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Today In History: US Congress Certifies George Bush As Winner Of 2000 US Elections After Supreme Court Ruled To Stop Florida’s Manual Recount

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After a bitterly contested election, Vice President Al Gore presides over a joint session of Congress that certifies George W. Bush as the winner of the 2000 election. In one of the closest Presidential elections in U.S. history, George W. Bush was finally declared the winner more than five weeks after the election due to the disputed Florida ballots.

Gore became the third Presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to halt Florida’s manual recount. The ruling in effect gave Florida’s 25 electoral votes to Bush giving him 271 to Gore’s 266—where 270 is needed to win the election. George W. Bush took the oath of office on January 20, 2001, to become the 43rd President of the United States.

After a wild election night on November 7, 2000, during which TV networks first called the key state of Florida for Gore, then for Bush, followed by a concession by Gore that was soon rescinded, the results for who would be the nation’s 43rd president were simply too close to call.

In the 36 days that followed, Americans learned Gore had won the popular vote by 543,895 votes. But it’s winning the Electoral College that counts. As accusations of fraud and voter suppression, calls for recounts and the filing of lawsuits ensued, the terms “hanging chads,” “dimpled chads” and “pregnant chads” became part of the lexicon.

As it became clear the final vote in Florida, which would decide the election, was basically a tie, Gore rescinded his concession during a phone call. Bush, according to The New York Times, asked, ”You mean to tell me, Mr. Vice President, you’re retracting your concession?” That was followed by Gore’s response: ”You don’t have to be snippy about it,” and, ”Let me explain something. Your younger brother is not the ultimate authority on this.”

Gore was referring to the fact that Florida’s governor at the time was Jeb Bush, Bush’s younger brother. Further fueling the fire: Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state, charged with overseeing an impartial election, was a Republican who served as co-chair of Florida’s Bush for President election committee.

After lawsuits, challenges and recounts, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a recount of undervotes in all of Florida’s 67 counties, which was quickly appealed by Bush, and the case headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case was eventually declared in Bush’s favor.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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Today In History

Today In History: How Nigeria Ordered 1 Million Ghanaians Out Of Nigeria In 1983; And How This Led To The Fame Of The ‘Ghana Must Go Bag’

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Exactly 38 Years ago on 17th January 1983, Nigeria expelled two million undocumented West African migrants, half of whom were from Ghana.

The President of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari issued an executive order mandating immigrants without proper immigration documents to leave the country or they would be arrested according to the law. The order was in alleged response to the religious disturbances that had engulfed parts of the country in 1980 (the Kano Riots) and 1981. Most of the immigrants were West Africans and mainly Ghanaians.

In 1958, Nigeria struck oil as a young, soon-to-be-liberated country with a population of 100-million. First Shell, then Mobil and Agip set up shop in the country to drill oil commercially.

The oil money was steady and hopes were high that Nigeria could prosper, despite the brutal military regimes that marred that period. In the 1970s the economy exploded when oil prices soared worldwide. The golden decade had arrived and the country became Africa’s wealthiest, securing its title: Giant of Africa.

By 1974, Nigeria’s oil wells were spitting out some 2.3-million barrels a day. The standard of living improved. There was an influx of people from the farms into the cities; when they travelled, robust iron boxes were generally preferred over cheap plastic sacks. The influx came not just from within Nigeria, but from across the region.

While Nigeria was booming, its closest English-speaking neighbour, Ghana, was going through quite the opposite. A deadly mix of famine and insurgency was precipitated by a crash in the price of cocoa (Ghana was the world’s largest cocoa producer in the 1960s) and the 1966 coup, which ousted independence leader Kwame Nkrumah. At the time, the country’s population hovered around the seven-million mark, but several million people decided to journey east and try their fortunes in prosperous Nigeria.

So many Ghanaians went to Nigeria that it seemed like every Ghanaian family had a relative working there. Across the 19 states that existed then — there are now 36 — primary and secondary schools were filled with Ghanaian teachers, who were well known for their thoroughness and their pankeres — the long, supple beating sticks wrapped lovingly in sticky tape for added sting. Law offices, shoe repair shops, ice cream parlours, restaurants and brothels were flooded with neighbours from the west.

And then came the oil crash. Global oil prices started to dip in 1982, when large consumer markets such as the United States and Canada slipped into recession and demand was low. By 1983, the price of a barrel had fallen to $29, down from $37 in 1980. At around the same time, the US began producing its own oil, further cutting demand and causing excess supply. Nigeria, its economy almost exclusively reliant on oil, was hard hit. By 1982, 90% of the country’s foreign reserves had been wiped out, according to the Washington Post.

As it began to feel the crunch, Nigeria started to turn inwards. By 1982, politicians started to use words like “aliens” in their manifestos in preparation for the 1983 general elections. They blamed African migrants, especially Ghanaians, for the flailing economy. Ghanaians had taken all the jobs and brought crime to Nigeria and, if elected, they would chase them out, they promised.

