Ballots, not Courts should determine election winners ― Jonathan
Former President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 general elections, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has said the judiciary should not be allowed to determine winners of elections in Nigeria.
The former President made the remark, on Monday, in Abuja, at a session with Youths and Women under the aegis of “TOS Foundation Youth and Women for Good Governance.”
Dr Jonathan said that in a situation where election petitions tribunals reversed the pronouncements of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, on the outcome of an election was unwieldy for the nation democracy.
He suggested that in a situation where infractions or malpractices were proved beyond reasonable doubts in any election, the Court should call for a fresh exercise rather than declare the petitioner winner of the process.
He said:” The issue of the judiciary, I don’t want to make a comment but one thing as a politician, let me reiterate what I have said somewhere that in Nigeria today, the judiciary selects political leaders.
“It is not the best. The ballot papers should be the basis of selecting political leaders. If it is the judiciary that will select, we are not yet there.
“It is delicate but I have made a public statement before and I will always make it. I am not saying the judiciary is not doing well, but I mean our laws should suppress the idea of the judiciary in returning a candidate.
“If a candidate that won the election is found wanting, that election should be annulled and a fresh election conducted.
“The ballot paper must decide who holds any office from councillorship to the presidency and that is democracy.”
He expressed concern that politicians instigate violence to disrupt elections in Nigeria, a situation that pushed aggrieved candidates to seek judicial intervention to determine winners.
He said: “We must regret it that sometimes our elections are too violent in Nigeria. I think in Africa we are among the top countries with violent elections.
“Even for party primaries, you see people going to break doors, windows, scatter ballot boxes and so on.
“You hardly see it in other African countries and when we behave that way, of course, we are now giving the powers to the judiciary to decide who becomes the Governor, Senator and House of Representatives member. I believe that as we progress maybe we will get over that.”
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