The election that brought Yar’Adua to power a huge embarrassment, says Jonathan

Late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (sitting) with President Goodluck Jonathan in party office

President promises to punish perpetrators of electoral fraud.

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday said the results of the 2007 presidential election that produced the late Umaru Yar’Adua as President and himself as Vice President has 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 whenever he travelled abroad.

“Although we took 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,” Mr. Jonathan said.

The President said this while receiving the report of the National Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform presented by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, in Abuja.

Mr. Jonathan reiterated his commitment to the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections in 2015.

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“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,” he said.

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 Nigerians of adequate funding for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to enable it to carry out its statutory functions effectively.

(NAN)

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