Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the National Assembly to take appropriate legislative measures to stop off-cycle elections in the country.
Jonathan said this after casting his vote at the ongoing governorship election in Bayelsa, that it was important for Nigeria to unify its electoral calendar.
BRANDPOWER reports that Jonathan voted at polling unit 39 in Otazi Ward 13, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
He told newsmen at his Otuoke country home, that the National Assembly should block the off-cycle elections, “because it is neither the best for the country nor a globally acceptable practice.
“Basically this is an off-season election, I get worried about off-season elections and will use this opportunity to plead with the National Assembly to block it.
“This is not the best practice. The country can elect their people at the same time like the Americans that elect everybody at the same time,” he said.
According to him, if we continue with this, there will be a time the Nigerian presidential election will be off-season, and Nigerians should be worried.
“When I say Nigeria presidential election may be off-season, they may say how and why, but it almost happened in 2007, when I was the running mate to late Umaru Musa Yaradua.
“In that election, seven Justices presided over the case, and three of them said the process be annulled while four of them sustained it.
“If one had crossed over by now the Nigerian election would have been off-season,” he added in justifying his rejection of off-cycle elections.
Calls for violence-free elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo
Earlier on Friday Jonathan charged politicians and their followers to eschew violence and conduct themselves in a peaceful and lawful manner, in Saturday’s governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states.
Jonathan made the call in a statement by his Media Aide, Ikechukwu Eze, in Abuja on Friday.
Jonathan also urged the electoral management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and security agencies to be professional and patriotic in the discharge of their responsibilities during and after the elections.
The former President said that democracy drew its strength from the people, adding that “a man who means well for his people would not recruit thugs to maim and kill the very people he wants to govern.”
Reiterating that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen, Jonathan urged all stakeholders to jettison actions that could jeopardize the peaceful conduct of the elections.
“As citizens of voting age in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi to go to the polls for the governorship election on Saturday , I urge all electorate and politicians to avoid violence and conduct themselves in a peaceful and lawful manner.
“Let us refrain from all activities that will jeopardize the collective peace and stability of our states and our country.
“Let us resist the temptation and inducements that may be deployed as agents of destruction.
“For democracy to endure and be impactful, we must ensure that the leadership recruitment process, especially elections, are credible, transparent, fair and peaceful.
“I urge the electoral management body, security agencies and other stakeholders to be professional and patriotic in the discharge of their responsibilities during and after the elections.
“Democracy draws its strength from the people; let us work to strengthen the confidence of the people by ensuring that the electoral process is peaceful and transparent,“ the former president said.
Jonathan added that it was the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to allow the people to choose their leaders peacefully.