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Jega vs Afari-Gyan   
 
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06-Apr-2015  
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Two variables accounted for the success of the Nigerian polls: the resoluteness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman and the integrity of the collation officers.

Many Ghanaians who watched the live coverage of the proceedings from the ornate hall or situation room at Abuja where the results were collated and announced, could not subdue their awe at the quality of the dignitaries who presented the results from the various states.

The eggheads who sincerely discharged the national assignment bestowed upon them could not have afforded to disappoint their compatriots. They were vice chancellors and academicians of exceptional repute. Nobody could fault their integrity.

As they stood in front of the world to announce the results from various states as fingers were being bitten and teeth gnashed, they commanded deference – the kind reserved for personalities in their exclusive class.

The natural urge to juxtapose the Ghanaian experience with the Nigerian brought out the difference, glaringly of course.

Compare Prof Attahiru Jega the INEC chairman, with his Ghanaian counterpart, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan. While the Nigerian is level-headed, on top of his assignments, his opposite number in Ghana is a byword for hubris and inefficiency, with no room for suggestions or recommendations.

Whereas Jega stands for the subservience of his office to the will of the people, Afari-Gyan on the other hand erroneously thinks he is not responsible to anybody, seemingly misconstruing the independence of the Electoral Commission (EC).

The just ended polls in Nigeria surprised many Ghanaians who foresaw mayhem and a disorganized election. Consider the time used by Jega and his team to register voters even in internally displaced persons’ camp in Boko Haram infested parts of the north. It was amazing that they could achieve such feat within a record time.

In a country which does not come near one of the 36 states constituting Nigeria in terms of population, the reason Afari-Gyan and his team do not always get it right even if they are well resourced, is palpably because of endemic ineptitude.

At the best of times elections are organized in tots resulting in integrity questions – the most recent one ending up in a fractious petition court hearing which exposed the many fault-lines in our election management – the most prominent being the maintenance of a flawed voter register.

An application of the Nigerian election quality standard as rolled out last Saturday and the subsequent days, especially the card reading novelty, should not be ignored in 2016 and beyond. That is not to gloss over the glaring challenges that cropped up over malfunctioning biometric machines.

Be it as it may, there were a lot of lessons – some of them crucial – for us to learn from. Had Afari-Gyan been put in Jega’s shoes, the outcome would have been anybody’s guess.
 
 
Source: Editorial/Daily Guide
 
 

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