General News of Saturday, 24 January 2015
Political pundit and managing editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr., has played down concerns that billboards erected in Ghana’s capital by Nigeria’s political parties ahead of the country’s national elections in February, pose a security threat to Ghana.
Several billboards of Nigerian political contenders including President Goodluck Jonathan and his main contender, Muhammadu Buhari have been splashed at vantage points in Accra to attract votes from the Nigerian community in Ghana.
A senior Research Fellow at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), Vladimir Antwi-Danso and NPP bigwig Kennedy Agyapong are on record to have protested against the practice, calling it a security threat to Ghana.
“Do you know how many Canadians live in the USA and vice versa, but no one goes to mount billboards in each of the countries during their internal political contests…what of Belgium and France, yet it is never done…,” said Agyapong in an interview on Oman FM Thursday.
Others have also feared that the action, which shows the level of cordiality among the two nations will call the attention of Boko Haram insurgents to Ghana.
But speaking on Peace FM on Friday, Mr. Pratt said those fears are misplaced and over-exaggerated.
“It’s not the billboards that will attract the boko haram guys…If we say the billboards are too many and we want to complain about that, no problem. But we should not say the billboards shouldn’t be erected at all.
“When you go to Lagos, you see Ghanaian companies doing businesses in Nigeria erecting billboards in their town. So if Ghanaian products can have billboards in their country, why can’t they also have theirs here. Of course this is a political product but still…” he noted.
“I also think we should understand the ECOWAS thing well. Now all of our passports are ECOWAS passports although the country is specified. So that you can go to any West African country without a VISA. People feel uncomfortable about new things all the time”.
Meanwhile the Executive Secretary of the Advertising Association of Ghana, the organisation which regulates marketing and advertising in Ghana, Francis Dadzie, has insisted that mounting the billboards does not flout any law [nor] do they pose any security threat as intimated by Dr. Antwi Danso and Mr. Kennedy Agyapong.