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17.04.2007 General News

Chilling Developments From Nigeria

The democratic credentials of Ghana were enhanced with the transfer of power from Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings to President John Agyekum Kufuor on January 7, 2001.

We managed our transition so peacefully and successfully, even if without much order.

Ghana has always been in healthy and cordial relations with Nigeria. Both countries sacrificed to salvage Liberia. Indeed, much of the success depended on Nigerian largesse.

Nigeria is, therefore, important in the politics of our continent, not only because of oil but also the size of her population.

That is how come Nigeria is at the forefront in the United Nations reform as a potential representative African candidate for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

That is why all Africans of goodwill must be exercised about developments in Nigeria towards free, fair and open elections that would culminate in the first transfer of power from an elected government which has served the mandatory term to another. The transition must be managed to ensure peace and order.

Nigeria's own bitter past of fratricidal war, a civil war which ravaged the country, has ironically been what has kept the peace and unity of that country so far, in the face of seeming political manipulations.

One fact is that Nigerians are by nature very outspoken and always ready and prepared to fight for their rights. Nigeria equally has one of the most virile and independent judicial systems.

That with all these qualities they have tolerated political chicanery and near brigandage is a measure of their resilience. But there is a limit as to how far they can continue to swallow their cough for fear of disturbing others.

Accordingly, our appeal is that the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo will allow the rule of law to work and provide the necessary security and safety for Nigerians to freely, openly and fairly exercise their franchise to complete the electoral process.

The fatalities that have occurred as a result of the democratic practice of the ballot cannot be justified, but it would serve all of us good if we respect the decisions of the courts and allow the people, the electorate, to decide who the next political leaders of that great country should be.

We need to remind ourselves that the pursuit of policies and programmes to disenfranchise individuals from the politics of Cote d'Ivoire brought the concomitant civil war, which has still kept that country divided, with the collapse of the cocoa and industrial sectors in that country.

Nigeria already has too many problems in the oil and socio-religious realms. Adding a political turmoil will only help to bring oil to fire.

President Obasanjo and his advisers must be prevailed upon to look at the future of Nigeria beyond the tenure of the next government.

He came to do his part, but he must be reminded of the Akan saying that no matter how big the person, his or her hands cannot cover the face of God, “se woso se den mpo a, wonsa ntumi nkata Nyame ani”.

Nigeria is for all Nigerians, but not some of them. May Nigeria survive all the troubles of the time to continue to contribute to Africa's emancipation and development.