5 December 2012

Nigeria: Obanikoro Appointed As Election Observer in Ghana

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Tuesday appointed former Nigeria High Commissioner to Ghana, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, as part of its team of selected persons from member states to monitor the Ghanaian election slated for this weekend.

This inclusion was contained in a personal message to Obanikoro by the ECOWAS Commission on Monday night, through ECOWAS commissioner and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Hajia Salamotu Suleiman.

Already, ECOWAS had appointed former President Olusegun Obasanjo to lead a 250-member ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Ghana.

The team is expected to monitor Ghana's general election scheduled to hold on December 7.

According to the statement from the commission, the trip falls within the context of the region's instrument for the provision of support to member states holding elections. This followed same tradition during Ghana's last general election when former Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon was appointed to lead the delegation.

But while the message on Monday night did not state why ECOWAS has included Obanikoro as an observer, THISDAY learnt that the decision might not be unconnected to two reasons: One, that as the immediate past High Commissioner to the former Gold Coast, Obanikoro's records speak volume, having used the platform to enhance Nigeria/Ghana relationship and improved the life style of Nigerians living in Ghana.

In addition to this, having lived in Ghana for over three years, Obanikoro might have come to understand the Ghanaian system and as such, would be a brilliant observer in an exercise of such magnitude.

The second reason, however, is believed to be his growing democratic credentials in the country.

Having fought the tendencies in his Lagos State which have tried to undermine democratic tenets, with specific reference to his son, Babajide's election as chairman of Ikoyi/Obalande Local Council Development Area, such a man is believed to understand and appreciate the ethos of democratic governance.

Obanikoro will join the rest of the ECOWAS team this Friday in Accra, Ghana.

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