Can Independent Candidates Improve Governance?

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 Among the constitutional amendments voted in by the legislators at the National Assembly was the issue of independent candidates during elections in Nigeria. Although some argue that such candidates may be overwhelmed by established party structures in the contest for elective positions, others believe such candidates will not carry excess baggage and party obligations into office when elected, and will thus perform optimally to ensure good governance and fulfil campaign promises. From your viewpoint, can independent candidates improve the governance process in Nigeria?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Can Nigerians vote for independent candidates who are not willing to buy votes? Let’s resolve that question before tackling the expected performance of these candidates. How does an independent candidate with limited financial power square up against other candidates being sponsored by political parties with access to limitless public funds? Nigeria’s political evolution should start from the strengthening of its electoral laws as well as clearly defining how political activities can be financed.

Mr. Yommi Oni, Paris, France

* No. Independent candidates like Perot and Trump in America, throw misguided public utterances drawing violent reactions e.g. in Los Angeles e.t.c leaving much to be desired. Perot, an expert with figures, defended the year’s budget he claimed to know very much about so badly and failed with human relations. Trump too claimed to have studied the Iran nuclear deal in greater detail than almost anybody, his reaction to North Korea’s empty threats e.t.c. are absurd. No to independent candidates, simple.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* Obviously, independent candidates will definitely improve governance in our today’s Nigeria. These are people who have the country and the citizens at heart and are ready to use the resources and the talents garnered to better their lots. The problem they will face is our tribalism, sectionalism and the worst, religion; otherwise such people should be encouraged as it will prove our maturity in politics.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* Yes, they often make the difference, even in advanced climes. All men are created equal; the creator allows them equal access to life, liberty, happiness and societal functions. Money bags bring their actions and experiences in business to bear in governance variously. Pragmatists like: Perot – America; Urlashov – Russia; Kazuko – Japan; and Lassalle – France, all contested and excelled independently. They are self-sponsored and patriotically independent with freedom to act without undue interference. They stuck to established vital party structures, focus, free mind etc.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* The proposed independent candidate for elective position is long overdue because some parties pick their candidates with favouritism, without knowing whether the candidate will perform if elected or not. We must support an Independent Candidate bill to sail through into law. There are many Nigerians who are interested in politics but the way parties do their things, they decline their ambition of becoming leaders. Independent candidacy will make parties to amend their ways.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* The issue of independent candidates partaking in our elections is an idea whose time has come. It frees would-be public office holders from extortionist-fees political parties collect in the name of filling nomination forms and such things. In addition, it empowers women and youth. I take you to the Balkans for a good example. Atifete Jahjaga served as President of Kosovo, with accolades from 2011 to 2016; she got elected as the first female leader of her country, the first independent candidate so elected, taking power before she saw her 36th birthday.

Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, B.A.R., Apo, Abuja

* Independent candidate will let us look at the contribution Dangote is contributing towards development of this country and Africa. In terms of creating job opportunities, employment of graduates and other trades etc., I strongly believe being an independent candidate the electorate will vote such a person in over-whelmingly. Such people will bring the desired governance. Ross Perot contested US presidency as an independent candidate; Bill Clinton got picked as the best candidate over George Bush Snr. in 1992. The electorates were forced to focus and concentrate on better choices to emerge.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna

* If we cannot get governance right through party’s base politics, suitable with our multi-ethnic and cultural nature, independent candidacy may worsen it, making the entire populace a political candidate.

Mr. George Emeka Nwani, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

* If it’s the same candidates that are going to be contesting, then there won’t be a difference. The problem we have is that even if you bring the best possible leadership the nation has to offer, the corrupt, slow and inefficient system will put such leadership in its place. Doing things differently in Nigeria is extremely difficult. However, strengthening the efforts at plugging the various leakages in government will go a long way in cleaning up our institutions.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* I personally think independent candidates can make a difference in delivery of good governance in Nigeria; as long as the political parties allow them a level playing ground. At the end of the day, personality may eventually overcome money politics, and those who eventually emerge without the excess baggage of party obligations, will have no hindrances or challenges in ensuring and delivering good governance to all citizens, without fear or favour.

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* An independent politician is an individual politician not affiliated with any political party. This is a recurrent feature in the Federal Parliament of Australia and they are more commonly elected to state parliaments. There have been up to five independents in every Federal Parliament since 1990, and independents have won twenty-eight times during national elections in that time. On one hand, we have governance, meaning the joint management of society by co-opted elite, on the model of business corporations. On the other side, the traditional system called ‘democracy’ means the people’s choice of leaders through free and fair elections. Thus, independent candidates will definitely improve transparency, accountability, reduce cost, and allow easy development of the country, which will tailored to delivery of quick plans, improving administration, management, promoting peace, democracy, and it will also increase performance of the voted-in candidates because the systems will not be too cumbersome and help to foster cordial relationship with the citizens, comparative advantage of selections of officers, and help in nation building peace, achievement; thus helping to improve continuity, democracy and development.

Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Apo, Abuja

THE RESPONSE

Yes, they can: 7

No, they can’t: 1

Others: 3

Radical tip: Same set!

Number of respondents: 11

Male: 10

Female: 1

Highest location: Lagos (3)

Next Week: Are Women Truly Better Change Agents?

Although this has been a lingering argument, many analysts believe women can perform better in positions of leadership, to deliver on expectations and ensure transparent good governance to the citizens; if only the men-folk would allow them access to such influential positions. Their thinking is that women are more committed to development and they truly desire change more than their male counterparts. Do you agree with this position, or it is just a myth? 

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (Aug 17 & Monday, Aug 21) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, August 24