The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government will be prudent and fair to Ghanaians if it rather spends the $1.3b budget for the National Identification Authority (NIA) on the National Identity System (NIS), an independent Presidential Candidate in the 2016 and 2012 elections, Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, has said.
Rather than spending $1.22 billion to only implement National ID which cannot deliver the full benefits of NIS as directed by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo, Mr Yeboah, aka JOY, said Ghanaians would never forgive the NPP government if the NIA was not empowered and resourced to implement NIS per definition.
He cautioned: “The NIA should understand that Ghanaians respect our President, so give us nothing less than the NIS now or do not spend a penny of the taxpayers money.”
To roll out the National Identity System (NIS), Mr Yeboah explained, would require a combination of ID and address system which was required for the country to reap its full benefit.
Voter ID agitation – needless, mediocrity
According to Mr Yeboah, the integrity of almost all the country’s identity documents such as Birth Certificate, Passport and Voter ID Card had been compromised with the influx of foreigners. That is why he argued that the paramount interest of any patriotic Ghanaian should be a Ghana Card with the highest integrity and security.
He said the transmutation of the Voter ID, since 1992, could not be overemphasised because it probably had the highest influx of foreigners which contained about 15.5 million holders.
In the view of Mr Yeboah, the agitation by some Ghanaians, led by the NDC, to narrow such an important national exercise as NIS to elections was rather unfortunate, needless and parochially mediocre.
“What will a Ghanaian government gain by taking away the inalienable right of citizens, especially when a foreigner has the opportunity to naturalise anyway?” he asked.
Automatic cleaning mechanism
Moreover, he said since the Voter ID had no automatic cleaning mechanism and using the death rate of 2.5 per cent per annum, we might be having about four million dead voters still being part of the Voter Register since 2008.
Furthermore, he said the Identity Management System (IMS) highly secured Ghana Card process could also include the alternative presence of the voucher in addition to using documentations from the Commissioner of Oaths only.
The voucher in this instance, he said, could be appended to a registrant in the same process as the interviewer or the data entry person or card issuance. This can help speed up the issuance of the Ghana Card.
“I would have personally recommended, given the secure process of the IMS Card, that even the birth certificates and passports could be disregarded so that we could have a topmost integrity Ghana Card from the scratch,” he stated.
That, he said, could be achieved by firstly issuing our chiefs, pastors, imams, ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), district chief executives (DCEs), and the security agencies with the Ghana Card with each of these personnel vouching for a maximum of five Ghanaians.
Let’s support NIA to implement NIS
He, however, called on Ghanaians to support the NIA to successfully implement the NIS.
“We must all support the NIA to implement the system; the fear is that if we fail to implement this, I do not know when it shall be implemented,” he stated.
He further pointed out that “if we fail to support the NIA to implement the Ghana Card registration, those who benefit from the dark activities in our country will continue to impoverish us.”