Jonathan: Pre-election Violence in Bayelsa, Kogi States Worrisome

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By Ngozi Ekhator

Former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has sued for peace ahead of Saturday’s scheduled gubernatorial elections in both Kogi and his home state, Bayelsa.

Dr Jonathan, who stated this on Friday in Yenagoa at his Foundation office when a team of  election observers from SING Foundation visited him, also condemned the patronage of thugs and the use of violence by politicians to secure victory during elections.

The President noted that for elections to be peaceful and credible in Nigeria, every eligible citizen must be allowed to freely vote for the candidate of his choice without intimidation and harassment.

Jonathan who condemned the spate of violence arising from the pre-election activities in Kogi and Bayelsa States also stressed that democracy is not only about conducting elections and declaring winners, but about the credibility of the entire process.

He noted further noted that  African nations are at different levels of democratic practices, adding that while some are already on the right track, others need to do more to deepen democracy .

He said: “I commend some that are doing well. But I describe what is being practised in some countries as pseudo- democracy. This is because democracy is not just about having elections and announcing results, it is way beyond that.

 If you don’t follow due process, if you don’t abide by the tenets and guidelines of free, fair and transparent electoral processes, then you can’t claim to be practicing democracy.”

The election observers were led by Mr. Idris Abiodun Usman, executive director of Sing Foundation and Mr. Femi Lawson, senior programme officer, Women Arise for Change Initiative.

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