Independent candidacy will deepen democracy in Nigeria – NGO

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A non-governmental organisation, Advocacy for Peace Initiative, has lauded the endorsement of independent candidacy by the National Assembly in the 1999 Constitution as a move to deepen democracy.

The group said party system in the emerging democracies in Africa and other parts of Asia limited the level of participation by citizens who had the integrity to make a change in governance.

The Executive Director of the group, Ajibola Owolabi, said in Osogbo on Wednesday that by that singular action, the assembly had lived above board.

The assembly had on Tuesday approved the amendment of sections 65 and 106 of the 1999 Constitution, which provided for independent candidacy to contest elections without any party platform in the future elections.

Owolabi said that the basic tenets of political association in a democratic setting had been ‘’grossly abused’’ due to self aggrandizement.

“The essence of political association has been defeated in many democratic countries of Africa and Asia, the original tenets have been taken over by self-centeredness.

“Instead of mobilising the citizenry for election through inculcation of positive democratic ethos in them, and conscious sensitisation for active participation, they turned themselves to business ventures.

“Ideas and necessary courage to make a change and turn the fortunes of the nation around have been mortgaged for millions of naira.

“An energetic youth with requisite cognitive strength to deliver dividends of democracy to the people without fat pocket will never be given opportunity to prove his mettle in any Nigerian political party.

“Some have even turned the parties to dynasties, totally exclusive of their family members and cronies. It is in the view of these dangerous anomalies in the political system of Nigeria that we extolled the move by the national assembly to advance our democracy through this revolutionary amendment,’’ he said.

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