President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he would ensure that no other Nigerian leader suffers international humiliation which late president, Umaru Yaradua and himself suffered, saying that as long as he remains the president, he would ensure the conduct of a credible and acceptable election in 2015.
The president said this, yesterday, when he received the outcome of the National Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform from former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, the Chairman of Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development.
“There is a lot of noise in the air but definitely the elections will be better because we must put our legs down and make sure that the right things are done,” said Jonathan.
He commended the Ken Nnamani foundation for its ‘painstaking commitment’ to examining relevant department of government to strengthen the electoral process. He therefore assured that he would do everything to ensure that there was credibility in the conduct of election, promising that the 2015 election would be better conducted and more credible than those of 2011.
“Anything about elections, I’m totally committed. And I used my personal experience when I came on board in 2007 as a vice president, and I promised myself that if I have the privilege to oversee elections in Nigeria, we will do better. Bayelsa State is totally a PDP State and I didn’t see how anybody could win election outside the PDP. I had to go to my ward to vote, because everything about politics is local, but at the end of that election I was embarrassed when the international observers complained that there were certain breaches.
“Even though after taking oath of office and the Supreme Court declared us winners, each time one travelled abroad, people ask all kinds of questions that even gets one angry. That was when I promised myself that if I have an opportunity to oversee elections in Nigeria, no other president or vice president should suffer that kind of harassment by the international community.
“That was why the 2011 elections, even though I was candidate, I said nobody should manipulate elections for me that my ambition and the fate of the country are two different things. The interest of the nation is much more superior than any other ambition and I kept faith with that. At least, at the end of that election, it was accepted by observers locally and internationally. And I promise that 2015 elections will be better,” he said.
On the recommendations by the Ken Nnamani Foundation which include the establishment of electoral offences commission, funding of INEC and support for constitutional/electoral reform, the President noted that they were in tandem with government’s thinking and policy.
On the establishment of electoral offences commission, the president agreed that there must be a dedicated body “so that people who commit electoral offences will not get away with it.
“After elections, the matter goes to the tribunal, the only person who loses, is the person who contested that election. Other people who committed all kinds of atrocities get away with them and nobody punishes them. And that is why we continue to have that kind of impunity. That was why my committee at a time recommended this election offences commission, where we stated that whether elections are annulled or not, there must be process of bringing those who have done one thing or the other contrary to expectations to book.”