Jonathan calls for legislation against money politics in Nigeria
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has decried the act of politicians using money to sway voters to their sides during the electioneering process.
Speaking during a studio visit to the Ms Osasu Igbinedion led TOS TV network in Abuja, a digital Pan -African news network, Jonathan canvassed punitive measures against those who indulge in the unwholesome act.
Jonathan stated that unlike what prevails in other African countries, the reverse is the situation in the country where politicians go out of their ways to induce voters with various edible and nonedible items on the day of election.
The former president, who had led election observer missions in Africa since he lost to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 poll, however, acknowledged that money is required to offset basic logistics costs during the campaigns.
“The problem we have in Nigeria is the use of money to induce some actors,” Jonathan said. “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 at such practices. If you do that you are supposed to be disqualified from contesting in the election. So these are the things that makes our election expensive. I think if the young people are willing, things should begin to change.”
Expressing concern over the recurring incidence of violence that had plagued the electioneering process, he maintained that the ballot as against the resort to judicial pronouncement should be the basis of determining those who emerge victorious after the conduct 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,” Jonathan said.
The former president, who expressed satisfaction with the level of youth participation in partisan politics, called for deliberate measures to create the enabling environment for women to participate actively in politics and governance of the country.
On the quality of governance at the local council level, Jonathan insisted that the third-tier level of government must be made functional to address the dearth of infrastructural decay in the country.