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9 March 2007

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Lagos NCP Rejects Imposition of Gubernatorial Candidate by the Right Wing National Leadership with the INEC

The attention of the Lagos State National Conscience Party (NCP) has been drawn to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) published list of political parties nominated candidates for 2007 Governorship election. In this list, one Christopher Obafunwa was published as Lagos State NCP candidate instead of Lanre Arogundade, the popularly and democratically elected real candidate of the Lagos NCP for the 2007 governorship election. Lanre was democratically selected at the party congress held on December 16, 2006 at Women Development Centre, Agege. Also present at this well attended congress were Mr.Akinwumi Akinbohun, INEC's official representative, and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the founding National Chairman of the NCP.

The Lagos State NCP is not unaware of all the frantic efforts by the right wing national leadership of the party led by Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, Mr.Femi Falana and others to undermine the democratic right of the Lagos NCP leaders, activists and rank and file members to elect Lanre as their 2007 gubernatorial candidate. It however rejects the imposition of a Nigerian based in the United States, who is not even a member of NCP, on the Lagos party by the NCP right wing national leadership in connivance with INEC. We therefore call on INEC to immediately rectify this error.

Lanre Arogundade who is the democratically elected candidate of NCP in Lagos state, has been an active member of NCP since its formation in October 1994. He was the Lagos West Senatorial District candidate of the party in 2003, then gaining over 77,000 votes (9.64%). He is a former Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and a former President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). He is a trade unionist, pro-democracy and human rights activist, socialist and journalist by profession. We can only conclude, given the NCP national leadership's undemocratic abandonment of last December's party national congress decision to run its own presidential candidate and the party's failure to run candidates in other states, that Lanre's removal was simply motivated by the desire to prevent a serious challenge to the rotten pro-establishment parties.

The NCP should not be for sale. The Lagos State leadership and members are prepared to work with all genuine NCP members across the country to rescue the party from the current firm grip of the right wing national leadership whose orientation and tactics have robbed the party of its good will, mass support, and pro-masses traditions. We call on all genuine NCP members across the country who joined this party with a view to creating a distinct and untainted political platform for the emancipation of the masses via abolition of poverty, in the midst of plenty, to resist this perversion by all legitimate, constitutional and democratic means at their disposal to prevail on INEC to respect the wishes and choice of the majority of Lagos NCP members by recognizing Lanre Arogundade as the party governorship candidate for Lagos State.

We accordingly urge all Lagos NCP members to remain calm while the leadership holds crucial discussions within the structure of the party to chart the way out of the present anti-party conduct of the right wing NEC led by Osagie. The outcome of this discussion shall be presented to the public at a press conference on March 14, 2007.

Segun Sango
Chairperson, Lagos State NCP