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Ballot not courts should decide election winners —Goodluck Jonathan

 

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

 

He observed that his administration gave the youths the opportunity to take part in politics, noting that that was the only way they can influence government programmes and policies and effect changes.

 

Speaking in Abuja on Monday, during a studio visit to the digital pan-African news network, the TOS TV network, led by Ms Osasu Igbinedion, the former president said the ballot and not the judiciary should declare the winners of elections.

 

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.”

 

Jonathan decried money politics and criticised politicians using gifts to sway voters during the electoral process.

 

He called for punitive measures against those who indulged in the unwholesome act.

According to him, unlike Nigeria where politicians induced voters with money and foodstuff on election day, such action is a criminal offence in other African countries.

 

He said, “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.”

 

The former president, who had led various election observer missions in Africa since he lost the 2015 poll to the President Muhammadu Buhari , however, admitted that money was required to offset logistic costs during the campaigns.

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