2015: Jonathan re­jects reg­u­la­tion of cam­paign ex­penses

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Isi­aka Wak­ili

Ahead of the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan has kicked against reg­u­la­tion of cam­paign ex­penses, say­ing it is un­re­al­is­tic.

Jonathan spoke at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa in Abuja yes­ter­day while re­ceiv­ing the re­port of the Na­tional Stake­hold­ers’ Fo­rum on Elec­toral Re­form headed by for­mer Se­nate Pres­i­dent Ken Nna­mani.

The fo­rum had rec­om­mended, among oth­ers, cam­paign fi­nance reg­u­la­tion and re­spect for the rule of law by po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

But the pres­i­dent chal­lenged Nige­ri­ans to ad­vo­cate a real­is­tic and prac­ti­ca­ble law that would not be “a booby trap” for any­one.

He de­scribed elec­tion cam­paign as a very ex­pen­sive ven­ture in Nigeria, cit­ing the lo­gis­tics and mo­bil­i­sa­tion as­pects of it.

Ac­cord­ing to him, it is not even pos­si­ble to mon­i­tor cam­paign ex­penses, let alone restrict­ing politi­cians to spend­ing within a budget.

He said: “I’m a re­al­ist and I’m a prac­ti­cal per­son, and that’s why I be­have dif­fer­ently. I don’t pre­tend. I be­lieve that even the laws or even reg­u­la­tions must not be de­signed in a way that it’ll pre­tend. In some coun­tries, if you’re get­ting funds from govern­ment, then you must set re­stric­tions; but if you’re gen­er­at­ing your own funds, then you’ve no re­stric­tions.”

The pres­i­dent asked; “If you say a gover­nor must not spend be­yond cer­tain amount of money when cam­paign­ing, how do you mon­i­tor? And some­times, the fig­ures you put are too un­re­al­is­tic be­cause if you must cam­paign, the me­dia is very ex­pen­sive.”

He said his com­mit­ment was in­formed by the con­dem­na­tion of the flawed process of the 2007 elec­tions that pro­duced late Pres­i­dent Umaru Yar’Adua and him.

“I used my per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence when I came on board in 2007 as vice pres­i­dent, and I promised my­self that if I’ve the priv­i­lege to over­see elec­tions in Nigeria, we’d do bet­ter. In 2007, be­cause I come from a very small state in Bayelsa State and was then the gover­nor. Bayelsa State is to­tally a PDP state and didn’t see how any­body could win elec­tion out­side the PDP.

“Each time one trav­els abroad, people ask all kinds of ques­tions that even get one an­gry,” he de­clared.

On the es­tab­lish­ment of an elec­toral of­fences com­mis­sion, Jonathan agreed that there should be a ded­i­cated body “so that people who com­mit elec­toral of­fences won’t get away with it. Af­ter elec­tions, the mat­ter goes to the tri­bunal; the only per­son who loses is the per­son who con­tested that elec­tion. And that’s why we con­tinue to have that kind of im­punity... That was why my com­mit­tee at a time rec­om­mended this elec­tion of­fences com­mis­sion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.