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Jonathan reiterates commitment to credible 2015 elections

08 April 2014, 06:46

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday in Abuja reiterated his commitment to the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections in 2015.

Jonathan spoke when he received the report of the National Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform presented by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

Nnamani is the Chairman of Ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Development.

The President noted that results of 2007 presidential election that produced President Umaru Yar'Adua (now late) and himself as Vice President, caused him a lot of embarrassment.

He said notwithstanding the Supreme Court judgment that upheld the results of the elections, he was confronted with ``embarrassing questions’’ over the elections when he travelled abroad.

The President said that it was at that point that he vowed that if he had the opportunity to oversee elections in Nigeria, he would do better than what was done in 2007.

“Although after taking oath of office and the Supreme Court declared us winners, but each time one travelled abroad, people asked all kinds of questions that even got one angry.”

``That was when I promised myself that if have an opportunity to oversee elections in Nigeria, no other President or Vice President should suffer that can kind of harassment and embarrassment by the international community.

“That is why I said nobody should manipulate elections for me in the 2011 elections, even though I was candidate.”

“That my ambition and the fate of the country are two different things, the interest of the nation is much more superior to any other ambition and I kept faith with that.”

“At the end of the election, it was accepted by local and international observers.”

“And I promise that 2015 elections will be better.”

The President said he agreed to the recommendation that there must be a body dedicated to punishing electoral offenders.

“We need this body so that people who commit electoral offences will not get away with them.”

“After elections, the matter goes to the tribunal; the only person who loses is the person who contested that election.”

“Any other person who committed all kinds of atrocities gets away with it as nobody punishes him/her.”

“That is why we continue to have that kind of impunity,” he said.

The President also assured of adequate funding for INEC to enable it to carry out its statutory functions effectively.
Earlier, Nnaman said the centre was set up, among others, to develop a crop of decent young men and women who will take over the mantle of leadership in the nearest future.

He said although the centre was named after him, the sole business of running it was on the executive Director, Prof. Ebere Onwudiwe, whom he described as “a noted Nigerian scholar and public intellectual.”

Nnamani said the Centre  was also focused on promotion of excellence in public leadership through infusion of capacity through seminars, workshops and training.

-    NAN

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