Jonathan pushes election reforms, says its undemocratic for courts decide winners

By our reporter| Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday described as undemocratic a situation where courts determine the winner of elections in the country and has advocated the need for legislation that will prevent such.

Jonathan who made the assertion in Abuja, insisted that the situation where the judiciary is allowed to declare winners in an election, because of electoral fraud should not be abhorred.

According to him, ballot papers should be the only means of choosing political leaders, and when a politician or the electoral system is found wanting, the courts should only be made to order for a re-run and not to declare a winner.

He said, “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.”

The former president who equally lamented the situation whereby politicians use gifts to sway voters during the electoral process, called for punitive measures against those who indulged in the unwholesome act as such action is a criminal offence in other African countries.

He continued, “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.

“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.

“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.”

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