Jonathan advocates electronic voting to boost confidence

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting. This, he said, would make people have confidence in the electoral process.

He spoke in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during the launch of a book to mark the second term inauguration of Governor Nyesom Wike, who said Nigeria’s problems were self-inflicted.

Jonathan added that despite the challenges of electronic voting, it was the way forward.

He said Africa must come up with a minimum standard for the establishment of our election management body.

Jonathan 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.

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

“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.”

Jonathn called for the enthronement of independent security agencies to provide security during 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 “.

He urged lawmakers  to modify the national laws to ensure that what happened in 2019 would not be repeated in 2023.

On Wike’s re-election, Jonathan 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.”

Wike decried the level of politicisation of the governance process of the country.

He said: “Although I lack the intellectual impetus to join issues with the learned Professor, but for me, Nigeria’s problems, which are largely self-inflicted, can be reduced to two: the politicisation of everything and pervasive injustice.

”Over the years, we have allowed the entire governing system to be corrupted by banal politics and the courage to do what is right and fair to all parts of the country had since departed.

”As a result, we are increasingly becoming insensitive or rather impervious to the injustices and the horrific happenings in our country that have reduced our humanity.”

On insecurity, the governor 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.

”My take is that we are going nowhere as a country; we will continue to run round in circles and possibly crash-land in a very hard way, unless we change our narratives about justice because peace or peaceful co-existence cannot be decreed in a multi-cultural society such as ours, or in any society at all. It is only a real sense of justice that can command and guarantee enduring peace, patriotism and solidarity in Nigeria.”

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