There is ample democratic food for thought from Ghana for us in Nigeria. Since Ghana embarked on its current journey under its fourth republic beginning with the general elections of 1992, the country has continued to deepen and improve its electoral process. It has elegantly scaled several hurdles on its democratic path to this day. If the country of 22 million people is able to scale the present hedge of yet another testy transition from one democratically elected president to another, by conducting a hitch-free run-off presidential election on December 28, 2008, then it would have ascended what could be considered a super level of democratic practice based on African standard. In truth, only a few African countries have reached where Ghana currently is on the scale of democratic advancement.
In Nigeria, our own electoral commission chairman not only ensures that the ruling PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) cannot and should not lose any election, he defends the ruling PDP more than even the card-carrying members of the party. If Dr. Afari-Gyan were like our Prof. Maurice Iwu, Ghana will today be embroiled in post-election turmoil like the type witnessed in Kenya and Zimbabwe.’’
Now, the pertinent question is what are the lessons to be learnt by other African countries particularly Nigeria from Ghana's experience. Some people may be quick to argue that the events in Ghana may not be of much help in Nigeria because the political and social environments of the two countries are poles apart. Such a polemic can endure only to a certain degree but to a large extent it cannot suffice. The reality is that the challenges to democratic growth and sustenance in sub-Saharan countries and the ingredients for overcoming them are transcendental to a large extent. As a case point, the challenges posed by tribalism, religious bigotry and corruption are real to varying degrees both in Ghana and Nigeria as well as many other sub-Saharan African countries.
Like Nigeria, Ghana is...