As we count down hours to the beginning of a new administration in Ghana, there are so many coincidences with its West African neighbours, Nigeria, that the statement Like Ghana, Like Nigeria, can hardly be wrong. These coincidences are too similar that it seem we are replaying a movie acted by Nigeria during its 2015 elections.
Here are some coincidences between Nigeria and Ghana during their 2015 and 2016 elections respectively.
Both Nigeria and Ghana had presidents in power who lost elections. These presidents, Goodluck Jonathan and John Mahama, came to power as Vice presidents after their bosses, Umaru Musa Yaradua and John Atta Mills died in power.
Let’s take it one step backwards. Both Nigerian late president, Umaru Musa Yaradua and John Atta Mills of Ghana died in power after spending three years. While Yaradua was in power from May 2007 to May 2010, Mills was in power from January 2009 to July 2012.
After the death of their presidents in their first tenures, both Nigeria’s Jonathan (born November 1957 ), and Ghana’s Mahama (born November 1958) were sworn in to complete the tenures.
After elapsing the time, both men sought to rule their countries, and both defeated men who have lost the elections more than once. During their tenures, their administrations were both accused of corruption. Most of the corruption cases were, however, linked to members of their administrations and not to them directly.
In the second attempt of both Nigeria’s Goodluck and Ghana’s Mahama, in their 50s, they came with the agenda of transformation. Their opponents, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, both in their 70s, came with the agenda of change.
Like Nigeria’s election of 2015, Ghana’s 2016 elections saw a lot of propaganda by both parties, and in both, the expectations were high that there could be violence after the elections. It was not to be, as both elections ended peacefully, with both incumbent presidents losing.
While Nigeria’s Buhari won the elections by 53.96%, Ghana’s Nana Addo won his elections by almost the same margin; 53.85%.
For both Buhari and Addo, it will not be the first time that they are tasting the presidential homes. While Buhari served as Nigeria’s head of state in the early 1980’s, Addo’s father, Edward Akufo-Addo, was president of Ghana in the early 1970s.
After losing the elections, both Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and Ghana’s Mahama concede peacefully, surprising many, and winning the respect of many. Both men were replaced by men in their 70s.
The ruling party in both Nigeria and Ghana did not only lose the presidential elections, they also lost the legislative majority, making them opposition on all fronts.
One significant thing about both Nana Addo and Buhari is that they came to power with much promise to end corruption in their countries, and they made so many promises such as free education at different levels, which so many believe is not viable.
The difference, as most Nigerians are hoping for their West African neighbours, is that they do not pay the price of change in the Nigerian way. This is as since the coming of the Buhari government life has become hard. While problems such as power outage and network challenges remain amidst poor infrastructural development, the economy keeps crashing into recession, while unemployment and poverty keep rising.