Politics

Constitution amendment: Reps propose independent candidacy

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill that will allow independent candidacy in Nigerian elections.

The Chief Whip, Mr Mohammed Monguno, had sponsored the ‘Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.’

If the Senate and two-third (24) of the 36 state Houses of Assembly approve the proposal, it will make it legal for independent candidates to vie for any elective office in the country without using any political party platform.

Leading the debate on the bill, Monguno said a country’s constitution should not be static and should be a document that took care of needs that might arise from time to time.

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This, he said, inspired the bill.

He said independent candidacy would deepen Nigerian democracy and create a level playing field for all Nigerians who wanted to contribute their quota to national and local development.

The Chief Whip cited the example of a few people who hijacked political parties and hindered those that had contrary views from expressing themselves politically on the platform of the party.

In his contribution, Mr Sergius Ogun said as Nigeria practises a presidential system, it would be democratically expedient to allow well-meaning Nigerians to have an independent platform to contribute their patriotic quota.

Also, Mr Aminu Suleiman said the proposal would expand the political and personal rights of people to function, devoid of imposition and interference of political godfathers.

He said it would also ensure emergence of the popular choice made by the people without imposition by party structures.

Suleiman also expressed the hope that the bill would enjoy speedy passage and assent of the president.

However, Mr James Faleke doubted the capacity of Nigeria’s political system to accommodate everyone who wished to contest as it would be too enormous for the Independent National Electoral Commission to handle.

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He added that independent candidacy would result in more electoral litigation.

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