Block Off-Season Elections, Jonathan Tells NASS

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the National Assembly (NASS) to make laws that prohibit off-season elections in Nigeria.

The ex-Nigerian leader spoke on Saturday after he cast his vote in the November 11, 2023 governorship poll at Ward 13, Polling Unit 39, at Otuoke in the Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Like Bayelsa, governorship elections are held in Imo and Kogi on Saturday.

Earlier in March, governorship elections were held in 28 out of the 36 states of the Federation. This was so because the governorship elections of eight states (Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Osun and Ondo) are held off-season due to litigations and court judgements.

However, Jonathan, who was Nigeria’s President between February 2010 and May 2015, said off-cycle polls should be struck out and harmonised with the general elections.

According to Jonathan, with the way things are going in Nigeria, the presidential election might be off-season.

The ex-governor of Bayelsa State said an off-season presidential poll “almost happened in 2007 when I contested as a running mate with President Umaru Yar’adua” but it was prevented.

He said, “I get worried by the issue of off-season elections. And I use this opportunity to plead with the National Assembly that we need to block these off-season elections. It is very odd; it is not a global best practise.

“If we continue with this trend of off-season elections based on the interpretation of our laws by the judicial officers, it will come to a time when the presidential election will be off-season.

“Look at the American system; everybody knows when the American election will be conducted.”

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