Former President Goodluck Jonathan says when citizens’ votes begin to count, politicians will stop recruiting thugs.
He described the signals coming from Kogi and Bayelsa states as “disturbing” adding that people are already being killed before the governorship elections scheduled for Saturday.
Jonathan spoke in Port Harcourt during the presentation of a book by Gabriel Toby, a former deputy governor of Rivers, on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Simon Onu, a van driver with Bayelsa Radio was shot dead while several other people were injured during a rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nembe area of the state.
In Kogi state, the campaign train of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was attacked at the venue of a peace accord meeting set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Lokoja.
This was after suspected thugs set fire to the secretariat of the party.
The former president said the country would not have deteriorated to this point if people’s votes mattered.
He said only electronic voting could stop violence during elections in the country, adding that with that, people would be able to elect those they believe in.
“Look at what is happening now; we have governorship elections in two states in Kogi and Bayelsa. The signals coming from both are quite disturbing,.
“The use of thugs, shooting guns and our people are already being killed when the voting process has not even started is disturbing. This would not happen if we have got to a point in this country where voter card matters.
”That is why I have always advocated electronic voting. We must go into electronic voting.
”If people these days can transfer billions of dollars from one bank to the other, using electronic means, then I believe that we can do electronic voting perfectly and that will ensure that the use of thugs during elections would not come up again.”
He said he believes that when the country develops to a point where voter cards matter, politicians would change their bad ways.
“My opinion is that people don’t change when they get into political office; we vote people that we don’t know into offices and it is difficult to know the true character of a person; it is hard to understand, but the fact is we don’t really vote people we know. People tend to use different means to get into office, “he said.
“When we develop as a nation to the point where our voter cards matter, where the people can vote, who they believe in, the behaviour of the politicians would change; politicians would stop recruiting group of boys and feeding them like dogs, calling them thugs to be used for elections while their children attend the best universities abroad,“ Jonathan said.