Nigeria’s Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the lawmakers at the National Assembly to stop off-season elections in the country.
Jonathan stated this in an interview with journalists after casting his vote in the ongoing governorship election in Otuoke, Bayelsa State, South-South Nigeria on Saturday.
He said, “First, let me congratulate the three states that have elections today. Bayelsa State, Imo State, and Kogi State, in which I wish all the states successful elections and peaceful conduct of elections.
“But, because this is an offseason election and I get worried about the issue of offseason elections, I will use this unique opportunity to plead with the National Assembly that we need to block this office in elections. It’s very odd. It’s not global best practice.”
“A country can elect its people at different times, like America and some countries, but not everybody at the same time. But anytime they go to an election, they elect everybody.
The former president said that if off-season elections is based on the interpretation of our laws by the judiciary, it may come to a time when the presidential election in Nigeria may be off-season.
He said, “If we continue with this trend of off-season elections based on the interpretation of our laws by the judicial officer, in that case, we’ll come to a time when the presidential election in Nigeria may be off-season. Probably that is the time that all of you media people and others will be worried.
“Look at the American system; everybody knows when the American elections will be held, and that’s become standard practice,” he added.
Talking about why the presidential election in Nigeria may be off-season one day, Jonathan said it almost happened in 2007, “when I ran as a running mate to the late President Yar’Adua.”
He said, “You know that in that election, three of the seven justices that presided over the case stated in their judgment that the election be annulled. Four of them sustained the elections, and that is why we stayed. If one has crossed over by now, the presidential election in Nigeria would have been an off-season election, and it is not the best for a country.
“Now we have seven states that are off-season. We need to stop there, and where possible, these seven states can be migrated back and fall in line with the other states, and the National Assembly can do that. That is my message for the National Assembly, my message for Nigerians.”
Jonathan congratulated Nigerians, wishing for the success of the off-season elections.
“On the other hand, I wish the election success. I’ve been monitoring what is happening in Bayelsa State. I’ve asked people across the local governments, and for now, there are no major things to be worried about apart from the Basambari part of the Nimbe local government, which has been in conflict for quite some time before the election.
“Apart from that, I think the elections are going well, but we cannot conclude until the end of the voting period. So once again, I thank you and wish you well.”