Jonathan Decries Vote Buying at Launch of “My Transition Hours”

Jonathan Decries Vote Buying at Launch of “My Transition Hours”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has berated politicians who indulge in inducing the electorate during campaigns, stating that such actions are criminalised in international quarters. Speaking on the occasion of his 61st birthday and the launch of his book, ‘My Transition Hours’, held in Abuja on Tuesday, Jonathan admitted that he didn’t know that such actions

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has berated politicians who indulge in inducing the electorate during campaigns, stating that such actions are criminalised in international quarters.

Speaking on the occasion of his 61st birthday and the launch of his book, ‘My Transition Hours’, held in Abuja on Tuesday, Jonathan admitted that he didn’t know that such actions by politicians were criminal, until he observed elections in foreign climes.

He said he made the comments on the electoral process in the country in order to pave the way for improvement that can be adopted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Speaking on his inspiration for the book, he said: “People ask me, ‘why did you write such a book?’ Because the tradition is that when many people leave office, they write their autobiographies. However, this is not my biography. Definitely, there are some statements about my beginning, primary school, secondary school, among others, because, of course, the journey started somewhere. And also, my activities in government.”

“There are certain issues in the government that were used against me during the election. The issue of Boko Haram and the Chibok girls; in fact, some people said I had brought Boko Haram to reduce the voting population of the North, so that I would win the election. So, I commented on the Chibok girls. Also, the fuel subsidy that was really used by the politicians. Of course, politicians must have smelt opportunities, so I don’t blame them. Even if it’s myself, I would probably do the same thing, but I needed to explain certain things as to why we took that decision. On the issue of corruption, I made some suggestions on how we should go about it.”

“I also used this opportunity to make a little suggestion in terms of our elections. The issue of vote buying is becoming scandalous in Nigeria. We know that there is this concept of inducing the electorate, which most countries control.”

“For all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, ordinary inducement of the electorate is criminalised. But here in Nigeria, we take inducement of the electorate as a part of the electoral process. What I mean by inducing the electorate is that during campaign, we’ll package rice, salt, photograph of the candidate and the logo of the party and distribute to the people. That is wrong by all international standards. I did not know until I got involved in observing elections.”

“But those are still being considered as not serious offences. In all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, even at the rallies, nobody will give you a pen with a candidate’s name on it. All what the candidate and the parties will do is the t-shirt, face-caps and the fliers and banners of the party; nobody gives any gift.”

Coming back to the Nigerian setting, he continued: “It graduated from inducing the electorate to outright pricing and buying of votes. INEC must do everything to stop that. We should take a cue from some African countries. In all the countries I’ve gone to observe elections, nobody builds polling booths. We have polling centres, public buildings such as schools. One school will have many polling units and it’s easier for the Police to police these polling units together and it’ll be difficult for someone who is in the classroom to show you the ballot paper.”

“If you design the electoral process in a way that you cannot see the ballot paper, then the issue of outright vote buying will be addressed.”

He also noted that the name of Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was “mentioned in two places in that book”, and he asked him to “go and read about it”.

Jonathan also revealed that the foundation launched in his name has enjoyed the support of all governors under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as some governors under the All Progressives Congres (APC).

While thanking those who graced the event, the former president extended special regards to his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, and expressed the possibility of appearing on national television to reveal more about the book, should the occasion permit.

President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted Jonathan for conceding defeat in the 2015 election.

He praised the former president’s insistence that no Nigerian blood was worth his political ambition, describing him as a true patriot.

Buhari stated this in a message delivered on his behalf by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha at the presentation of the former president’s book titled ‘My Transition Hours’.

According to the President, elections should not be a declaration of war.

The event which took place in Abuja on Tuesday had in attendance Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the National Chairman of the All Progress Congress (APC) Mr Adams Oshiomhole and his PDP Counterpart, Mr Uche Secondus. Also at the event was former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Godswill Akpabio, who recently defected from the PDP to the APC.

Others in attendance are former Heads of State, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalam Abubakar, former Vice President, Namadi Sambo and former President of Ghana, Mr John Mahama, Sierra Leone, Mr Ernest Bai Koroma and Benin Republic, Thomas Boni Yayi.

Also in attendance are the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, PDP former Vice President and Presidential Candidate, Mr Atiku Abubakar, former Chief of Army Staff, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, Also present at the book launch was President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President, David Mark  and former Chief Justice, Alfa Belgore.

Other dignitaries include former Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu; Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Diskson; Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa; former Governor of Kastina State, Ibrahim Shema; Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal; and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, among others.


The venue of the launch of the book ‘My Transition Hours’ was turned to a political gathering as leaders of opposing parties embraced and exchanged pleasantries.

.In a brief remark, former Military Head of State, Abdulasalmi Abubakar, said Nigeria is not at war today because of the decision by Jonathan to concede defeat during the 2015 election.

“We cannot thank you enough for the peace we are having in the country today; for the peaceful transition we had when you freely and voluntarily conceded defeat,” Abubakar said.

The former military head of state said: “By your decision, you have shown that you love your country more than you love power”.

Former President of Ghana, John Mahama, said Jonathan was more of an academic who found himself in politics. “He is not your typical politician,” he said.

Mahama said Jonathan approached leadership with a “relaxed approach” which was why he succeeded as a leader.

He said he shared similarities with Jonathan and they became close when as vice presidents, they often met at the African Union summits and other meetings representing their principals.

Mahama described Jonathan as “not talkative, reasonable and level headed in politics”.

“For him, politics was not a matter of life and death. His decision in 2015 was not surprising to me at all,” he said.

The former Ghanaian leader also recalled that at the height of vote counting after the 2015 election and because of his closeness to Jonathan, he received lots of calls from members of the international community especially from the UK and USA “asking me to speak to my friend to accept defeat”.

“They were afraid that like a typical African leader, he would try to hold on to power.

“But I told them there was no need, Jonathan is a good man and he would do the right thing,” he said.

Former Vice President Namadi Sambo said Jonathan helped greatly in consolidating Nigerian democracy.

He also said Jonathan as president made appointments purely based on merit.

Sambo gave an example by saying he was selected as a vice president by Jonathan at a time he was campaigning for someone else to be selected.

He also said Jonathan appointed former national chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, “whom he never met”.

However, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Uche Secondus, stole the show at the public presentation as Oshiomhole shook hands with, and embraced Secondus.

The APC National Chairman was also seen exchanging pleasantries with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which attracted attention in view of his fierce criticisms of the former president.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described the former President as an icon and pillar of contemporary Nigeria democracy, whose patriotism and personal sacrifices ensured the unity, stability and corporate existence of the nation, particularly given the circumstances of the 2015 general election.

The party said: “Dr. Jonathan remains a true Nigerian leader, whose administration is known, not only for good governance and landmark development projects across the nation, but also for the entrenchment of democratic values, rule of law, equity and justice, respect for separation of power and constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens as well as engendering harmonious coexistence of all interests in our nation.

“In all, President Jonathan amply demonstrated that the true essence of leadership and statesmanship is the application of the virtues, opportunities and authority therein for the good of others rather than self, and for that our party and indeed Nigerians celebrate him”.


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