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2019 polls: Nigerians in Ghana speak on expectations

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2019 polls: Nigerians in Ghana speak on expectations

By Kate Da Costa in Accra

As Nigerians went to the polls yesterday (Saturday) to elect a leader, the groundswell of opinion among Nigerians resident in Ghana was that the nation’s prestige and influence was progressively eroded by weak leadership and dwindling economy.

Almost all the respondents who spoke with Baba Newsline on Sunday suggested that the recent travails of Nigerians in Ghana as exemplified by the deportation of Nigerian nationals, the continued harassment and intimidation by the Ghanaian authorities was the outcome of poor governance back home.

Mr. Oscar Ugoh, Publisher of Corporate Guardian Magazine in Accra and the Corporate Affairs Manager of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) Ghana Chapter, while lamenting the travails of Nigerians in the hands of their host, emphatically canvassed for a dynamic leader that would transform the nation.

“Nigeria needs and desires a leader that will give Nigeria a pride of place among other nations; someone who through good policies and good governance will return prosperity to the people. What is currently happening in Ghana is a reflection of the sorry state of affairs back home. If we have a place of pride, 70% of us will return to Nigeria. There is no place like home.

“Today Nigerians are being harassed in this country. The government is silent. There is no citizenship diplomacy. So our people are harassed and maltreated. It is not restricted to Ghana. It is all over the world. If we have a proactive government, it will ensure our citizens are protected wherever they are,” he declared.

The media mogul expressed displeasure over the exclusion of Nigerians abroad from the ballot process, stressing that in Ghana alone there were more than six million Nigerians residing in the country. The government should have made provision for those in the Diaspora to vote, he argued.

Ugoh, while expressing confidence in the process, however charged all stakeholders to adhere to the rule of law to ensure a free, fair and credible election.

“They need to play by the rules. All of them the politicians, the electorate and the electoral body. They need to adhere to the laws that govern the process. It is the rule of law that governs the society. Politicians should play by the rules. INEC should also play by the rules. Election should not be a “do or die” affair in Nigeria,” he stressed.

Ultimately, he expects a peaceful outcome, as he noted that the polity was not as heated as 2015, when there was palpable tension over the outcome of the process.

Chief Oyeyemi Fatuyi, a Nigerian businessman and the President of the Yoruba Community in Ghana (Greater Accra), also expressed similar sentiments in his response. He looked forward for a president, who will be respected worldwide and who has the ability to revamp the nation’s economy.

“The manner Nigerians are treated all over the world is unacceptable. It has reached an unbecoming level. We are treated shabbily everywhere. I believe if we get it right at home, elect a government that is respected worldwide things will change.

“We need a Foreign Affairs Minister that is competent and has international clout. He can proactively engage his colleagues in Africa and the rest of the world. Other nations will begin to accord us respect. We won’t be humiliated and disgraced again,” he declared.

Describing the election as a defining moment in the history of the country, he advised the youths to act responsibly even after the polls and eschew any act capable of undermining the peace of the country.

He reminded them that most of the politicians had sent their children and wards abroad. The politicians most times were insulated from the infamy, Nigerians were exposed to abroad. Hence they should desist from violence and any untoward behavior during and after the election.

Fatuyi said living in the Diaspora won’t bar him from performing his civil responsibility, because he was going to exercise his franchise during the election.

“I was in Nigeria last week to exercise my franchise. I intend travelling again to vote this Saturday (yesterday). Nigeria is my country and I want a country I can be proud of. So I will take part in electing someone who I think is capable of delivering good governance and prospering the nation..

“We need a better Nigeria and this election will determine how far we will go as a nation. Nigerians should vote out of conviction that they are voting for a candidate who has the ability to bring a desirable change. Nobody should vote along ethnic and religious bigotry,” he noted.

Daniel Eshiet, who works in a catering outfit at Accra, said he expects a leader, who will put Nigeria on the track of progress and not someone, who will hurt the economy due to bad policies.

The Nigerian youth argued that the policy thrust of whoever wins the election should be improving security, building a resilient economy and job-creation.

He, however, expressed regret over his inability to vote saying, “I am not happy I am not voting. If I was in Nigeria I will certainly vote. Well I urge those in the country to vote for the right person.”

Even though he expressed doubt over the possibility of a ballot devoid of violence, he said he was praying that the outcome of the election would be peaceful, rancor free and the will of the people would be reflected in its outcome.

Maureen Okeke, a beautician based in Accra said she desired a new Nigeria, where everyone will be treated as equals. Unlike the present arrangement where some people were treated as second class citizens in their own country.

“We want somebody who will rule Nigeria as one big country. We are tired of what is happening in the country. Some people are enjoying the wealth of the country and others are suffering,” she lamented.

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