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Electoral Act: N’assembly shouldn’t make laws that choke political parties, says Goodluck Jonathan

  Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the national assembly shouldn’t make laws that “choke” political parties.   Jonathan spoke in ...

 


Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the national assembly shouldn’t make laws that “choke” political parties.

 

Jonathan spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the public presentation of a book authored by Mohammed Wakil, former minister of state for power.

 

The 2022 Electoral Act approved by President Muhammadu Buhari does not permit statutory delegates to participate in the convention and congresses of political parties. Statutory delegates form a major part of voters at a party’s convention to elect a governorship or presidential candidate.

 

A fortnight ago, the national assembly passed a bill to correct the omission. While debating the bill, Ovie Omo-Agege, deputy senate president and sponsor of the legislation, had said the error was “unintended”.

 

Buhari is however yet to sign the bill into law, forcing political parties to rely on only elected delegates in their congresses.

 

Reacting to the development, Jonathan said political parties are not government parastatals and should be allowed to decide what benefits them.

 

“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 for a president,” he said.

 

 “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.

 

“Give political parties the leverage. The key thing is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is regulating them,” Jonathan said.

 

“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.”

 

 “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?”

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