Former Nigeria President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan raised question over a situation where judiciary would award victory to supposed losers in election in the country and called for the strengthening of the nation’s electoral laws in a such a way that only the ballot paper, and not the courts, is allowed to determine the winners of elections.
“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 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.”
Dr. Jonathan, who spoke today, April 13, in an interaction with newsmen in Abuja, said that the standard practice is that the electoral management bodies exercise the sole responsibility of returning candidates and declaring winners while the judiciary complements by either upholding declared results or nullifying flawed elections and ordering a rerun.
“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.”
Dr. Jonathan said that countries that conduct free and fair elections experience less election-related litigations while numerous court cases following elections are the hallmark of fragile democracies.
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.
Dr. Jonathan pointed out the weakness of governance at local Government level which is the third tier of government, particularly in the exercise of its autonomy and its capacity to manage development issues.
He highlighted the need to review the local government system to enable the tier of government perform better in delivering democracy dividends to the people.