By Tordue Salem
ABUJAâ€”Members of the House of Representatives have endorsed a proposal from President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to amend the 1999 Constitution to approve independent candidates in the 2011 elections. The proposal from the President is drawn from the Mohammed Uwaisâ€™ Report on Electoral Reforms.
Rep. Abass Braimoh, who represents Etsako Federal Constituency of Edo State in the House, it is a great idea with several prospects for the country. â€œWell, itâ€™s quite noble and forward-thinking to inject that element of independent candidacy in the entire system. We have seen that work in America, we have seen it work in other developed democracies. People should be able to look at themselves. People should be able to know what we are bringing to bear on the politics of the countryâ€, he said.
According to him, â€œWe would want to know your character content and of course your philosophy about politics and all other elements, and bringing in independent candidacy is quite laudable and as soon as we are able to strengthen the electoral process, independent candidacy will carry a whole lot of weightâ€.
He advised opponents to the idea that if the proposal is allowed in the constitution, it will bring merit into the countryâ€™s electoral process. â€œIt is critically very important to have a level-playing field for all to participate politically and it is always easier through political parties, but then, if independent candidacy is allowed we would be injecting the culture of meritâ€.
Rep. Abdulkareem Abisodun, Representing Oyo State in the House, on the Action Congress (AC) platform, described the proposal as a welcome development that would transform for the better, the Countryâ€™s political landscape.