Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on Wednesday accused the police of being responsible for ‘most electoral offences’ committed during elections in Africa.
The former president of Nigeria made the assertion while speaking on democracy, electoral reforms and power to the people during the 4th edition of the Osasu Show Symposium christened ‘Rethinking Africa’. He said for African nations to entrench true democratic process on the continent, critical electoral reforms must be institutionalized, including the punishment of electoral offender especially the police who are mostly culprits of electoral offences.
“Just like in Nigeria, people are proposing for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission and the committee that I chaired when I was the Vice President during Yar’dua’s political reforms made that recommendation that people who commit offences during elections should be punished.
“Rather what we have is, immediately the election results are declared, they appoint tribunals and the tribunals take decision and it ends there, while will it end there?
“People have committed electoral offences, there should be special department of government to take over because some of the electoral offences are committed by the police and it is difficult for the police to investigate themselves and that is why you need a department of government that will not participate in the management of the elections but the take charge of managing the fallouts from the elections.
“So when people commit electoral offences during elections, it is not all about wining or loosing but there must be a follow-up, proper investigation so that people are punished for offences committed and if that is done over a period of time, we will not begin to develop a clear conscious for democracy because democracy is all about how people live their lives, when we develop to that level it becomes part of our culture, then you can say Africa is moving forward democratically.
Jonathan while speaking further also advocated for electronic voting and the need to allow the votes of citizens to count during a democratic elections and where there is otherwise, such is not a democratic process.
“In an election where the votes of citizens don’t count, then that election is as good as military dictatorship, so for me, the reforms should be geared towards making the votes count and taking a critical examination about the way elections are being conducted across the continent, and from the ones I have observed, I feel that the only thing we must do to get there is to adopt electronic voting.
“People might feel there are tendencies of hacking and manipulations by smart boys, but yet people are using the same medium to move hundreds of millions of dollars across the world, so I still believe very sincerely that electronic voting is the way to go”, he stated.