Jonathan urges NASS to block off-season polls

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called for a stop to the practice of off-season elections in Nigeria.

He expressed concern that if the country continued with off-season polls, a time would come when the presidential election might become an off-cycle election.

Jonathan stated this during an interview with reporters after voting in Saturday’s off-cycle Bayelsa State governorship election at Ward 13 Otuoke, Ogbia LGA.

He described off-season as odd and not a global best practice, urging the National Assembly to ensure the practice was blocked.

The former president, while congratulating Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States for the peaceful conduct of the polls, said, “Basically this is an off-season election. I get worried about the issue of off-season elections, and I will use this unique opportunity to plead with the National Assembly that we need to block off-season elections.

“It is very odd, it’s not a global best practice. A country can elect its people at different times, like the American election and some countries. They may not elect everybody at the same time but the only time they go on to conduct elections, they elect everybody that is supposed to be elected.

“If we continue with this trend of off-season elections based on the interpretation of our law by a judicial officer, it will come to a time when the presidential election in Nigeria may be conducted off-season.

“Probably, that is time that the media and others will realise it. Look at the American (US) system, everybody knows when American elections will be conducted. That’s the standard in other countries.

“And when I say presidential election in Nigeria may be off-season one day, some may say ‘why, how?’. It almost happened in 2007 when I contested as running mate to the late President Yar’Adua.

“In that election, seven Justices presided over the case, three of them through their judgement held that the election be annulled, and four of them sustained it.

“If one of them had crossed over, by now, the Nigerian presidential election would have been off-season.”

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