Mr. Obasanjo was head of ECOWAS Observer Mission to Ghana.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo may be a brash and outspoken person, but his utterances seem to have embarrassed international officials who have now vowed to take action.
Mr. Obasanjo, Head of the ECOWAS Observer Mission for the Ghanaian elections, had on Saturday, defended his recommendation of curtailing the “excesses of the (Ghanaian) media” in election coverage.
The former President was furious that media houses were announcing, live, approved results from polling units contrary to what obtains in Nigeria where election results are announced only at the headquarters of the electoral body.
However, some members of the political leadership of ECOWAS, at a review meeting on Sunday, stated their disapproval of Mr. Obasanjo’s utterances.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the draconian recommendation on curtailing the media contradicts the ECOWAS and other International Human Rights principles and laws.
Mr. Obasanjo questioned the Freedom of Information, FOI, available to the media saying he only believed in Right to Information; a similar position to the one he took as Nigerian President which made him refuse to sign the FOI bill into law.
A senior ECOWAS staff at the meeting said the review was “necessitated by the negative reaction General Obasanjo’s role in the observation mission has elicited and the potentials for such to undermine the credibility of ECOWAS in future observation missions.”
The official condemned the former Nigerian leader’s public statements.
“You know Obasanjo is a lose cannon. He becomes uncontrollable once bestowed with power.
“We regret this appointment and vowed never to have the man invited to head missions again,” he said.
The official, who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak, said ECOWAS was only fortunate to have an Observer Mission at an election of an advanced and stable democracy.
“Were it to be a volatile country, his disposition, recommendations and utterances are not only capable of truncating the electoral process, they are capable of jeopardising the security and safety of our 250 monitors mobilized from across the sub-region.
“Our meeting this evening has resolved, and this will be communicated to the political leadership of ECOWAS, that Chief Obasanjo should be saved the trouble of trying to give what he doesn’t have,” he said.
The final report of the ECOWAS mission on the Ghana elections is expected to be released in a few weeks.
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