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Jonathan deplores, seeks penalty for moneybags, vote buyers

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[FILES] Goodluck Jonathan. Photo: TWITTER/GEJONATHAN

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has decried the penchant by politicians to sway voters with money during electioneering.

Making the observation during a facility tour of the Osasu Igbinedion-led TOS TV in Abuja, the ex-leader canvassed penalties for perpetrators.

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He regretted a scenario where the electorate is induced with edible and material items on the day of the election hardly existed in other African countries.

Jonathan, who has led a number of observers to oversee polls in several nations since losing power to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general elections, acknowledged, however, that money was needed to offset logistics during campaigns.

He said: “The problem we have in Nigeria is the use of money to induce some actors. Compare 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 a pen, matchbox or any item to woo voters. Doing such is against the law.

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“But here, if somebody is contesting the election, you buy bags of rice, wrappers, and all manner of items to induce the electorate. Ordinarily, our electoral laws are supposed to frown on such practices. Offenders ought to be disqualified. So, these are the things that make our election expensive. I think if the young people are willing, things should begin to change.”

Deploring the violence that greets every contest, the ex-president stressed the sanctity of the ballot as against the resort to judicial pronouncements on the finality of the entire exercise.

He expressed satisfaction with the level of participation by youths in partisan politics, urging a deliberate attempt to encourage women’s active participation in government and governance of the country.

Decrying the maladministration at the third tier of government, Jonathan insisted that the local government system must be made to work for the good of the people at the grassroots.

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