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20 December 2006

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National Conscience Party
Lagos State Chapter

SPECIAL MESSAGE TO 2006 NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE NCP:

ON BUHARI AND THE 2007 ELECTIONS

INTRODUCTION

Firstly, we congratulate the party national leaders for holding this congress at this especially troubled time of Nigeria's history. The more money the country makes, the more miserable the vast majority of the masses become. Almost eight years after the exit of the military, the powers that be run polity in a mostly undemocratic manner, which even sometimes makes people to wander what is the difference between the two. The so-called civil rule has been dominated by series of acts of unconstitutionality and routine disobedience of unfavourable court orders by the powers that be. If there was any doubt about the undemocratic credentials of the ruling parties across the country, either in the PDP or the opposition parties like the ANPP and AD/AC, the recently concluded primaries of these parties have totally exploded such myths. In all these parties, basic democratic rules were brusquely trampled upon with only those favoured by the powers that be at the central and state levels emerging winners of a pre-determined contest. All of these factors will doubtlessly worsen the economic and political plight of the masses in the period before and after the 2007 general elections.

2007 AND THE MASSES

Based on the above outlined premises, no one needs to be a political analyst or soothsayer to know that "victory" in 2007 elections for the current crop of anti-poor and corrupt politicians across the country will only bring greater economic and political disaster on the vast majority of the masses. In other words, such "victory" will only bring about the continuation and intensification of the current anti-poor policies and rapacious corruption by top government officials. Consequently, the Lagos State NCP urges this congress to adopt a resolution not to go into alliance or team up or give any form of political support to all pro-capitalist, pro-privatisation and neo-liberal politicians and parties. This congress should firmly resolve that it will only support parties and candidates that are resolutely committed to use the vast resources (human and material) which the country is well endowed with to better the lots of vast majority of people in the areas of education, healthcare, housing, provision of employment and adequate development of necessary socio-economic infrastructures, embracing both the cities and the rural areas.

We should make it loud and clear that we will not give political support or backing to any candidate or political party that supports in whatever guise, the prevailing neo-liberal economic agenda foisted on the country by imperialism and the local capitalist class. We should instead resolve to fight for a poor people oriented governance in place of the current looters paradise where only a few owns hundreds of billions of naira while tens of million of our people live in perpetual misery.

THE GENERAL BUHARI FACTOR

As this congress holds, there is an ongoing debate and in fact a proposal by the NEC of our party that General Buhari be backed or supported for presidency in the coming 2007 general elections. Two main arguments have been advanced to justify this proposition. Firstly, it has been canvassed that the NCP has no presidential candidate of its own. Secondly, the point has been severally underlined that General Buhari, unlike many prominent past rulers, is not known to be corrupt and that, in fact, he has a reputation of an anti-corruption crusader going by his conduct when he was the military head of state between 1984 and 1985. In addition to these two points, the NEC of our party has also informed the last NCC meeting which was held at Lagos on December 9, 2006, that the General has promised to operate a public sector-driven economic strategy, if elected as president. If for whatever reason we choose to ignore the anti-masses bans placed on certain trade unions and NANS which dared to oppose some of Buhari's regime anti-poor policies, there can be no doubt that all of the above enumerated good points will generally bring out General Buhari in a favourable colouration especially among change-seeking, pro-masses' elements and organisations like the NCP. However, these points notwithstanding, we in the Lagos State NCP seriously implore this congress not to adopt or pledge NCP political support for General Buhari in the forthcoming 2007 general elections, for the following reasons:

(1) The proposition for the adoption of General Buhari as the NCP's presidential candidate for the 2007 general elections totally fails to reckon with the character and conduct of the ANPP, an out and out anti-poor, corrupt, capitalist political party, on whose platform Buhari will be contesting.

(2) This proposition fails to evaluate the political implications of the alliance which has already been struck by the ANPP with the AC, another capitalist party dominated by anti-poor, corrupt politicians. Therefore, even if Buhari is eventually adopted as the consensus candidate of the ANPP/AC and he wins the 2007 general elections, he will be encircled by elements who are, in all major respects, identical with the current set of locusts parading themselves as leaders. Here, the point must be underlined that Buhari as an individual no matter how good and well intentioned will not be able, in the given circumstance, to bring the desired radical changes in the lives and polity of the vast majority of our people.

Instead of investing NCP political credibility on Buhari running as the presidential candidate of a well-known capitalist party dominated by anti-poor and corrupt politicians like the ANPP/AC, General Buhari in fact, should be invited to come and team up with the NCP if he truly wishes to have his publicly stated ideals actualised. The point here must be underlined that only a campaign which is based on the masses and being conducted by the masses themselves can bring about a fundamental transformation to their deplorable living conditions. While it could be much easier for Buhari to emerge as a president if backed by well-known capitalist politicians, this will not in any serious sense bring any tangible progress to the masses. For us, the only way to guarantee meaningful political victory for the NCP or any other genuine pro-masses' party is an unwavering commitment, in and out of power, to identifying with workers and poor masses in their daily struggles against capitalist exploitation and oppression.

We urge this historic congress to seriously reflect on this contribution when deciding on the political strategy and tactics to be adopted in relation to the forthcoming 2007 general elections.

Solidarity forever, struggle continues.

Segun Sango
Chairperson