INTRODUCTION OF INDEPENDENT CANDIDACY WILL INCREASE COST OF DEMOCRACY – TONY MOMOH

Former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh, believes that introducing independent candidacy into our electoral system would further lead to the depletion of the resources that would have been channelled into the development t of the country. Momoh, who spoke in an interview with Sunday Sun, opined that with over 45 registered political parties in the country, there were quantum platforms for aspirants to vie for elections already, hence there is no need for the creation independent candidacy.  He said: “Independent candidacy will increase the cost of our democracy and then show how ready we are to put democracy in the front burner of governance to the detriment of development. Nigeria is the only country in the world that puts democracy before development. All countries look at their level of development and then adopt that quantum of freedom that will drive development.  “Here, if we are not having full time councillors, House of Assembly members, National Assembly members and others, we are looking for where to spend money. Now, we have more than 45 registered political parties and we want to add other opportunities where people can spend the little resources they have trying to access power. So, the mode of accessing power, which are the peripheral areas we are looking at today, is a mode and no more; it will not add value to governance.”  Momoh stressed that “What we ought to be doing is looking at the challenges we have now and then addressing them frontally,” adding: “We have not adopted a template to address the welfare and the security of citizens, which is why government is there; and that is chapter two of the constitution. The resources for addressing welfare and security are the resources we are dissipating on governance.  “So, we ought to be looking at whether we want full-time or part-time legislature, and they will make sense if they say part-time legislature as we had in the First Republic. We will be serious if we say do we need two Houses and they say we need one House; that will make more sense to Nigerians. We will be serious if we say do we need all these concentration of power at the centre and they say, no we don’t, let us devolve power. So, when you decongest the political space, economic deregulation becomes automatic. So, when we are talking of addressing governance, we ought to be looking at areas where we will save resources for the country.  “We are not growing Nigeria and what they are doing is peripheral. So, whether it is independent candidacy or making certain groups of people to be appointed into government on the basis of sex or making the young people participate in governance and contest election or whatever, all those areas may be needed in a democracy but they are not sine qua non for growth.”  When reminded that independent candidacy was envisaged a solution for lack of internal democracy in Nigerian political parties, Momoh explained further: “In the developed world like America, Europe and England, people earned the right to vote. Here you say that the right to vote is dependent on age; and you say people at a particular age should contest elections and so on and so forth.  “We have more than 45 parties; but is it not only two parties that make it, not to talk of individuals now? People who have no money will go and look for money to contest elections. In this most expensive political arrangement we have, apart from the councillorship level, how can an independent person want to be governor of a state or the president of Nigeria without a political party.  “So, independent candidacy can be feasible at the local government level. But the fact is there are lots of dead parties, dying parties or mushroom parties, which those who want to be independents can use. But we are just addressing issues that will grow democracy rather than development. We are still interested in investing in governance and eating up the resources that ought to be channelled to development. So, what they are doing in the NASS as far as I am concerned is nothing but a colossal waste of time.” Source: Sun
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