6 December 2012

West Africa: ECOWAS Mission Optimistic of Successful Polls in Ghana

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's former President and the head of ECOWAS 250-member Observation Mission for Ghana's 7th December general elections, has expressed optimism at the success of the polls based on satisfactory preparations and the country's proven tradition and reputation in democratic governance.

"We are here as witnesses to what promises to be peaceful, transparent, credible, free and fair elections," Chief Obasanjo said on arrival in Accra on Monday, adding that given Ghana's reputable history, the 7th December presidential and legislative polls would not be an exception.

He commended Ghanaians in general and all the stakeholders, including the national electoral commission, and especially the political parties and their leaders for signing up to a peaceful and violence-free electoral process, towards strengthening and deepening the democratic culture in the country and the region.

The ECOWAS Director of Political Affairs, Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah, who was part of the team that received Chief Obasanjo, explained that Accra would serve as the headquarters and Situation Room for the ECOWAS Mission, with three sub-stations in Kumasi, Tamale and Bolgatanga, from where the regional observers will be deployed to all the 10 administrative regions of Ghana to monitor the conduct of the polls.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, will also be in the country to provide additional support to the Mission and to express

ECOWAS solidarity with the government and people of Ghana during the elections.

An ECOWAS assessment mission was in Ghana last October to review preparations for the elections during which the mission interacted with various stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, security agencies, civil society organizations, the national electoral commission, and other stakeholders to discuss their perspectives on the preparations for the elections

The ECOWAS Observation team, led by Chief Obasanjo and comprising representatives of various segments of the West African society, is in Ghana within the context of the region's instrument for provision of support to member states holding elections.

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