This eventually became a reality when on 17th January 1983, President Shehu Shagari ordered the inevitable. With Nigerian nationals becoming increasingly hostile towards Ghanaians and other illegal migrants, the victims had no choice but to pack their few personal effects and make the journey back to their country.

The sturdy, checked bags into which they packed their belongings have become a symbol of exclusion and intolerance. Nearly four decades later, the region is yet to confront its emotional baggage.

The borders were a disaster, crammed with desperate people carrying chairs on their heads, dragging their checked bags and selling off whatever they couldn’t lift to make money to pay for fares that had doubled. Millions streamed out through any possible exit they could find — through Shaki, in western Nigeria, to northern Benin. Down south, at the Seme border in Lagos, stampedes would kill many. Dozens were loaded onto open haulage trucks headed for Ghana.

But Jerry Rawlings, Ghana’s military head of state, had ordered the borders with Togo closed, to desist coup plotters and insurgents, so there would be no passage for days. In response, Togo closed its border with Benin to avoid a refugee crisis. Cars stalled bumper to bumper from the Benin-Togo border to Lagos, with people caught in sweltering heat and without water. Diseases spread. The United States prepared to send in aid. The League of Red Cross Societies airlifted 500 tents, 10 000 blankets and thousands of buckets, according to the Washington Post.

Perhaps, this had been long overdue as many thought the Nigerians were only paying Ghana back for what happened in 1969, when the then-Ghanaian prime minister, Kofi Abrefa Busia, invoked the Aliens Compliance Order and deported an estimated 2.5-million undocumented African migrants, the majority of whom were Nigerians.

The Nigerians had grown annoyingly enterprising, their business acumen sharper, to the detriment of Ghanaian businesses. Even in Ghana’s instability, Nigerian traders managed to have everything, and at cheaper prices.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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Today In History

Today In History: Exactly 49 Years Ago Today, Busia’s Government Was Overthrown By Acheampong’s Regime

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On 13 January 1972, Lieutenant Colonel Ignatius Kutu Acheampong, then commanding the First Infantry Brigade of the Ghana Armed Forces in an acting or temporary status, led a bloodless coup d’etat against the democratic government of Prime minister Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia while he was in London for medical treatment.

This happened to be the second successful military coup by the Ghana Armed Forces in Ghana, despite the first coup d’état occurring just six years earlier.

In view of this, the first military coup d’état occurred on 24 February 1966 when Col E.K. Kotoka and his Brigade Major, Maj A.A. Afrifa, overthrew the government of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

In spite of this, in London, where the Prime Minister Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia had arrived for medical treatment, there was dismay and confusion at the Ghanaian diplomatic mission. At the end of the day, there was a plainspoken statement from Dr Kofi Busia condemning the coup d’etat and declaring it might not succeed.

He said: “I believe the people of Ghana will resist this selfish and senseless coup d’etat, and overthrow it. The people of Ghana know how sincerely we are trying to establish democracy and human dignity, as well as coping with our grave economic problems in order to raise our standard of living.

Dr Kofi Abrefa Busia was accused of economic mismanagement and arbitrary arrest – both characteristics of the former Nkrumah regime which was ousted by an army coup in 1966.

The Kotoka International airport was closed to incoming flights and telephone and telegram links with the rest of the world was cut.

Source: Ghana Facts and History

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Today In History

Today In History: Exactly 50 Years Ago, Edward Akufo-Addo Was Named President Of Ghana

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Exactly 50 years ago on Aug. 28, 1970, Edward Akuffo-Addo was named President of Ghana. He was the only other member of the Big Six, aside from Dr Kwame Nkrumah, who eventually ascended to the highest position in the land. He was a ceremonial President until the coup d’état in 1972.

Edward Akuffo -Addo was born on 26 June 1906 to William Martin Addo-Danquah and Theodora Amuafi. He was educated at Achimota College, He was a hard-working student and won a scholarship to St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, in the United Kingdom where he read Mathematics, Politics and Philosophy.

Whilst in the United Kingdom, He was called to the Middle Temple Bar in London. In 1941 he returned to the Gold Coast and started private legal practice but was soon caught up in politics. In 1947 he was a founding member of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) and was detained as one of the “Big Six” after disturbances in Accra in 1948. A year later he became a member of the Gold Coast Legislative Council and the Coussey Constitutional Commission.

From 1962 to1964 he was supreme Court Judge ( One of three Judges who sat on Treason trial involving Tawiah Adamafio, Ako Adjei and three others after the Kulungugu bomb attack on Nkrumah and was dismissed with his fellow judges for finding some of the accused not guilty. He was appointed Chief justice in the NLC regime from 1966 to 1970 and became chairman of the Constitutional Commission (Commission that drafted the 1969 Second Republican Constitution). from 1966 to 1968, also at that same period he was head of the NLC Political Commission.

He became president of Ghana in the Second Republic from 1970 to 1972 ( Edward Akuffo-Addo was a ceremonial President and had no executive powers, as all powers lay with the Prime Minister, Dr. Kofi Abrefa Busia) Akufo-Addo was married to Adeline Yeboakwa Akufo-Addo. He died on 17 July 1979 of natural causes.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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