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Obasanjo reiterates appeal for peaceful polls in Ghana

Accra – Head of the 250-member ECOWAS Observer Mission to Friday’s presidential and legislative elections in Ghana, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, has reiterated his appeal for calm, civil conduct and a peaceful atmosphere during the polls.

Obasanjo made the appeal  in Accra while continuing his stakeholders consultations with officials of the country’s three political parties, the National Electoral Commission and security agencies.

The former Nigerian leader held separate meetings with officials of the ruling National Peoples Party (NPP) and two opposition parties – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) of Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah,

Obasanjo, who was accompanied by ECOWAS and AU officials, also visited the Ghana Police Headquarters, where they met with the I-G of Police, Paul Quaye, who is also chair of the National Elections Security Task Force, which encompasses representatives
of the country’s security services.

The police chief informed him that more than 41,000 security agents, including 30,000 police personnel, would be deployed to provide security on Friday, the polling day.

According to the I-G, the security arrangement on the ground takes into account the identified and possible flash-points as well as a contingency plan to handle any eventuality, including rapid deployment of forces.

At the headquarters of the electoral commission, the chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, assured Obasanjo that the Commission had taken all necessary measures to ensure successful polling on Friday.

“I can tell you that we are ready at the Commission,’’ he affirmed.

He added that the special voting on Tuesday by electoral officials and security personnel, who would be on duty on Friday had reinforced the readiness and confidence of the Commission in the biometric system, being used in Ghana for the first time.

The Chairman explained that security officials who were unable to vote on Tuesday would be given priority attention to cast their ballots on Friday to enable them return to their duty posts.

On Tuesday, Chief Obasanjo met with officials of the National Peace Council, the Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Theodora Wood, and two former presidents of the country, John Kufuor and J.J. Rawlings, whose rival political parties are fielding the two front runners in the presidential race.

Friday’s polls, the sixth consecutive general elections in Ghana marked by three peaceful hand over of power among the country’s political parties since 1992, will enable Ghanaians elect a president from among eight candidates, including one independent, as
well as 275 members of parliament from hundreds of contenders. (PANA/NAN)


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