Ghana has presented 100,000 units of election thumbprint pads to the Republic of Niger to support its second round of presidential elections scheduled for Sunday, February 21.
Mr. Jonathan R. Magnusen, Ghana’s Ambassador to Niger, handed over the materials to the Niger Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) at a short ceremony at Niamey on Wednesday.
In a press statement, Mr. Magnusen said Ghana was satisfied with the democratic path embraced by the people of Niger, which resulted in the elections of December 2020, hailed by stakeholders as generally free, fair, and credible.
He said the high turnout at the elections, particularly the participation of women, was a demonstration of the will of the people of Niger to reinforce and consolidate democracy, good governance, stronger democratic institutions, and respect for human rights, justice, and rule of law.
Mr. Magnusen described the presentation as “another milestone in the long history of brotherliness, friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance” that had characterized relations between the two countries for more than a century.
He recalled the pioneering efforts of the first Presidents of the two countries, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Mr. Hamani Diori of Niger, to unite the African continent with a common purpose of African emancipation, human, social and economic development.
The two, he said had a vision of all Africans regarding themselves as one people with a common destiny, regardless of the cultural and linguistic differences as well as the artificial borders that separate the countries.
Mr. Magnusen paid tribute to the political parties, the State, parastatal, and civil society institutions that played significant roles in facilitating the democratic process in Niger.
He commended the CENI for its efforts to ensure a successful election in December 2020, despite security, infrastructural and logistical challenges, and urged it to replicate the hard work in the second round of elections.
Mr. Magnusen commended President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger for his decision not to seek an extension of his constitutional two-term mandate.
“This decision has earned him the respect and admiration of the international community, and placed him in the record books as the first President of Niger to supervise the handing over of political power from a democratically-elected President to another democratically-elected President,” he said.
Mr. Issaka Souna, the President of the Niger Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), who received the items, expressed profound gratitude to the President of Ghana for the prompt assistance to facilitate the second round of the Presidential elections.
He explained that the request to Ghana for assistance was occasioned by the pressure of time due to the constitutional time limit for the organization of the second round of presidential elections, as well as delays in international trade and supply as a result of COVID-19, which made it impossible to receive replenishment in time for the elections.
Mr. Souna thanked Ghana for the spirit of generosity, fraternity, solidarity, and cooperation that “characterized the entire process of arranging and delivering the consignment to Niger.”
He noted that ECOWAS had put in place a system for common management of electoral processes-mutual assistance and provision of goods and services by member states and said Ghana’s support showed national solidarity and support and also a gesture within the ECOWAS framework.
Mr. Souna expressed the hope that the ECOWAS framework of election mutual assistance would be strengthened and called on the authorities and institutions of other member states of ECOWAS to make necessary efforts to work together in the management of election materials.