President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday condemned the irregularities which characterized the rerun election to the Imo State of Assembly in Oguta last Saturday, saying that the conduct of certain persons and groups involved in the election totally negated the spirit of one man, one vote which his administration is trying to foster in Nigeria.
Speaking at an audience with a delegation from the Nigerian Senators’ Forum at the State House, President Jonathan urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the nation’s security agencies to take immediate steps to bring all those who played any role in the violence and electoral irregularities that marred the election to justice.
The President said that it had become apparent that in order to successfully achieve his administration’s objective of entrenching a culture of consistently free, fair and credible elections in the country, it must be made clear to all stakeholders that any unlawful conduct during elections will be swiftly punished.
“Those who made it impossible for the rerun election in Oguta to be conclusive must be brought to book. We must make it clear that impunity in the perpetration of violence and irregularities during elections will no longer be tolerated. Sanctions, promptly imposed on guilty persons, will deter others from engaging in such acts in future,” he declared.
Welcoming the Senators’ Forum’s pledge of support for his administration’s efforts to thoroughly sanitize Nigeria’s electoral system, President Jonathan said that he was glad that his advocacy for one man, one vote was winning more adherents across the country.
The President said that the Federal Government under his leadership will work with other like-minded Nigerians and the forum, which has a membership of over 500 serving and former senators, to strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions and deliver more dividends of democracy to ordinary Nigerians.
“There must be even greater harmony between the executive and legislative arms of government. We must work together to ensure that all Nigerians benefit more from our political activities,” he told the delegation which was led by Senator Khairat Abdulrazaq Gwadabe.
Senator Gwadabe had earlier told President Jonathan that the Senators’ Forum which was established in 2003, was committed to supporting his efforts to strengthen institutions of democracy in Nigeria.
She praised the President’s commitment to maintaining cordial and harmonious relations with the National Assembly as well as his respect for the rule of law.
The delegation included Senators Abubakar Girei, Iyabo Anisulowo, Alex Kadiri, John Danboyi, Victor Oyofo, Emmanuel Ibok Essien, Haruna Abdulazeez and Sunday Fajimi, Sylvannus Ngele, Bala Adamu, Zeog H. Aziz and Omololu Meroyi.