahiru Jega is billed to make today and tomorrow in Accra and Kumasi respectively.

The visiting former Chairman of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission (INEC) is by all measures a master of election management and for us to have such gratis consultancies in two hotbeds of local politics, we should be grateful to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) which made it possible.

No sooner had Professor Attahiru Jega completed his assignment of managing one of the most challenging elections in Africa than his perfect testimonial swept across the world like an Australian wildfire.

His approach to the Nigerian polls, which we dub the ‘Jega module’, had academics from tertiary institutions assisting in the crucial levels of the elections, each of them tackling their tasks like they do examination scripts of their students. Their unblemished delivery made all who observed the live process on the screens in Ghana long for its replication.

We express gratitude to the IEA and indeed congratulate them for their success in bringing the man who we think would have rather he is left to rest after that unthankful yet arduous assignment in Africa’s most complex and populous country.

The foremost governance think tank’s obsession for ensuring that elections are conducted freely, fairly and according to international best practices is not in doubt.

Their success in bringing Prof Jega here to talk to us about what it entails to hold a successful election is another feat which alongside the presidential debate novelty adds to the feathers on their cap.

The EC has unfortunately shunned the venerable Prof, its excuses failing to make sense by all standards. We are suppressing the temptation to think that the EC is averse to the contributions of the IEA to national development, even if it stands alone in this direction.

Having been given prior knowledge about the Prof’s visit and the programmes as courtesy demands by the IEA, we are unable to fathom just why the EC cannot even delegate one of its top officials to represent the Commission at these important and rare sessions.

Neither the excuse of a pending by-election tomorrow nor the planned foreign trip of the Chairman, Charlotte Osei, is acceptable.

Charlotte has a difficult task of working on her personal image which is unfortunately afflicting the Commission – a state institution she only heads for the people of Ghana.

If she is being remotely directed to run the affairs of the Commission, including which forum to attend or not, we can bet she would have very difficult days ahead and for sure the people of Ghana who own the Commission will triumph.

Prof Jega would leave the country with a negative impression about Ghana’s EC. His future presentations in both Nigeria and other countries would contain his experience from Ghana where he was shunned by the country’s first female Chairperson of the EC under inexplicable circumstances. A kind of institutional paranoia!

Columnist: Daily Guide