Jonathan: Former President seeks more flexibility for parties, advocates removal of Electoral Act, Section 84

Jonathan: Former President seeks more flexibility for parties, advocates removal of Electoral Act, Section 84

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has recommended removal of the controversial Section 84 of the new Electoral Act. This is to allow political parties decide modalities for candidates’ elections.

Jonathan gave the recommendation at the public presentation of a book titled; “Political Party Governance” by former Minister of State Power, Dr Mohammed Wakil, on Thursday, May 26, in Abuja.

Equally important, the former president said that the National Assembly should allow political parties have the leverage of doing certain things differently; as their needs were different.

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“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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jonathan also rated as low, the ongoing primaries by political parties to elect candidates for the 2023 General Elections. This is because of provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.

He said that the primary where only elected delegates were allowed to elect candidates, was already a failed process.

“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.”

Jonathan said the situation was even more worrisome where the delegates were unknown figures in the society.

“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?”

Additionally, Jonathan who decried situation where those contesting openly shared money and gift, saying those actions should be criminalised.

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