Ex-President Jonathan has spoken on the menace of vote-buying – He advised INEC to scrap using polling booths as one of the major steps towards curbing vote-buying –
The former president admitted that he didn’t know vote-buying was criminal until he got involved in observing foreign elections Former President Goodluck Jonathan has berated Nigerian politicians who indulge in inducing the electorate during campaigns, stating that such actions are criminalised in international quarters.
Speaking on the occasion of his 61st birthday and the launch of his book, My Transition Hours, held in Abuja on Tuesday, November 20, Jonathan admitted that he didn’t know that voters inducement was criminal until he observed foreign elections.
Naija247news reports that Jonathan said he made the comments on the electoral process in the country in order to pave the way for improvement that can be adopted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Addressing prominent politicians at the launch of the book in Abuja, Jonathan said: “I also used this opportunity to make a little suggestion in terms of our elections.
The issue of vote buying is becoming scandalous in Nigeria. We know that there is this concept of inducing the electorate, which most countries control.
For all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, ordinary inducement of the electorate is criminalised. “But here in Nigeria, we take inducement of the electorate as a part of the electoral process.
What I mean by inducing the electorate is that during campaign, we’ll package rice, salt, photograph of the candidate and the logo of the party and distribute to the people.
That is wrong by all international standards. I did not know until I got involved in observing elections. “But those are still being considered as not serious offences.
In all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, even at the rallies, nobody will give you a pen with a candidate’s name on it.
All what the candidate and the parties will do is the T-Shirt, face-caps and the fliers and banners of the party; nobody gives any gift.”
Jonathan lamented that voters inducement has gone from giving material gifts to “outright pricing and buying of votes”.
He continued: “It graduated from inducing the electorate to outright pricing and buying of votes. INEC must do everything to stop that.
We should take a cue from some African countries. In all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, nobody builds polling booths.
We have polling centres, public buildings such as schools. One school will have many polling units and it’s easier for the police to police these polling units together and it’ll be difficult for someone who is in the classroom to show you the ballot paper.
“If you design the electoral process in a way that you cannot see the ballot paper, then the issue of outright vote buying will be addressed.”
Meanwhile, Naija247news reported Jonathan had revealed the alleged reasons why he lost the 2015 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The former president claimed that the mass defection of some former governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the then opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) cost him his bid to be re-elected for a second term in office.
Jonathan who lost the 2015 presidential election with just over 2.5 million votes also reportedly blamed northern leaders who wanted power returned to their region for sabotaging his re-election