Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday after over seven years begin to publicly condemn what he considered going wrong during the era of President Muhammadu Buhari led government.
Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan condemned one of the laws passed by the members and the leadership of the National Assembly, saying, people should not just be taking money and be sleeping, adding, people must ensure they do their work.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan while speaking during the public presentation of a book titled “Political Party Governance” authored by former Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, on Thursday recommended the removal of section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 to give political parties the leverage to decide modalities for elections.
The National Assembly can’t make laws and lock all political parties together. Parties have different ways of nominating candidates and the process is enshrined in their constitutions.
Creating a situation where all parties must have the same way of selecting candidates is nonsense. Parties are not parastatals of government.
The National Assembly can’t make laws to strangulate political parties. Section 84 should be expunged from the Electoral Act.
These whole primaries going on across the country is a mess. This is not a standard practice. The process has failed.
We cannot use the process to elect president, governors, senators and House of Representatives members and others.
The process is already failed, which is not good for the country. But we will manage and move on.
We pray that good people should come. I hope that what happened this year, 2022, will not happen again in this country.”
Give parties the leverage. The key thing is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is regulating them.
They mentor them, and the system they will adopt in selecting their candidates must be documented in their constitution and copies deposited with INEC. That is what will be used to judge that party.
Parties are not parastatals of government and the National Assembly cannot make laws that choke the political parties. That is my take on this controversial issue.
The National Assembly made alterations to the Electoral Law, and now only what they call the `elected delegates’ are to elect people that would vote. Then one day Nigerians will go to the polls and think they are voting a president.
But who presented presidential candidates for you? Very few people at the national level, at the state level, at the local districts, at the federal and state constituencies.
We have former governors, former deputy governors, former Senators and all the rest. But then, we have only one elected delegate that you don’t know where he is coming from.
A delegate that will come to Abuja to select who becomes the presidential candidate. Is that the kind of democracy we will practice?
But those of us who have been involved know that it is terrible. Are we bringing those who really know who is who to elect these delegates or those delegates that can be bought over with money?” he asked.
In some countries, you cannot give a gift like what we normally do here; we give bags of rice with photographs of candidates and other tangibles.
We distribute them freely. That is a criminal offence and we expect the National Assembly to make laws to criminalize that.
That is the bureaucracy so that the President does not make mistakes.
So, nobody should expect the President to wake up and just sign. It must go through a process.
People must do their work in this country; you cannot just be taking money and be sleeping. This is a wake-up call to the National Assembly.