Former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has thrown his weight behind the National Assembly’s decision to revise the order of elections as part of the recent amendment to the Electoral Act. He said the new arrangement would help to ensure that only qualified persons are elected into the various offices.
Jonathan spoke when he received the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, who led members of the National Working Committee of the party on a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Jonathan Foundation in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Thursday.
A statement by the spokesperson for the PDP national chairman, Mr. Ike Abonyi, quoted the former President as saying:
“Holding presidential election first will affect the quality of persons that will emerge in other polls, because of the bandwagon effect. The ruling APC should see it from national and patriotic perspectives since laws are not meant for persons in power at a particular time only.”
He also asked the PDP to support and commend National Assembly for the patriotic act. While commending the newly elected Prince Secondus-led NWC for boosting people’s confidence in the party, Jonathan said:
“I believe PDP will return to power in 2019 if we continue to build confidence, especially as the ruling party has failed to meet up with their promises and give hope to the people.
Propaganda may help you win an election but it can’t help you govern and that is what the APC has seen in the last 32 months.”
Meanwhile, Secondus has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to use the opportunity of the new order of elections to prove his popularity in 2019. He said instead of condemning the leadership of the National Assembly for tampering with the old order of elections, the ruling All Progressives Congress and the President should commend the lawmakers for their courage and determination to show that they (lawmakers) could also win elections without being tied to the President.
There had been insinuations in some quarters that the lawmakers took the action to get at the President, whom some considered as not being friendly to the leadership of the National Assembly. But the chairman of the main opposition party, said:
“The action of the National Assembly is an opportunity for President Muhammadu Buhari to prove that he is a popular candidate and that he could win election irrespective of the order of the election at any time.
Instead of castigating the lawmakers, they should even be commended because many believe that some of the lawmakers got to their positions without merit. They were alleged to have ridden on the popularity of the President in 2015. So, for me, this is commendable.
The President should also respect the other arms of government by signing the amendments into law. It is the duty of the lawmakers to make laws. So, the President should sign it as soon as the amendment is transmitted to his office.”
Secondus recalled that in 1979, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011, elections into the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly came before that of the President and that it was only in 2015 that Senate, House of Representatives and the Presidential elections held on the same date since the return to democracy in 1999.
“So, the President should not think he is being targeted by the lawmakers, after all, his party has the majority in both chambers,” he added, saying his party never lobbied anyone over the amendment.