Politics

Ballots, not judiciary should decide election winners – ex-President Jonathan

Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan during a book presentation in Rivers State

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has encouraged youths to participate in politics, noting that the political system controls everything globally.

According to him, during his administration, he gave youths the opportunity to take part in politics, noting that it was the only way to influence government programmes and policies and effect necessary changes.

Jonathan who spoke on Monday in a TV programme on TOS TV network led by Ms Osasu Igbinedion, said that the ballot and not the judiciary should declare the winners of elections.

“Ballot papers should be the basis of selecting political officeholders. If it is the judiciary that should select them then we are not yet there.

“I am not saying the judiciary is not doing well but our laws should suppress the idea of our judiciary returning candidates. The ballots should decide who occupies the councillorship seat up to the presidency; that is democracy.”

He further criticised politicians using gifts to sway voters during the electoral process. He said that such actions should be made a criminal offence.

“The problem we have in Nigeria is the use of money to induce some voters. Compared to other African countries, we spend too much money here. Probably, we need to review our laws because I have observed a number of elections in African countries.

“For instance in Tanzania, a candidate does not need to print his name on matchbox or any items to woo voters. If you do that, they say that you are inducing the electorates. It is against their laws.

“But here if somebody is contesting elections, you buy bags of rice, wrappers, and all manner of items to induce the electorates. Ordinarily, our electoral laws are supposed to frown on such practices.

“If you do that, you are supposed to be disqualified from contesting in the election. So these are the things that make our elections expensive. I think if the young people are willing, things should begin to change.”

He however noted that money was needed to offset logistic costs during campaigns.

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