Saturday, October 23, 2021

Ballots not Courts shouldn’t determine election winners – Jonathan

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said the court should not be allowed to determine the winners of elections in Nigeria because it weakens democracy.

He said the nation’s electoral laws should be structured in such a way that only ballot papers determined winners of elections.

According to him, the standard practice is that the electoral management bodies exercise the sole responsibility of returning candidates and declaring winners while the judiciary complemented by either upholding declared results or nullifying flawed elections and ordering a rerun.

Jonathan spoke an interaction during a visit to TOSTV Network studios in Abuja.

He said: “I had already made a public statement on that to the effect that the ballot paper and not the judiciary should determine who wins elections or select political leaders. The ballot paper should be the only basis for selecting political leaders.”

Jonathan further noted that countries that conduct free and fair elections experience fewer election-related litigations while numerous court cases following elections are the hallmark of fragile democracies.

“I have said this before and I will always repeat it. I am not saying the judiciary is not doing well. But my point is that our laws should suppress the issue of the judiciary returning candidates.

“If a candidate is declared the winner after a flawed electoral process, what the courts can do is to annul the election and order a fresh one, where a winner will finally emerge through the ballot. The ballot paper should decide who holds any elective office from the councillorship to the presidency. That is a democracy,” he added.

The former President who also admitted that some funds might be needed in elections, especially in the area of logistics during campaigns, however, frowned at the negative way money is deployed in inducing electorates, officials and security operatives.

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