- Nana Akufo-Addo Wins Ghana Presidential Election
Challenger Nana Akufo-Addo won Ghana’s national election on Friday, tapping into an electorate fed up with a sputtering economy and ready for change.
The erudite 72-year-old human rights lawyer cruised to victory winning 53.8 percent of the votes, according to the country’s election agency.
“I will not let you down. I will do all in my power to live up to your hopes and expectations,” Akufo-Addo said to an ecstatic crowd at his house in the country’s capital of Accra.
“I will do my best to serve your interests and put our country back on the path of progress and prosperity.”
Incumbent John Mahama conceded defeat in the evening two days after a hotly contested race that was seen as a test of the country’s democracy in a region plagued by dictators and coups.
Mahama called to congratulate opposition leader Akufo-Addo, whose New Patriotic Party (NPP) supporters had been gathering for hours outside his house after local media gave him a clear lead following the Wednesday vote.
“Yes he has conceded defeat,” George Lawson of Mahama’s New Democratic Congress (NDC) party told AFP.
Akufo-Addo had campaigned on a platform promising to boost growth and deliver jobs.
“The president of Ghana is president for every single Ghanaian,” Akufo-Addo said, as fireworks popped overhead and thousands of people cheered in the streets outside his house.
– ‘Gold standard’ –
Akufo-Addo’s supporters — almost all in head-to-toe white, a symbol of victory — had been dancing on his lawn for hours in anticipation of his victory speech.
At one point, they broke out in an enthusiastic a cappella rendition of Ghana’s national anthem.
“We have won,” said Hajia Mustafa, a 44-year-old trader, flashing a wide smile, “I have my president, I have my choice.”
The high-stakes race between Akufo-Addo and Mahama has been seen as a litmus test of the stability for one of Africa’s most secure democracies.
But fears of widespread violence erupting during the election never materialised, with a generally peaceful voting day followed by calm as the official results trickled in.
“I think Ghanaians should be extraordinarily proud of themselves,” said Ambassador Johnnie Carson of the National Democratic Institute, an election observer.
“Ghana has distinguished itself in the last two and a half decades with integrity and transparency,” Carson said.
“It is a gold standard for democracy in Africa.”
– ‘Escaped violence’ –
Yet while the European Union Election Observation Mission said that Ghana “largely escaped the violence many had feared” it pointed to other areas of concern.
“The misuse of incumbency, including unequal access to state media, and unaccountable campaign financing were areas Ghana could address in the future,” said the mission in a statement.
Akufo-Addo will serve a four-year term in the former British colony, a once booming country that has seen its economy slow, currency deteriorate and inflation soar.
Mahama, who came to power in 2012 after beating Akufo-Addo, had urged voters to “stay the course”, promising to deliver more infrastructure projects.
In his third bid for the top job, Akufo-Addo blasted Ghana’s poor economic growth rate — estimated at 3.3 percent in 2016, the lowest rate for two decades — and laid out a radical vision to transform the country’s economy.
Akufo-Addo had also warned his supporters that “vigilance is key” at the polls in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the 2012 vote — narrowly won by Mahama with 50.7 percent — that he contested unsuccessfully in the country’s Supreme Court.
Ghana is the world’s second biggest producer of cocoa after Ivory Coast and Africa’s second biggest gold producer after South Africa.
But it was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 for a bailout as global commodity prices tanked.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
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