Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Thursday blamed politicians for undermining the electoral process in the country.
He said bad politicians groom boys whom they use as political thugs, while they send their children to good schools abroad.
Jonathan warned that until votes begin to count, the wrong people will continue to occupy leadership offices.
He said: “Politicians will hire a group of boys and begin to feed them like dogs…. for elections, meanwhile they send their children abroad schooling in the best universities in the world, but the children of others will be their thugs. They can die; it does not matter to them.
Jonathan spoke in Port-Harcourt during a book presentation, ‘In the cause of service’ by a former Rivers State Deputy Governor, Sir Gabriel Toby.
The ex-President, who was the Special Guest of Honour, blamed corrupt politicians for the country’s woes.
He reiterated the call for the adoption of the electronic system of voting to end electoral malpractices and their ills in governance.
He said: “The assumption is that every politician is useless, but the question of whether people change when they are elected into public office is something political analysts, researchers should unravel.
“However, I believe that people do not change when they get into political office, rather we voted for people we do not know.
“It is difficult to know people until you give the person political office and public funds to spend, that’s when you know the true character of such fellow.” he said.
Speaking further, the former President said, “Another key issue is that we do not vote people into leadership offices, they use different means to get into office.
“When we develop as a nation to a point where our votes count, when people vote who they believe in, the behaviour of politicians will change.”
Drawing inference from tomorrow’s Bayelsa and Kogi elections where news of pre-election violence and are filtering out, he expressed the belief that electronic system of voting would end violence and election malpractice.
“Looking at what is happening now, we will have off-season elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states.
“The signals coming from both states are quite disturbing; the use of thugs, shooting guns already some people have been killed, when we have not even started the voting process. This needn’t happen if we get to a point in this country where voters’ card matter.
“This is why I have always advocated that we go into electronic voting, good a thing the world is already going digital and Nigeria and her youths have keyed into the changes.
“Nothing should stop us from following the rest of the developed world to adopt an electronic voting system in the elections,” he said.
Furthermore, Jonathan noted: “If people this day can transfer billions of dollars from one bank to the other, from one country to the other, using electronic means, I still believe that we can do electronic voting perfectly, and we will see that this use of thugs will not come up again.
“Politicians will hire a group of boys and begin to feed them like dogs and all of them that they use for elections.
“Meanwhile, they send their children abroad schooling in the best universities in the world, but the children of others will be their thugs. They can die; it does not matter to them.”
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