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Jonathan Wants Electronic Voting To Restore Confidence In Democracy

Says President, Govs Should Not Appoint Election Management Bodies



Goodluck Jonathan has called for reforms to strengthen the country’s democracy through the introduction of electronic voting and changes in the appointment processes of election management bodies in the country.

President Jonathan spoke at the presentation of a book which was part of activities marking the second term inauguration of Governor Nyesom Wike.

Jonathan stated that despite the challenges, the country must embrace electronic voting. He said that Electronic voting is the ultimate going forward.

He said: “We must come up with new standards for constituting our election management body in a way that people will have confidence.  I believe in some quarters what they do is that a body of people constitutes the Election Management Body.  It is not in the hands of one person.

“When you leave such responsibility in the hands of a politician,  no matter how good the person is, there will be the tendency for people to suspect that the right thing is not done. When people don’t have confidence in the system,  whatever they do, it is difficult for the people to accept “.

He added: “The continental body , African Union , should come up with a minimum standard across Africa for constituting Electoral  Management Body “.

He added that no single official should have the power  to appoint all the Election Petition Tribunals as this erodes confidence in the system.

“Also, the Judicial Process where one person constitutes all the election Tribunals to hear petitions is not right. It is difficult in a democracy for somebody to be extremely neutral. In one way or the other, somebody close to you will be in one party or the other. The only way to be above is to make sure that one person does not have all the powers to constitute tribunals to listen to all cases”, he said.

The Former Nigerian President called for the enthronement of independent security agencies that will provide security during elections. He decried the online video in Rivers State where women were dragging soldiers attempting to compromise  Rivers elections.

“The African Union must come up with a code of conduct for security operatives that participate in elections.  What happened in Rivers State,  in  a video being circulated where women were dragging soldiers down from walls was a very sorry sight. When these things are being discussed outside the country, if you are a Nigerian,  you feel so ashamed “.

The Former President called on Parliamentarians  to work towards modifying National Laws to ensure that what happened in 2019 is not repeated in 2023.

Congratulating Wike on his victory, he said:

“Governor Wike stood firmly. He was courageous.  He was a good leader. I urge you to continue with your good works.

“If you did not impress Rivers people, you wouldn’t have received support.  Wike tried. He brought unity and physical  development to the state”, Jonathan said.

In his address, Governor Wike decried the level of politicisation of the governance process of the country.

Governor Wike said that insecurity  continues to thrive in the country  because the nation has refused to listen to the cries for  Justice.

 He said: “In our case, everyone is crying out for justice and because we’ve as a nation blocked our ears and hearts to the deafening cries for justice, peace has become a rare commodity in our country. a rare commodity.

Governor Wike lauded the quality of discourse in the book, which he said promotes good governance without any form of sycophancy.

“This book is therefore, a pioneering effort in this regard from the socio-legal perspective, which I consider very uplifting because it is not about self-serving opportunistic claims to the high moral ground nor the product of sycophantic image laundry and patronage.

“Against this background, I have no hesitation in identifying wholly with this book and commend both the editors and the contributors for their highly informative and logical arguments that elevated the legal discourse round the contemporary relationship between law, leadership and creativity in governance”.

Guest Lecturer,  Professor Anya O. Anya in a paper titled: “Re-imagining Nigeria: The Imperative of Democracy,  values,  peace and National Development in the New Nigeria ” said Nigeria  is a country under siege and its people and leaders are in denial.

He said: “We are at a stage where most nations are in dynamic state; where change is the order of the day. The rules of linear progression in social and economic evolution have given way to a situation where interactive forces act as interconnected matrices”.

Anya said ultimately the forces of  peace will prevail despite  the insecurity in different parts of the country.

Book Reviewer, Prof M. T. Ladan recommended the book to all students of law and politics, because  it captures  the need for the development of Nigeria by examining  the outstanding qualities of Governor Wike.

He said the book was written  by 51 authors with 40 chapters and 735 pages.  He said the lawyers who wrote the book documented the delivery of democracy dividends in Rivers State.

Book Presenter and Representative of Sokoto State Governor, Engr Bello Alhaji Suleiman described Governor Wike as a true leader who will play a key role in the future of the country.  

Chairman of Inauguration Committee and Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives,  Rt Hon Austin Opara said that the event is part of the programme  to herald the inauguration.

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